By Zachary Granat
Last year, on Sept. 6, 2021, Capt. Patrick Price passed away after a battle with COVID-19. This month, the MCAC Artificial Reef Fund honored him by sinking two artificial reefs off the coast of St. Lucie County.
Two boats, the 65-foot Spirit of Palm Beach—renamed the DayMaker—and the 98-foot Last One—renamed the Capt. Patrick Price Reef—are now underwater. After about six months of planning and a delay in February, the organizers settled on the days of May 15 and May 16.
On May 15 at 9 a.m., the Capt. Patrick Price Reef sank 180 feet with around 40 boats in attendance. At the same time the next day, the DayMaker sank 100 feet with around 20 boats to witness it.
The Capt. Patrick Price Reef is approximately two miles south of the reef made from USS Muliphen in 1989. Likewise, the DayMaker reef is about two miles south-southwest of the 1942 Amazone shipwreck.
During both sinkings, Price’s family members read an epistle about his life. Dave Powell, the Reef Project Manager, explained over the radio to the attendees how the reef would be created.
According to the MCAC Artificial Reef Fund website, artificial reefs recycle “clean building materials, concrete modules and steel vessels.” They also provide “spawning and feeding habitats for many of the 249 reef fish species observed on Martin County offshore reefs.”
Powell, as former president of the Stuart Sailfish club, had known Price for many years himself. He made the reef possible by obtaining title over the two boats involved. Jim Oppenborne, St. Lucie County’s artificial reef coordinator, provided the project with the two reef sites.
The MCAC Artificial Reef Fund will have to send divers once every year for five years to monitor the new reef.
A plaque on the DayMaker’s upper helm reads: “Here be the spirit of Captain Patrick Price (1979-2021), a true family man at peace with the seas.”