Dec. 18, 2003 – Two recently installed dive moorings at popular locations within the Coral Reef National Monument will allow divers to use the area, although anchoring is not allowed.
The moorings were installed in November at The Leaf in Reef Bay and Eagle Shoals between Ram Head and Leduck Island by the Friends of the V.I. National Park.
"The Friends felt it was important to allow traditional use," Friends president Joe Kessler said.
The monument was established off St. John's south shore and east end. Both mooring locations are in no-anchoring zones.
The dive moorings were made possible thanks to $1,500 donations each by Dive Low Key Watersports in Cruz Bay and St. John Dive Adventures in Coral Bay.
"I believe it's our civic responsibility to preserve the reefs we all enjoy on a daily basis," said Ann Marie Estes, an owner at Dive Low Key Watersports.
Jay Cash, one of St. John Dive Adventures' owners, said the moorings will allow him to use the area. Otherwise, since anchoring is now prohibited, he would have to look for dive sites outside the Coral Reef National Monument.
The Friends in October also installed six fishing moorings for hardnose fishing south of Cabritte Horn Point near Lameshur Bay and 11 day-use moorings in Hurricane Hole. The blue runner can still legally be caught in the federally-protected area. (See Input sought on placement of fishing moorings.)
The Friends also plan to install a storm mooring system in Hurricane Hole for at least 100 boats. However, Kessler expects it to only be partially completed by next hurricane season.
"This is still in the design stages," Kessler said.
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