Outside the barrier islands of coastal Georgia, the continental shelf slopes gradually eastward for over 80 miles before reaching the Gulf Stream and the continental slope. This broad, shallow shelf consists largely of dynamic sand/shell expanses that do not provide the firm foundation needed for the development of reef fish communities, which include popular gamefish such as groupers, snappers, sea bass, and amberjack. Offshore substrate largely consists of fine sand and silt where only about 5% of the adjacent shelf features natural reefs or "live bottoms", most of which occur more than 40 miles offshore.
Georgia’s offshore artificial reefs have been constructed to address a growing “bluewater” fishery targeting tunas, wahoo, and dolphin. Most of these reefs are located 6-23 nautical miles (nm) offshore in 30'-75' water depths but two experimental “deepwater” artificial reefs have also been initiated in 120’-170’ water depths 50-70 nm offshore. Georgia’s natural reefs are based on rock outcroppings, not coral, and the biological community that establishes itself on manmade reef materials is very "natural."
Georgia’s inshore artificial reefs have been constructed in tidal creeks and rivers to address development efforts in response to coastal expansion and a rapidly growing inshore recreational fishery. All fifteen estuarine artificial reefs were created 0-2.5 nm inshore to provide fisheries managers the ability to enhance fisheries resources in estuarine areas lacking suitable habitat and to provide an increase of accessible habitat to coastal anglers. The placement of structures in the intertidal zone also increases the potential for oyster recruitment and shoreline stabilization.
GA Outdoors Map
Historical Summary of the Artificial Reef Program
Goals of Georgia's artificial reef projects include:
1) development of long-term fisheries habitat
2) creation of additional and more accessible recreational fishing opportunities
3) enhancement and support of local and regional fisheries management efforts
The Inshore and Offshore Artificial Reef Projects were established to develop long-term fisheries habitat to increase the availability of quality recreational fishing sites in the inshore waters and Atlantic Ocean near Georgia. Read the PDFs below to learn about the full history of each project.
GPX and KMZ Downloadable Files
Instructions for GPX File Upload:
The “file below” contains the coordinates found in the Master List of Georgia’s Offshore Artificial Reefs, saved in the .gpx format. This file is viewable in Garmin’s MapSource software as well as some other mapping software products. More importantly, this file can be loaded onto most GPS units to provide a comprehensive set of waypoints for Georgia’s Offshore Artificial Reefs. The file can be uploaded to most GPS units via SD card or by connecting your GPS to a computer. Consult your device’s owners’ manual for instructions on how to upload this content. NOTE: Be sure to consult your owners’ manual before uploading the file as some devices will overwrite existing information and existing data or base maps could be lost! The information contained in this file is provided for general educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for navigational charts and knowledge.
Instructions for KMZ File Upload:
The “file below” contains the coordinates found in the Master List of Georgia’s Offshore Artificial Reefs, saved in the .kmz format. This file is viewable in Google Earth. Once opened in Google Earth the file will place a marker on the location of every artificial reef included in the Master List of sites. Google Earth can then be used to plan a trip, estimate travel time and distance, estimate fuel use, develop a float plan, etc. The information contained in this file is provided for general educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for navigational charts and knowledge.
Georgia's Offshore Artificial Reef KMZ file (we are sorry this file is currently unavailable, but will be back soon)
Georgia's Inshore Artificial Reef KMZ file (we are sorry this file is currently unavailable, but will be back soon)