On May 27, 2009 the Vandenberg was sunk to become the largest artificial reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and the second largest in the world. The ship settled upright on her keel in 1 minute 44 seconds, exactly as predicted by the many model tests performed to design the sink plan. Marine life began colonizing immediately and the ship is now home to pelagic and reef fish, and many other species of marine plants and animals.
This ship is becoming one the most spectacular artificial reef ever prepared especially for diving. There are plenty of very dive-able structures at depths of 40 to 140 feet. Shallow structures include the 30 by 10 foot crow’s nest, the great 40-foot dish antennas, and the tops of the bridge and communications center.
The 25-foot tall rudder and prop are at a fantastic deep dive of 140 feet. The four open decks at approximately 70-100 feet can be penetrated horizontally with 8 by 10 foot openings on each side, along with vertical elevator shafts, cargo holds and stair towers. The vast structure is already teeming with marine life, inside and out.