Show Details

Ships to Reefs

October 8, 2013

Sinking old warships creates new habitats for marine species.



Old ships, new life. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Since 2000, the HMCS Yukon has provided a habitat for a variety of marine species in Mission Bay, San Diego. The ship has helped increase the population of several threatened fish species. (California Ships to Reefs)

The HMCS Yukon lies 100 feet below the surface off of San Diego, California.

But the Canadian warship wasn’t sunk in battle. Instead, it’s been turned into an ecologically friendly artificial reef, now home to thousand of animals. California Ships to Reefs vice president Dean Rewerts says that before sinking, all toxic materials are removed from a ship and then large holes are cut into it.

DEAN REWERTS (California Ships to Reefs):

This is for access by divers and also by fish, where they can establish breeding populations. Almost immediately when the vessel hits the bottom of the ocean, a layer of calcium carbonate forms on the steel, that not only gives a foundation for the other things to latch on and start growing, but it also protects the steel.


He says the Yukon and other ships are helping re-establish fish species that have been depleted across their natural range. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.