Hurricane Damaged Casino Boat Becomes New Artificial Reef off Florida Coast

A boat beached and abandoned after Hurricane Michael in 2018 is now at the bottom of the ocean and becoming Florida’s newest artificial reef.

Crews sunk The El Dorado, a 157-foot-long, 300-ton casino boat in early May 2019.

The El Dorado sustained damage through a couple hurricanes that blew through Florida. Hurricane Ivan in 2004 caused some initial damage to the ship. A new owner was in the process of restoring the boat when Hurricane Michael came to town and left the boat stranded just offshore behind Florida State University Panama City.

The boat’s owner donated the El Dorado to become an artificial reef. This move will help create new habitat and will help replace some of the artificial reefs damaged by the recent storms.

The El Dorado’s final resting place is 29°58’55.0″N 85°50’57.0″W. Top of the wreck is 63-feet deep, with the bottom at 103.

Panama City Dive Center, a NAUI Dive Facility, helped with the sinking of the boat, providing both the tow and support/safety vessels.

Click here to see the final moments of the sinking.