Florida Cruise Ship El Dorado New Life Beneath Dupont Bridge As Living Reef (see video below) – On January 14, 2019, the Bay County Board of County Commissioners acquired Lee Ingram’s cruise ship El Dorado. Through negotiations with Ingram, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the 157 foot-long, 300-ton former cruise ship which has been docked in Panama City, Florida, will become an artificial reef.
Attemped El Dorado Sale
The $950,000 1993 cruise ship is still up for sale and had been for 2,217 days at Denison Yachting. Though, the price had been $1.2 million, prior to February 4, 2019. The listing states, ” This is a 1993 triple deck aluminum dining and gambling ship. Her hull in in excellent shape but is in need of refurbishing. She had been certified for 320 passengers. The design lends itself to either a dining or gambling vessel but could serve in other capacities as well.
Her dimensions are 147′ x 28′ x 40. Line drawings and plans are available. The replacement value in todays market for a vessel of this caliber is estimated to be in the 7-9 million dollar range.
The owner has made her a ‘clean slate’ to save you time and money. He’s gotten rid of all of the soft goods and materials that could rot. All of the insulation, interior walls, everything that isn’t part of the superstructure has been removed. All the running gear and ballast material is still on hand and available. ”
Specifications: Beam: 28′, Max Draft: 4′ 10”, Fresh Water: 1 x 600|gallon , Hull Material: Aluminum, Fuel Tank: 1 x 5400|gallon, Holding: 1 x 1200|gallon.
According to her hull, El Dorado is registered in Boston, Massachusetts, but has now been acquired to be sunk off the Florida coastline, creating a living reef.
El Dorado was transferred from the St. Andrews Marina to the Millville waterfront in 2011. It was docked, moored and has remained there, until Hurricane Michael.
Hurricane Michael Florida Landfall
Hurricane Michael was the strongest storm on record in the Florida Panhandle, and was the fourth-strongest landfalling hurricane in the contiguous United States, in terms of wind speed. Michael made landfall as a high-end Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (250 km/h), at 12:15 CDT (17:15 UTC) on October 10, in Mexico Beach, Florida, and near Tyndall Air Force Base.
By October 28, a total of 35 people were officially confirmed to have been killed by the hurricane in Florida, with hundreds still unaccounted for. By January 11, 2019, the death toll in Florida had increased to 47.
El Dorado Artifical Reef Sinking
Scott Jackson, a sea grant extension agent for the county, said “Once the Coast Guard’s contractor finishes turning the El Dorado, to prepare the vessel for towing and staging at St. Andrews Marina. Next the volunteers will clean the vessel and deploy it approximately 12 nautical miles south of St. Andrew Bay Pass in Large Area Artificial Reef site A, near DuPont Bridge Spans.”
Once moved, the El Dorado will be filled with water and sunk to a depth of about 100 feet. Bay County has a large number of artificial reefs, but many of the commonly used ones were destroyed by Hurricane Michael. Patrick Green, owner of Panama City Diving, said the county needs as many new artificial reefs as it can get.
According to a 2014 study by Bill Huth, a professor of supply chain logistics and economics at the University of West Florida, the artificial reef-related fishing and diving industries supported 1,936 jobs and had a $131.98 million economic impact in Bay County.
The El Dorado dive site, would be a good dive excursion add-on before or after you cruise, for cruise ships sailing out of Mobile, Alabama or Tampa, Florida.
Currently sailing out of Mobile, Alabama is Carnival Fantasy. Cruise ship sailing out of Tampa are: Rotterdam, Brilliance of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Norwegian Pearl, Carnival Miracle and Carnival Paradise.
Tour the cruise ship before she is sunk, via our slideshow below, then compare the cruise ship after your dive with how it looks after she is sunk.
- Gulf of Mexico Cruise Ship Tracker
- Wikipedia – Hurricane Michael
- Pinellas County Florida Artifical Reef Map
- Tampa Florida Cruise Schedule
- Mobile Alabama Cruise Schedule
- Webcams in Florida
- Hurricane Michael Slamming Florida Georgia Carolinas
- Holland America Line Ends Tampa Florida April 2019
- Cruise Ship Passenger Overboard Near Fort Myers Florida
Video: El Dorado Cruise Ship To Become Florida Artifical Reef
El Dorado Slide Show (below): 40 images