MCINTOSH COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) – Fish off the Georgia coast now have a new place to call home thanks to the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

A 52-foot steel hull sailboat donated by Pine Harbor Marina in McIntosh County is now resting 45 feet underwater. The vessel is resting about six miles off Blackbeard Island at reef KTK, where in just six months, encrusting organisms will call it home.

This sailboat joins an M1A1 tank and concrete rubble at the reef that corals and sponges have already colonized.

Over the last 40 years, the Coastal Resources Division has created 31 reefs with over 400 items that have improved the fish habit off the Georgia coast.

“We like to say that the structure we put down is artificial, but the reef that grows on it is perfectly natural. It is just a way to increase fish habitat, it is a way to allow divers to have a place to dive and fishermen a place to fish,” said Paul Medders, unit leader of the Artificial Reef Program.

In addition to donations, these projects are also funded by drivers purchasing the Georgia Marine habitat license plate. Eighty percent of that money goes back into the Marine Habitat Enhancement Fund.

You can learn more about this license plate by clicking here.

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