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Divetalking » Adv. Open Water, Artificial Reefs, Boats, Events, Photography, Reefs, Reference, Report, Stories, Trip Report, Videography, Wrecks » The making and placement of the Kyle Conrad Memorial Reef

The making and placement of the Kyle Conrad Memorial Reef

The preparations of the 19th century tug boat TUFF-E-NUFF began back sometime around October, 2010. TISIRI had caught wind of a vessel in the St. Mary’s river, Georgia. A 19th century tug boat TUFF-E-NUFF. Originally named Thomas Cunningham Sr, she was built in 1895 by Neafie & Levy of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the Army Corps of Engineers.

In 1948 the Thomas Cunningham Sr was rebuilt. The steam engine [singlepic id=117 w=320 h=240 float=] was removed and replaced with a diesel and the wooden structure  [singlepic id=119 w=320 h=240 float=] replaced with steel. Between 1948 and 2011, the tug went through many changes. In the 1970’s the name changed to TUFF-E-NUFF and on January 17, 2011 the name changed for the last time to KYLE CONRAD, to honor the memory of this young gentlemen that bears the name of the reef.

You will read brief chronological events, referenced to other TUFF-E-NUFF articles and a picture show from the first days we set foot to the day before TUFF-E-NUFF was placed as an artificial reef. The presentation shows what took place to get the TUFF-E-NUFF prepared for placement as an artificial reef, as a memorial reef, placed 16:52 EST January 17, 2011.

It was mid year 2010 and there is this Tug boat sitting in the middle of the St. Marys River in Georgia. After locating and contacting the owner, we negotiated the transfer of title over to TISIRI. The team assembled and began preparing her for  service as an artificial reef. There were primarily four guys working on preparing the vessel, Joe Kistel, Ed Kalakauskis, David Groom, and Larry Davis (that’s me). From October 2010 to January 2011, we were constantly preparing the vessel. A lot of work goes into cleaning as well as the politics involved when working with local, city and state agencies. In this case we worked with agencies from two states, Florida and Georgia.

Almost every weekend the three of us would drive to GA in the early morning and spend the day on the vessel. The vessel was literally in the middle of the St. Mary’s River so we had a boat that we hauled to GA that we would use to shuttle us back and forth. From sunup to sunset we would cut, pull, scape,hammer, wash, pound, drill, saw, pull, push lift, throw and still couldn’t find enough time in the day.

During the cleanup, we needed to find a place for TUFF-E-NUFF and we began the search for willing participants. We can’t wait to locate a willing recipient until after we clean the tug, we need to look while we are cleaning. We found three and the one that got her was the one that came up with 1/2 half of the money up front. A lot of folks do not see what goes on in the background but everything is based on timing. Weather, funding, transportation, local and state authorities,county officials, city officials, volunteers, Archaeological society, paperwork, US Army corp of Engineers, Permits, US Coast Guard, pre and post deployment surveys, the list goes on. All it takes is for one piece to fall out of of place and the whole alignment messes up the timing.

This is where TISIRI comes in. As the focal point for all parties to communicate through, information is available to all participating parties through one central point of contact. Timing of the dynamic project is kept in pace with any changes. The result, the artificial reef. That’s where Joe Kistel comes in, founder of TISIRI.

Come early January 2011, TUFF-E-NUFF is moved from the St. Marys River.

Articles posted on TUFF-E-NUFF movement from St. Mary’s GA:

TUFF-E-NUFF enroute to the treasure coast.

Update on placement.

Almost Realtime Updates on placement

Parent Link to all the above TUFF-E-NUFF articles.

Here is a slideshow presentation from when we first found TUFF-E-NUFF to the day before she was placed and renamed in honor of a young gentlemen who passed, Kyle Conrad.

Video by Larry Davis. Over 8 minutes long.
Be patient on the 720p download if you are not on a highspeed network.

More articles on TUFF-E-NUFF may be found at TISIRI articles on TUFF-E-NUFF

The 68-foot steel tugboat was sunk in about 165 feet of water about nine mile northeast of St. Lucie Inlet at 4:52 p.m January 17, 2011 in Martin County’s Sirotkin permitted reef construction area following a day of challenges brought about by poor weather conditions, the Kyle Conrad Memorial Artificial Reef became a reality.

Unfortunately, more than a dozen of Conrad’s family members and friends were unable to see the event take place when severe weather ahead of a fast-moving cold front chased them back to the safety of land at about 1:30 p.m.. “Sea conditions deteriorated quickly,” said John Burke, founder of the not-for-profit MCAC Reef Fund that coordinated the reef’s creation. “We had some 6-8-footers out there, and it was all a close chop driven by high winds. We had to return for everyone’s safety.”

Here is a Video by David Sirak showing the sinking of the vessel.

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Founder and Master Moderator of Divetalking.

Filed under: Adv. Open Water, Artificial Reefs, Boats, Events, Photography, Reefs, Reference, Report, Stories, Trip Report, Videography, Wrecks

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