Getting Started

We can protect natural reefs. We can build artificial reefs. These are reefs built by people. These reefs can help in different ways. Some keep waves from wearing away the shoreline. Other artificial reefs are built to hold sand on beaches. And still others are made to create homes for ocean wildlife.

This artist makes a statue for the underwater museum.

These statues have been underwater for several years. Corals and algae grow on them. Fish swim among them.

How do you build an artificial reef? A large object is placed on the flat sea bottom. It attracts plankton and small fish. This brings larger fish. Algae and corals grow. Over time, a reef forms.

Corals decorate these MUSA statues.

Rigs to Reefs

Art isn’t the only way to make a reef. Old oil rigs can be reefs, too! They are built in deep water. There, they drill for oil. When a rig is no longer in use, it just sits there. But now, some are used to make reefs.

This rig may become part of an artificial reef.

Corals grow on an artificial reef.

The rigs are cut down and turned on their side underwater. These rigs can support marine life. This program is called Rigs to Reefs. In the United States, more than 500 rigs have been reused.