SCUBA DIVE TAMPA
Pinellas 2 Artificial Reef
Last updated 6/05/01
The reef program was started in Pinellas county in 1965 with the dropping of pillboxes at the Clearwater reef site. In 1974, after receiving grant money from the park service, the reef program was started. During the period from 1974 through 1978 the reefs were primarily made with old car tires. It was discovered early on that tires were not the best material due to their buoyancy. They tended to move during storms and would sometimes wash up onshore. After 1978 the primary materials were concrete, barges, and ships.
There were 10 sites picked out for development as reefs. Six were located close to shore within 3-6 miles. These were selected to meet the needs of fishermen who wanted to stay within sight of land. They can be reached using a small boat in less than 30 minutes travel time. The water depths here are in the 20-30 foot range. These reefs will attract smaller fish than the deeper reefs. Two were located about 10 miles from shore. These are in 40-50 feet of water and attract a wide range of fish life. One was located 20 miles from shore. This was selected to be a deep water site and is in 70-80 feet of water. There was also one located in Tampa Bay 2 miles from St. Petersburg Municipal Pier. There are marker buoys maintained at each of the sites. The exact location and presence of the buoys at each site changes due to storms breaking the buoys loose from their anchors. Some sites have only one buoy maintained in the center while others have a north, south, and center buoy.
The approximate center coordinates for the Pinellas 2 site is:
This reef has one area that is normally marked with a large round ball buoy. This site is the home of the Blackthorn and the Sheridan wrecks. The Blackthorn is lying upside down and is broken in two parts. The Sheridan is lying right side up and is fully intact. It is the best wreck in the area. You can dive into the compartments and see all the sections of the ship. It is in 75-80 feet of water and the top of the wreck is at 25-30 feet. There are a great many jewfish and barracuda that make their home here. There is also a barge just to the north of the marker that looks to be in good shape.