Neptune Memorial Reef

Neptune Memorial Reef

Transport yourself to the lost city of Atlantis at Neptune Memorial Reef...

Three miles off the coast of Miami Beach and under about 40 feet of water grows Neptune Memorial Reef, an artificial reef created to facilitate coral expansion in the area and overall ocean health. The reef’s structure, inspired by the lost city of Atlantis, is complete with sunken columns, roadways, and lion statues, making it not only a fantastical dive site, but also home to thousands of different marine creatures, both small and large. Despite its striking appearance, this reef is more than simply an art installation; it is also the final resting place for many ocean-loving souls. Families can purchase a headstone of sorts, that incorporates their loved one’s ashes into cement molds of marine themed shapes. These cement pieces and a metal placard are then permanently placed on the reef, ready to become a home for a wandering coral polyp in need of a place to land. These placements are not only touching memorials, but also a magnificent way to give back to the ocean and encourage positive environmental stewardship. All are welcome on Neptune Memorial Reef; it is a very popular SCUBA and snorkeling site, while also being frequented by those who enjoy viewing from the comfort of the boat. 

“Thanks to its marine protected area listing, the reef is a sanctuary to endangered and threatened species. Once completed, the site will span an impressive 16 acres- a monument large enough to be visible from space! Aside from being an extremely successful marine conservation project, the reef is a testament to the importance of building artificial reefs in an effort to save our oceans. Carefully engineered artificial reefs such as Neptune Memorial Reef have been proven to successfully speed up population growth and embrace a much wider variety of species while also lessening anthropogenic impacts on natural reefs in the area. Through dedicated stewardship and service, the reef has developed a well respected legacy,” said Cintra. He continued, “Neptune Memorial Reef is breathtaking dive site in Miami due to its extraordinary ecosystem, full of beauty and wonders while sheltering thousands of amazing creatures.”

There are several local dive shops that offer regular trips to Neptune Memorial Reef. All shops contract with a local dive boat company, Deco Divers, that leaves from the Miami Beach Marina and brings divers and snorkelers to the reef Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (other days are available upon request). Two widely used shops are Tarpoon Lagoon, located in the Miami Beach Marina, and Grove Scuba, located in Coconut Grove, both full-service, family owned dive shops. 

Each company offers a variety of services for all levels of divers. Whether you’re a novice looking for a spectacular place to get certified, or an experienced diver who just needs some air and lift out to the site, either of these shops can have you ready to go. Divers looking to get certified or those interested in a quick refresher prior to an ocean dive are encouraged to call ahead to ensure availability of instructors. 

Neptune Memorial Reef is one of a kind. While other memorial reefs may be in the works, the concept has never been implemented on such a large scale before. When the project is finished it will be the largest artificial reef in the world and a wonder for all to see. In hopes that others will emulate their unique blend of environmental stewardship, eco-tourism, and a living memorial- a tribute to the fine people who have worked to bring the idea to life.

Learn More:

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Watch a quick video of the reef

Visit Neptune's Official Website

By Anya Morrill | February 23, 2022


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