Where to Get Free Artificial Reef Coordinates for Your GPS
If you fish offshore, here’s a tool that could make your life easier.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) offers coordinates of all its artificial reef sites and structures in several file types, which can be downloaded and imported to your GPS device.
You can find the data files here. In addition to providing coordinates, the files also provide the names of reefs and the structures located at each site.
"The exciting part of this is the ability see everything at each reef site. Often there are overlooked structures that hold fish and don’t see as much pressure,” said SCDNR spokesperson Phil Maier.
Artificial reefs are manmade structures – ranging from retired barges to radio towers – that have been cleaned and sunk to provide fish habitat on sandy seafloor. Where these reefs fall in shallower waters, they’re also often popular destinations for recreational divers.
If you already use the SCDNR reef data files, now’s a great time to update them. That’s because a number of new reefs and structures have been added since the last revision several years ago, said SCDNR artificial reef coordinator Bob Martore.
Two brand new reef sites, the Ron McManus Memorial Reef off North Myrtle Beach and the Pop Nash Reef off Surfside Beach, have been established in recent years. Through the Reef-Ex project, a collaboration between SCDNR and the S.C. Army National Guard to recycle surplus equipment, armored personnel carriers were deployed at several reefs from Little River to Hilton Head. And several new vessels have been sunk all along the coast, including a tugboat, trawler, and landing craft, as well as barges ranging from 50 to 100 feet in length.
SCDNR’s artificial reef program adds new material off the coast of South Carolina every year thanks to saltwater license funds, Sportfish Restoration money, and donations from groups such as Coastal Conservation Association-South Carolina. In 2016, the artificial reef program deployed 120,000 cubic feet of habitat at thirteen sites. That brought the total size of artificial reef sites off the coast of South Carolina to over 40 square miles.
The data files are available to download in the recommended file types for RayMarine, Lowrance, Garmin, and Humminbird systems, as well as in Google Earth. Depending on your device, the files can typically then be imported to your device using an SD card or a USB cable.