If you’re on our website and reading this blog post, chances are boating is a big part of your lifestyle. You probably love being out on the water, enjoying the sun, surf and all the glories of Mother Nature. Here in Fort Lauderdale, the salt life is a huge draw and certainly popular amongst residents plus visitors alike. However, large volumes of people are enjoying our natural resources can have a negative impact on the health of the ocean and on reefs in particular. We actually get over 14 million visitors in Broward county every year!
At Pier Sixty-Six Marina, we believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to take care of our oceans and waterways. As boaters, we tend to care even more than most about conservation since it is close to our hearts. One solution in the effort to keep our oceans healthy and beautiful, amongst many, is the creation of artificial reefs. They can help tremendously by giving natural reefs time to recover, while providing a protective habitat for fish, lobsters and a myriad of other kinds of marine life.
This is where the spectacular #1000mermaids project comes in. It’s a public art installation that will also serve as an eco-friendly destination for underwater tourism. They are aiming to bring awareness to the growing problems affecting our natural reefs and they’re doing it in a novel way through art that hopes to bring a lot of attention to this issue.
Here’s the gist: mermaids have long been a symbol of the ocean and our connection to it. That’s why the project plans to make 1000 mermaid sculptures and then strategically place them on the ocean floor as an artificial reef art installation, with the help of local government environmental agencies. The planned locations for the artificial reef modules are perpendicular with the tour boat excursions off of Fort Lauderdale beach, and people will be able to learn about the reefs and how to help while on these jaunts.
The mermaid sculptures are actually body casts created by artists Ernest Vasquez and Sierra Rasberry of Miami Body Cast Studio. They’ve been working with dozens of models, social influencers and celebrities since 2015 and what began as a simple idea of turning the models into mermaids has now grown into a long-term project that will involve many people, volunteers, businesses, organizations, environmental agencies, local and federal governments, and the Army Corps of Engineers.
The goal is to create 1000 body sculptures made-up of a sustainable concrete which allows infant coral to adhere to it and restore Fort Lauderdale’s living coral reef population. Each cast will be individually handcrafted by Miami Body Cast and then strategically laid along the ocean of Florida’s east coast. Not only does this project promote eco-friendly awareness and support for the ocean, but it will also become the stage for a world-renowned snorkeling destination.
Interested in being a model or volunteer? Want to be part of the dive team? If you’d like to get involved in some way, you can learn more on their website. They’re definitely looking for more than monetary donations, although those are welcome of course. Also, Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina is now home to its own mermaid sculpture from the project. Come visit us at Pelican Landing to get your photos as a mermaid and learn more about this wonderful cause, as we want all of us boaters along the Fort Lauderdale coast to be able to continue enjoying the oceans for generations to come. Learn more here.