Our Past Artificial Reef Projects

All projects were deployed in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Mississippi.

Artificial Reef Projects 2013 – Present

Click on each project to view photos, videos, and descriptions

Omega Protein Project

Donated from Omega Protein, the GP Chauvin and Mermentau are two pogy boats that were environmentally cleaned and deployed with funding from GOMESA (Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act) with the help from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) and the kind donation from Omega Protein. The vessels, the GP Chavin and Mermentau, were deployed to their final resting place in FH-13 on July 26th and 27th, 2023.               

R/V Hermes Deployed May 18, 2022

On Wednesday, May 18, 2022 the longtime University of Southern Mississippi (USM) marine trawler was officially transformed into an artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico during a special ceremony at sea. A tow ship pulled R/V Hermes to a designated spot called Fishing Haven 2, approximately 15 miles south of Horn Island for the ceremonial sinking.

The Hermes is a 38-foot steel trawler/research vessel, which was built in the late 1940s and christened in 1955. “A normal day on the R/V Hermes would include trawling for fish, shrimp, and other bottom dwelling marine life for observation/collection in the Mississippi Sound; dolphin watching; and a trip to one of the barrier islands when weather permits,” the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory website says.

For more than 60 years, R/V Hermes had been used in a variety of capacities by USM’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL), located in Ocean Springs, Miss. Last year, GCRL officially retired Hermes and transferred the vessel to Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks under the agreement that the group would turn it into an artificial reef.

Johnny Gill Reef Deployed September 22, 2017

This 55′ Steel Hulled Sailboat , Jolly Fisherman, deployed in FH-13 on September 22, 2017. It will be known as the “Johnny Gill Reef”.

Jolly Fisherman Sailboat

Video below of cleaning and deployment process


Culvert Deployment in FH-2 Deployed June 1, 2017

June 1, 2017 – Culverts Deployed in FH-2 to serve as Red Snapper reefs

Culverts deployed as artificial reef

Fish Dice in FH-3 Deployed June 15, 2016

  June 15, 2016 – Fish Dice Deployment in FH-3

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) designed and deployed 160 Juvenile Fish Habitat units last month and this month they deployed 62 more units in FH-3. Reefmakers of Orange Beach, Alabama performed the work at the direction of the MDMR. See last month’s report for more details on the design.

Fish Dice

Following the Fish Dice deployment, USM Recording Sensors were deployed in FH-3 and. MGFB has been working cooperatively with a USM/GCRL project headed up by Dr. Scott Milroy. A dozen data loggers were deployed in the Gulf to measure dissolved Oxygen, Temperature, and Salinity, every 15 minutes. FH-3 Sensor #4 was attached to the Chevron Boat on June 15, 2016 @ 12:15pm, water temp of 69°F, 41′ Depth. FH-14 Sensor #5 was attached to the “My Wife II” on June 15, 2016 @ 1:11pm, water temp of 68°F, 30′ Depth. The first video shows the FH-3 deployment and some first time video of the Fish Dice underwater. Water Hypoxia was evident on this site. No fish were seen and a dead crab was the only life seen. The FH-14 deployment was similar although a few juvenile red snapper were seen upon first contact with the reef. Reefmakers also donated one of their ” Eco-Reef” in FH-3.

Juvenile Snapper Houses Deployed May 24, 2016

May 24, 2016 – Juvenile Snapper Houses in FH-13

This was a trip to deploy 88 juvenile red snapper houses that were designed and deployed by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.

Juvenile Snapper houses

Culvert Deployment in FH-2 Deployed August 18, 2015

August 18, 2015 – Culverts Deployed and visit to Corps Barge & 150713A Culverts

This was a trip to deploy culverts in FH-2. Since the Deployment Barge was running late, we stopped on the Corps Barge in the Southwest corner of FH-2. I also made a scuba drop and got some nice feeding video with the GoPro leaving it attached to the barge with it’s clamp mount and returning. We also dropped on the 150713A Culverts which showed some game fish already showing up. We failed to locate any of the 3 carpet FADs deployed here on August 8.

Culverts dropped in Gulf

Videos from our visit to the Corps Barge and 150713A Culverts.

Culvert Deployment in FH-1 2015 Deployed July 17, 2015

July 17, 2015 – Culvert  Deployment in FH-1

Culverts dropped in Gulf

Barataria Bay Pogey Boat Deployed June 10, 2015

A decommissioned Omega Protein fishing vessel, the Barataria Bay, was sunk off the coast of Mississippi on June 10, 2015 to be repurposed as an artificial reef.

Barataria Bay vessel  

Click here to read the international news release on the sinking of the Barataria Bay.

DMR Cages Deployed September 17, 2014

This was a deployment of cages by the DMR in FH-13 on September 17, 2014. They were placed around the last two Pyramid deployments in FH-13 which were deployed on September 25, 2014.

DMR cages for artificial reef

This video shows the deployment of the cages that were placed in FH-13 on Sept 17, 2014. A dive was also made on the material directly after the deployment.

"Capt Le' Shrimp Boat Unintentionally Sunk August 25, 2014

On, August 25, 2014, The “Capt Le” was a shrimp boat that unintentionally sunk in FH-13 and created itself an artificial fish reef.


Limestone Pyramids Deployed September 25,2013

Limestone Pyramids dropped in the Gulf of Mexico.

This was a deployment project by the DMR to MGFB’s FH-13 reef site. Reef Maker” of Orange Beach Alabama was contracted to deploy 26 Pyramids. They were placed in two groups of 13 units each at the north end of FH-13 creating habitat for Mississippi’s marine life. We also caught a few fish on nearby reefs that shows how productive these reefs are. Then we made a dive on the newly deployed Pyramids to find juvenile Red Snapper and Triggerfish already taking up residency. Afterward we dove some similar Pyramids that were deployed in 2007 to see how they are doing after 6 years. We also dove on the 4-Boys Shrimp Boat, the 110303B Culverts, and the Captain Kevin Shrimp Boat.

        Limestone Pyramids artificial reef

Photos of our dive to the pyramids that were placed in 2007


Our video of the Limestone Pyramid Deployment o Sept. 25, 2013, and our visit to the 2007 Pyramids to see how they were dong after 6 years.

Artificial Reef Projects 2010 – 2012

Click on each project to view photos, videos, and descriptions

Culverts Deployment in FH-2 Deployed March 18, 2011

Culverts deployed in FH-2 on March 18, 2011

NASA Tanks Deployed October 26, 2011

This was an MGFB project accompanied by Bryon Maynard and his crew of 5 who orchestrated the deployment of three NASA tanks in FH-13 on October 26, 2011.

Three large tanks, de-commissioned by NASA, were sunk in the Southwest End of FH-13 in 85 feet of water, to serve as artificial reefs off the coast of Mississippi. The first tank, referred to as BRT (big round thing), is actually a HAT (hydrogen accumulator tank). This tank weighs 100,000 pounds and was used in the Saturn program (stage 2) on the test stand. The other two tanks, the Lox tank and Scotty’s Beer Can, were also used in the space program. Bryon Maynard, of NASA, arranged for the funding and orchestration of the deployment. Read about Bryon’s award from the Stennis Space Center for his work on the artificial reef here.

BRT (Big Round Thing) deployment and dive

NASA hydrogen sphere becomes artificial reef

The NASA Lox Tank Deployment

Deployment of NASA tank, AKA “Scotty’s Beer Can”

Video of the NASA tanks deployment and subsequent dive on October 11, 2011.

CableOne Antennae Deployed September 18, 2012

CableOne Antennae & Rubble deployed in FH-10 on September 18, 2012

This was deployment of the CableOne Antennae Tower and miscellaneous Rubble in FH-10 near the Horn Island Middle Ground. This is about mid-way down Horn Island on the North Side a little more than a mile off the shoreline. The Material was deployed between 2 existing buoys the GCRL had in place for fish tag monitoring. The GCRL1 Buoy was near the Southeast corner of FH-10 at 30°15.858’N 88°38.938’W. The GCRL2 Buoy was to the Northwest at 30°15.928’N 88°38.971’W. Water depth was about 16 feet.

Cable One antenna becomes artificial reef in Gulf of Mexico

Casino Magic Culverts Deployment in FH-1 Deployed March 25, 2011

Culverts deployed on Casino Magic Barge in FH-1 on March 25, 2011

Culvert Deployment in FH-13 Deployed March 11 & 15, 2011

Culverts deployed in FH-13 on March 15, 2011

Culverts deployed off the coast of Mississippi to be artificial reefs.

Culverts deployed in FH-13 on March 11, 2011


40' Oyster Boat Deployed March 11, 2011

40′ Oyster Boat deployed in FH-14 on March 11, 2011

Oyster Boat being sunk for artificial reef


Catch Basins and Manholes Deployed on March 3, 2011

754 tons of concrete Catch Basins and Man Holes deployed in FH-13 on March 3, 2011

Catch Basins and Manholes

Ole Faithful Shrimp Boat Deployed April 28, 2010

On April 28, the Shrimp Boat “Ole Faithful” was deployed in FH-1

This Steel Hull Shrimp Boat was deployed a little North of the Casino Magic Barge at the Southeast end of FH-1. The Surrounding depth was 68′ with a minimum clearance of 45′ recorded. It appears to have landed on its Starboard Side with the Bow facing South. This appears due to having much larger holes cut in the Bow than in the Stern causing it to fill much more quickly and sink with the Stern floating up. Winds were from the East @ 10 knots, current running 3 knots at 300°. Predicted Tide was 1.7 with a range from -0.5 @ 8:02P to 1.9 @ 9:32A.

Southern Star Shrimp Boat Deployed March 31, 2010

Southern Star Shrimp Boat deployed in FH-13 on March 31, 2010 

This 80′ Shrimp Boat was deployed by Walter Marine, east of the Ladnier barge & culverts in about 76′ of water. Water clearance was recorded at about 45′ with the deck showing at about 67′. It appears to have landed upright with the bow facing at about 130°. Winds were South @ 5 knots.

Southern Star, an old shrimp boat

Video of the sinking of the “Southern Star” Shrimp Boat in FH-13

Bay Balls Deployed March 30 & 31, 2010

 Bay Balls deployed in FH-8, FH-9, FH-10, & Cat Island on March 30 & 31, 2010

Bay Balls are smaller versions of the Reef Balls deployed previously offshore. These artificial reef structures are 3 feet wide, 2-1/2 feet tall, and weigh about 325 pounds each. Matthews Brothers deployed the material using a 140′ X 40′ Spud Barge and a Crane. The Barge was spudded down at a location buoyed by the DMR. Then the Crane was used to hoist and deploy 4 balls at a time around the barge in 7 spaced drop points, yielding 28 Bay Balls per location. The Balls were gently lowered to the bottom and then released. The coordinates given are that of the Center of the Barge after it was positioned. A bow heading was taken to assist in determining the alignment of the deployed reef balls. Side Imaging shows how the Bay Balls deployed on the bottom, basically forming an “Alley” of reef material. Winds initially were from the NW @ 5 knots but turned from the SouthWest and then more Westerly @ 20 knots by days end. Tidal Range was from -.2 @ 7:40PM to 1.3′ @ 10AM. For this deployment, the tide started at 1.2’and fell to 0.1′ by days end.

For Bay Balls coordinates and the full activity report go here.

These Bay Balls were deployed by the Matthews Brothers using a Spud Barge. The Barge was spudded down and 7 deployments of 4 balls each were made around the barge. Two loads were deployed in FH-10 and 8 loads were deployed in FH-9/11.

Bay Balls will become artificial reefs

Artificial Reef Projects 2008 – 2009