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Shipwreck Park to Sink the Okinawa Vessel

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. — Shipwreck Park, the vast artificial reef system and underwater cultural arts park one mile off of Pompano Beach, Florida, is about to take on another sunken vessel. Just over a year after the not-for-profit Shipwreck Park, Inc. sunk the Park’s centerpiece ship – the 234-foot Lady Luck – this time the 107-foot Okinawa is scheduled to be sunk at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 19, 2017.

The Okinawa is a tugboat built in 1953 for the U.S. Army with an interesting wheelhouse and sleeping quarters for more than a dozen crew members. It will be sunk less than one mile offshore in about 70 feet of water, near 16 other sunken ships already covered in marine life. Pompano Beach, just north of Fort Lauderdale, has a rich maritime history and has one of the most easily accessible major dive sites in the nation.

Like the Lady Luck, the Okinawa’s deck, just behind the smokestack, will be adorned with whimsical artwork by world renowned Pompano Beach artist Dennis MacDonald. It will include a “dive bar” complete with a sculpted mermaid barmaid, and bar patrons of giant moray eels and starfish. In the future, with additional corporate sponsorship, MacDonald hopes to install statuary of famous people from history gathered around the bar. It is designed to be fun for divers and for establishing homes for new coral colonies and schools of fish.

“The sinking of the Okinawa continues our mission to create awareness for protecting our ocean environment and growing our artificial reef system to take pressure off of the natural reefs nearby,” says Rob Wyre, chairman of the not-for-profit Shipwreck Park, Inc. “The Okinawa will offer an easily accessible underwater cultural arts attraction for divers of all skill levels and snorkelers, too.”

A large portion of the costs for purchasing, cleaning, and sinking the Okinawa was donated by corporate sponsor Finlandia, The company has a long history of support for preserving the environment. Many other companies and individuals also donated.

The Shipwreck Park, Inc. is a State of Florida registered 501(c) (3) organization (No. CH47029). The organization is accepting contributions for ongoing expansion of the artificial reef system with additional sunken ships and rotating underwater art installations. For more information, the public may visit shipwreckparkpompano.org.

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Shipwreck Park to Sink the Okinawa Vessel

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