Anchors (Far) Away

This is something I never thought of but that came up in a YouTube I saw a while back. In a video about a young woman sailing solo around the world, she talked a little about how a lot of islands are installing buoys even in mostly untraveled bays so when boats stop by they don’t drop anchor and screw up the eel grass on the ocean floor. I’ve been keeping an eye out for news and case studies about that, and this morning I got a press release:

WINTER GARDEN, Fla., Feb. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today Sea & Shoreline announced the completion of a coral reef protection effort at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, Fla. Eighteen individual mooring buoys were installed, allowing boats and vessels to tie up to the buoys versus using anchoring methods that damage the reefs. The project is a collaboration between Sea & Shoreline, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and Friends of John Pennekamp, a volunteer non-profit organization, all in an effort to support conservation and environmental enhancement.

So that’s interesting and I had some time to kill so I did a little Google work and found a couple of interesting things. Here’s a project from the University of Wollongong in Australia — a school I have no knowledge of by now very badly want a t-shirt from. They’ve initiated a study on the effect of anchors and anchor chains on the ocean floor on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.

Marine biologist Professor Andy Davis  said preliminary mapping and 3D imagery of the sea floor three nautical miles from Port Kembla had revealed the anchor chains of more than 250 meters in length, with individual links up to 200 kilograms, are dragging across seafloor habitat.

“Preliminary mapping has confirmed anchoring is occurring on reef near Port Kembla. This may well have damaging environmental impacts on important habitat-forming marine species with implications for fish populations. We will now seek to identify areas of high conservation value, then identify how these areas may best be conserved.”

Here’s a thing with terrifying footage of the damage caused to reefs by cruise ship anchors.

Here’s an organization, Sailors for the Sea, that is active in finding anchoring solutions. Fun Fact: the co-founder is David Rockefeller Jr. Along with anchors, they also keep tabs on prop scarring.

Going to have to revisit this soon.

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