Thomas E. Williams II
(850) 258-8670
[email protected]
Emerald Coast Living

South Walton Florida Gets New Artificial Reefs

Posted on - Laura Bernstien

Photo credit –

South Walton is home to some of the sought-after real estate in Florida and some of the cutest beach towns on Florida’s panhandle, and now there is more to love about it.  South Walton Artificial Reef Association (S.W.A.R.A.) has taken it upon itself to create artificial reefs for wildlife, tourists, and Emerald Coast residents to enjoy.  South Walton Artificial Reef Association (S.W.A.R.A.) started in 2013 and announced that they would be creating about 367 reef modules.

In 2010, the Deep-Water Horizon disaster brought about a lot of concerns and this lead to the birth of S.W.A.R.A. Mr. Walt Hartley from S.W.A.R.A. has provided some insight into why this project is important for the environment.  He said, “We are putting these reef modules out there, and it’s almost like creating little oasis in the desert. It’s going to bring more fish in. It creates these protective shelters for smaller younger fish”.  He also discussed the benefits to tourists and residents of South Walton. Hartley said, “Anywhere you stand along 30A, there’s most likely going to be a reef that you can swim or kayak out to”.

With the new developments, about 12 new reefs will be installed on the South Walton coast. About 9 on-shore reefs are to be placed two-third nautical miles away from the beach with a depth of 60 feet, and the other 3 will be built at off-shore sites, three to seven nautical miles away from shore with a depth of about 90 feet.

Artificial reefs are going to be in Grayton Beach, Frangista Beach, Fish Haven, Inlet Beach, Miramar beach, Ed Walline, and Topsail. All these reef sites have about a hundred towers each and projects are ongoing.  Scuba Divers, get your gear ready!

According to Mr. Hartley, the reefs will serve as a haven for aquatic lives and will be a form of conservation. Also, a representative of Visit South Walton, David Demarest stated that the reefs would draw more people to Walton County and generate more revenue for the state and to help the growth of the community. South Walton’s Scenic Highway 30a is already one of the most picturesque areas on the Florida’s Gulf Coast, and South Walton’s beaches attract attention from around the world, but now you can enjoy it even more!

(South Walton artificial reefs are not only functional, they are fun! Pictured is the Inlet Beach Reef.)

South Walton Artificial Reef Association

E-mail: [email protected]


P.O. Box 2482

Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459