New reefs to provide opportunites for snorkelers

JUPITER, Fla. - Right below the ocean's surface there are people enjoying the wonders of the wild. Newly-released numbers by Discover the Palm Beaches show that about 4% of the county’s 6.9 million visitors snorkeled or dived during their visit.

Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach was a top destination; some say it’s because more people know how or have access to snorkeling than diving.

"99 out 100 people snorkel but don't scuba dive,” Scott Harris, president of the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation said.

Currently Harris is working with the county to bring new snorkeling and diving opportunities to more people. Harris has an agreement with the county to build 115 new modular reefs.

On Friday, Harris and his son Ryan were on site as a quarter of the modules were built in Jupiter Farms.

"We want to try and make world class modules, we want to do things that haven't been done before,” Harris said.

In August 15 of the modules will be deployed off the shore of Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach. The modules are unique in that they are more environmentally friendly.

The contractor making the modules, Marc Collette, says the 4-ton structures have a lot of crevices and character. They are even using oyster shells to make them more realistic. The goal is to make it conducive for wildlife to grow and for the fish to hide and get lost in.

In the past large pyramids or tire clusters have been used. Collette says these new designs supersede anything done before.

To help or donate to the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation visit: andrewredharrisfoundation.org

Andrew “Red” Harris was a promising young man and lifelong Jupiter resident. He loved diving and fishing in the ocean waters off northern Palm Beach County. Tragically, Andrew was struck by a boat while snorkeling June 8, 2014.

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