Seized Guns Added To Offshore Reef

OCEAN CITY – The latest addition to the growing artificial reef system off the coast of Ocean City went down in the deep as planned yesterday, and while it lacked the size and substance of the recent sinking of retired New York City subway cars, it was no less interesting on a smaller scale.

Yesterday morning, a new artificial reef unit fashioned in part out of confiscated guns donated to the Ocean City Reef Foundation by the Millsboro Police Department was sunk over Kelly’s Reef about two miles or so south of the Ocean City Inlet. In addition, other artificial reef units fashioned out of metal welded together by vocational tech students at Parkside High were on the same barge and sunk over Kelly’s Reef.

“The Millsboro Police Department donated the guns it confiscated over the last year or so from various arrests and drug deals and such and donated them to us,” said Ocean City Reef Foundation President Greg Hall. “They turned them over to Stuart Mumford of Mumford Sheet Metal and he welded them onto this metal structure as part of a new artificial reef unit.”

The confiscated guns, about eight to 10 in all of various shapes and sizes, were welded to the top of a box or cage of sorts made out of scrap metal. First, the guns were rendered unusable and then welded, barrels down, to the top of the metal artificial reef structure. The latest donation is the second load of confiscated guns donated by the Millsboro Police Department. The first batch went down in the same area during the summer of 2007.

For more than a decade, the Ocean City Reef Foundation has been steadily expanding the artificial reef system off the coast of the resort with eight sites ranging from as close to shore as one mile to as far as 20 miles. In that span, the foundation has submerged tons of pieces of material, from old boats to retired military equipment to discarded construction material, enhancing habitat for fish and other sea creatures, which, in turn, has improved offshore fishing for recreational anglers and created new opportunities for diving enthusiasts.

The most recent, and most substantial, additions to the artificial reef system off the coast of the resort have been three batches of retired New York City subway cars, the last of which was sunk of the coast in January. Forty-four subway cars were sunk on two sites designated for reef building off the coast, the majority of which were deployed in an area about six miles off the coast simply called the “research reef” for now.