Palm Beach County OKs $1 million for sinking sub as artificial reef


The Cold War-era USS Clamagore is one step closer to a final resting place as Florida’s only submarine artificial reef.

Palm Beach County Commissioners voted 7-0 at Tuesday’s meeting to pay a Miami firm $1 million to coordinate the sinking off the 320-foot “Gray Ghost of the Florida Coast,” perhaps as early as this summer, in water about 90 feet deep 1½ miles off the Juno Beach Pier. The sub would be the newest addition to the county’s renowned 150-plus piece artificial reef program.

The money will come from a county trust fund fed by vessel registration fees. A big point for commissioners: The county doesn’t spend a penny unless the private firm that will sink the sub raises the additional $3 million it needs and the sinking happens, according to Rob Robbins, director of the county’s Department of Environmental Resources Management.

The Clamagore: A photo gallery www.mypalmbeachpost.com/clamagore

The Clamagore, which trained sailors to track Soviet nuclear subs, was retired in 1975, Since 1981 it has been docked at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum near Charleston, S.C. Patriots Point has said the sub suffers from serious structural fatigue and making it safe would cost about $6 million.

The museum signed a deal last spring with Artificial Reefs International-Clamagore, a subsidiary of Miami-based CRB Geological and Environmental Services, to find a home for it somewhere in the ocean. Total cost for the project could be as much as $4 million, but ARI parent CRB-GES has said it plans to raise the balance through sponsorships and other sources.

No Clamagore veterans spoke or attended Tuesday. Veterans have previously said they’d prefer the sub be in a museum but would rather see it as a reef than scrap.

Robbins conceded that “a million dollars dedicated for the sinking of a ship is a lot of money.” But he said big artificial reefs off Pensacola and the Florida Keys have been good for tourism, sparking increases in dive trips.

Commissioner Hal Valeche asked if organizers are confident they can raise the other $3 million. Robbins said ARI has told him that if the county is in, the other group’s investors are “more than halfway there.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Part-time Palm Beacher Donald Trump, Melania reveal eclipse watch plans
Part-time Palm Beacher Donald Trump, Melania reveal eclipse watch plans

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arriving at Palm Beach International Airport on April 6. (Rich Graulich/The Palm Beach Post) President Donald Trump will watch today’s solar eclipse from the Truman Balcony at the White House, according to a White House pool report. He will be joined...
Will potential Democratic governor candidate cash in on the eclipse?
Will potential Democratic governor candidate cash in on the eclipse?

Trial lawyer and potential Democratic governor candidate John Morgan is promoting eclipse-viewing safety, and offering his firm’s services if things go bad. Trial lawyer and potential Florida Democratic candidate for governor John Morgan is cautioning people to be safe when viewing today’s solar eclipse &mdash...
Exclusive: Secret Service depletes funds because of Trump's frequent travel, large family
Exclusive: Secret Service depletes funds because of Trump's frequent travel, large family

WASHINGTON — The Secret Service can no longer pay hundreds of agents it needs to carry out an expanded protective mission – in large part due to the sheer size of President Trump's family and efforts necessary to secure their multiple residences up and down the East Coast. Secret Service Director...
Charities bail on Mar-a-Lago after Trump Charlottesville comments
Charities bail on Mar-a-Lago after Trump Charlottesville comments

“Where is everybody?” The main Mar-a-Lago ballroom, shown here before a 2016 Palm Beach County GOP dinner, could be empty for much of the 2017-18 social season. PALM BEACH — Two more charities announced Sunday they won’t hold their annual fundraisers at President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago Club...
UPDATED: Keeping track at home? Here’s a list of 20 charities leaving Mar-a-Lago
UPDATED: Keeping track at home? Here’s a list of 20 charities leaving Mar-a-Lago

* Here’s a look at the charities and organizations that are coming and going from President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. These groups all held events at Mar-a-Lago during the 2016-17 social and fundraising season. So far, 20 charities have decided to move or cancel their events planned for Mar-a-Lago this season. Two have have...
More Stories