About the Sound of Mull Artificial Reef Project

The Sound of Mull Artificial Reef Steering Group (SMART) proposes to sink a decommissioned British Naval Destroyer in the Sound Of Mull, West Coast of Scotland to create the first artificial reef from a decommissioned Naval vessel in Scotland, and only the second in Europe.  SMART will commission a feasibility study for this project in November 2011.

Of the many official artificial reef projects completed around the world the vast majority have had a positive outcome environmentally, financially and socio- economically.

Divers dwarfed by the Rondo's rudder

Divers (top) dwarfed by the Rondo's rudder (Photo (c) Mike Clark)

Artificial reefs boost tourism, stimulate the local economy, create business opportunities, are low maintenance, have low running costs, and provide habitats for marine life as well as providing safe diving environments for all levels of recreational diving ability. SMART would like this reef to be the first of many artificial reefs around  Scotland. If this project becomes a proven success, it gives other groups a basis to lobby for similar reefs all around Scotland.

There are more than twenty artificial reefs of this type around the world in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, America and England. The protocol for all stages of an artificial reef project are well established and internationally recognized. Of the many artificial reef projects completed around the world the vast majority have had positive outcomes environmentally, financially and socio- economically.

27 thoughts on “About the Sound of Mull Artificial Reef Project

  1. Overall I am in favour of this project. As mentioned above, it creates tourism, attracts divers but most of all, over time, creates an artificial reef for the diverse marine life which, in turn increases the maine life.
    However, on a recent trip to Malta most of the wreck sites we visited were of the purpose sunken vessels. Sat upright in pristine condition and stripped bare of all but the superstructure. Very clean & very clinical with very little challenge for the diver.
    I haven’t dived the Syllica, so am unsure of the approach taken to her sinking and what remained of the ship prior to her sinking. I am well aware of the need to remove all hazards to marine life and to make the wreck easily accessible for divers prior to the sinking, but hopefully the remains of the wreck won’t be too clean and clinical.
    Looking forward to diving her already.

  2. Just spent 2 days diving the Lochaline area. Great area and great diving
    Good luck with the project .

  3. The wrecks in our Argyll area are now very long in the tooth… and I think new wrecks, placed in well thought out areas – will be a huge tourist attraction + an excellent home for *sea critters* 😉 all the best Adrian Lauder tel 077 20 30 2727

  4. ..I’ve long been a supporter of diving in the Oban area, and warmly welcome this initiative… if we want to continue to promote all aspects of marine leisure tourism, we need to be much more proactive in providing the best possible facilities to make the well known features and attractions accessible to as many people as possible…

    …keep up the good work guys!
    :)

  5. I think this is a very good idea to add to the list of wrecks with in this area….. All it can do is give the area more benefits as to the choice off wrecks and areas to dive in any weather conditions.

    Hope to hear more soon.

    Phil Bennett

  6. Simply look at the knock on advantages that the Scylla project brought the south coast. The revenue and jobs that have been created. It would be madness to not sink a wreck in the Sound.
    Let me know when you’ve done it, as I will be heading to Lochaline with 23 buddies soon as.

    Regards and best wishes with this worthwhile project
    Peter Lau
    Diving Officer
    Fire & Rescue Service Scuba Section.

  7. This is an absolutely dreadful and unthoughout idea. The Western Isles is one of the few remaing natural areas in the world, above and below water. To impose something “artificial” upon it is a complete anathema.

    The point of the location has been overlooked. People go to Mull to find “wilderness”, whatever their interest or sport. When its gone its gone forever!

    Artificial reefs have their place – it isn’t the west coast of Scotland!

  8. Great news! Unfortunately the Scylla has suffered recently from really poor viz caused by dredging taking place! Lets hope the same does not happen in Scotland.

  9. The beauty of this project is that the reef is only accessible by sea from Oban, Morvern, Ardnamurchan and Mull so there will not be a big impact on any one location. The reef will also create a habitat for marine life which will help replace the habitats that are being lost due to the existing wrecks slowly disappearing.

  10. Also the fact that the reef will be environmentally clean when it goes down is far better than a real wreck which inevitably causes pollution.

  11. Thank you for replacing my post above that you previously removed – I assume as a result of my complaint to the HIE who have financially contributed towards your project.

    Obviously it does not assist the project’s credibility to publish only supportive comments. Democracy obviously dictates that counter arguments are also heard.

  12. Hi all, I have been “talking” to a few Inverclyde Council contacts with a similar idea since January / February time-frame this year about a similar project for Gourock, on the Clyde (3 various depth sites between the Cloch light house & McInroys point ) and to date it seems to be getting a pretty positive reception. I was passed your own projects’ site & its’ links in a reply from the Crown Estates and just wanted to add my positive comments and best wishes for your own success with SMART. P.S. I really do have to agree with the coment that a cleaned ship, sunk in a controlled manner has simply got to be better for the environment than another Valdiz type disaster. All the best, Ian

  13. I’ve just had 4 day’s diving up at the Lochaline dive centre, and it’s a brilliant location to sink a wreck providing it has been thought out properly, which I’m sure it has. It can only add to the many great dive location’s already there, so it’s got to be a yes for me.Keep up the good work.
    Many thanks
    Martin Fry

  14. What a great idea. We dive the area and welcome this ambitious project with open arms………………bring it on!

  15. Great to chat at the Dive show and look forward to seeing you all in the Summer 2013 when we can arrange some dates for a trip..

  16. The sound of Mull has plenty of wrecks and for that reason is already popular with divers. The wreck would be totally unnoticeable unless you dived it. It will have no negative impact on the ‘wilderness’ feel and the dive tourism is already there.

    The wrecks that are down there at the moment will eventually decay so it is nice to have something for the next generation of divers, many of whom are members of the local communities.

  17. This is a great idea and will be of great benefit adding another wreck that will become a reef and safe haven for marine life making an already good diving area even better. Good luck with the project, if all goes well I hope to be diving on it in 2014.

  18. Although I don’t need any encouragement to dive in such a fantastic natural location an extra wreck in the right place in the Sound of Mull will be great for both fish and divers. Great News

  19. The sound of Mull has some great wrecks, another would add to its appeal and I m sure would attract new and returning divers.
    Best of luck with your venture

  20. This is a great idea. When you look at the positive impact that artificial wrecks/reefs have to both the local marine life and the local community, the whole project makes sense. Purposely sunk wrecks might look shiny and out of place when first sunk, but its more of an investment for the future. In 10 years time they will be full of life and character, and other areas around the country will be looking on in envy. Keep up the good work.

  21. It would be absolutely awesome if we could create an artificial reef and allow further development of the Sound of Mull biodiversity!!!
    It is a mammouth task and if you need any help let us know!!!
    Best of Luck!!!
    D

  22. Great few days in the sound and around surrounding islands. Our first trip to the area for diving. 12 of us, some of whom have never visited before.

    In my opinion, an artificial reef here could only seek to further encourage biodiversity as well as further develop tourism and increase GDP. One of the success stories of the area is its ability to deliver diving ‘no matter what the weather’ which cannot be said for most of the outdoor activities practised across Lochaber.

    Properly advertised an artificial reef could encourage far more divers, and their families, to visit the area on a more regular basis.

    Good luck with the project.

  23. Hi Phil, Unfortunately we were not successful in our bid to get the Campbeltown, but we are continuing with environmental and post sinking indemnity evaluations (see this news story) in the hope that another opportunity will present itself in future.

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