Radford Ready to SinkThe former US Navy destroyer Arthur W. Radford as it receives it final prep for sinking off the coast of Maryland. The entire sinking took around four hours.
Sunken Navy Destroyer Becomes Hot New U.S. Scuba-Diving Destination
It took over three years to build the Navy vessel U.S.S. Arthur W. Radford, but it took only four hours for a marine salvage team to sink her to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Fortunately, the Navy’s loss will be scuba-divers’ gain.
The Radford, a 563-foot-long former Navy destroyer, was sunk on Wednesday August 10th off the coast of Maryland. It’s the longest ship to have ever been sunk as an artificial reef in the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s also the country’s first multi-state artificial reef project.
The sunken vessel is now part of the Del-Jersey-Land Reef, named for the three states — Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland — involved in the project. The Radford lies in 135 feet of water 28 miles from Ocean City, MD, and is roughly equidistant from Cape May, NJ, and Indian River, DE.
The new reef is a collaborative effort between the governments of the three states, which split the $945,000 cost of the project to provide for recreational opportunities in fishing and scuba diving. Officials estimate that within mere months the Radford will become home to a wide range of sea life, including tuna, sharks, bluefish, sea bass and weakfish.
With news of the sinking lighting up Internet diving forums this week, divers around the world are already chomping at the bit to explore the new wreck. And according to a report in the Baltimore Sun, at least one scuba-diving charter operator is already signing up customers hoping to be among the first to dive the Radford. The Ocean City, MD-based charter operator says the new wreck will be “an exciting addition to the local and national dive industry.”
Over the next several days, commercial divers involved with the project will be inspecting the Radford on the sea floor to assess how the sinking went. However, Jeff Tinsman, a Delaware state official who headed up the reefing project, says the ship not only remains intact, but that it landed perfectly on the ocean bottom.
"I was convinced that she was going to go down on her side, but everything ended up right in the end," Tinsman told the Baltimore Sun.
To see video of the Arthur W. Radford sinking, click here.