The 125-foot Time superyacht made headlines when it was launched in 1987. Now the rare aluminum hull has been sunk to serve as an artificial reef in Fort Pierce, Florida.
The abandoned boat has been selected by the Marine Cleanup Initiative as a 'marine restoration project' to be used to benefit local coral reef and fish populations, as well as provide safe observation grounds for divers and tourists.
When the 125-foot Time was built by Palmer Johnson in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, it was one of the first superyachts to be built with an aluminum hull and superstructure. In the late 80's, PJ was a widely respected builder with a reputation for modern, sleek, and high-performing motoryachts. They also had strong ties with other major players in the yachting world, like exterior designer Tom Fexas, and interior craftsman Espinosa Yacht Design.
The Time was a relatively midsize vessel for Palmer Johnson and crew at the time, but still boasted high-end performance capabilities courtesy of an ultra-low draught of only 5'7" (1.7 m) and twin V12 Detroit Diesel motors pushing 4800 hp. Her sleek design generated a top speed of 31 knots (35 mph). Her range was solid, too, with the ability to travel over 3500 nm (6400 km) at a cruising speed of 14 knots. (16 mph).
Despite her mystique and popularity, Time has spent the last 17 years rusting away at the Willis Custom Yachts yard in Martin County, Florida, just north of West Palm Beach.
But now she'll get a second life while providing a new place for life to flourish.
The yacht was scuttled on Saturday afternoon near the Fort Pierce Sportfishing Club. The artificial reef sits about 15 miles southeast of the Fort Pierce Inlet.
In a statement, MCI said: "Two hundred and sixty-four [tonnes] of stainless aluminium is expected to attract spores of Oculina varicosa," a species of ivory bush coral that has been reduced drastically globally.
Some 55 other vessels have already been sunk in the area to stimulate new reef growth. It's also expected to become a habitat for a variety of fish including wahoo, cobia, bonito, tuna, and sailfish.
"Our purpose in St. Lucie County is to help create an artificial reef program to help flourish the reef in our county to make it stronger and better," Arnold Stirzinger, president of the Marine Cleanup Initiative, told WPTV.
"This particular vessel will be down in depth at about 125-160," added Christa Stone, director of operations at MCI.
"We are expecting her to be full of white oculina, so she will actually be considered the first oculina nursery out of the oculina banks," Stone said. "The more we are being more proactive and preventative at trying to maintain the sustainability out here, we have a greater chance at a healthier ecosystem."
For 10 months, crews have been stripping Time down to its bare bones, leaving only the aluminum hull and superstructure. Now her remaining framework, which once included three staterooms, five crew cabins, and a massive helm station, will serve as refuge for Florida's marine wildlife.