Artificial reefs

Update December 2019:State Government Transport Minister Stephan Knoll has confirmed that the wave generator stranded at Carrickalinga will be dismantled and turned into an artificial reef by the middle of 2020. The first stage of works will involve removing all the steelwork from the top section, which is currently visible above the water’s surface, and unbolting it from the main underwater structure. When the top section has been removed, it will be sunk. The remaining bottom structure will be under approximately one metre of water at low tide.

Artificial reefs are typically man-made structures designed to create an environment for marine life. They include purpose-sunk vessels, groupings of old tyres, and other objects. The placement and construction of artificial reefs are regulated under the Commonwealth Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981. See a useful fact sheet on artificial reefs, covering permits, resources, site determination and layout, materials and monitoring.

While some marine conservation groups have expressed concern about artificial reefs and their impact on the environment, in general SDFSA supports these structures if they are developed in consultation with local communities and users (fishers, divers, etc) and the materials used have been cleaned of oil and other potentially toxic substances and will not contribute to a deterioration of the surrounding environment.

The Premier of South Australia, Stephen Marshall, committed at the time of the 2018 election to the construction of three new artificial reefs.

List of SA artificial reefs as of 2018 from theBonzle Digital Atlas of Australia (

Ardrossan (Barge) Artificial Reef, SA
Giles Point (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Glenelg (Dredge) Artificial Reef, SA
Glenelg (Sunken barge) Artificial Reef, SA
Glenelg (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Grange (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Kingscote (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Augusta (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Broughton (Car bodies) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Germein (Pipes) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Lincoln (Sunken vessel) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Neill (Sunken vessel) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Noarlunga (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Port Pirie (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Streaky Bay (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Wallaroo (Tyre module) Artificial Reef, SA
Whyalla (Tyre module) Artificial Reef 1, SA
Whyalla (Tyre module) Artificial Reef 2, SA
Whyalla (Tyre module) Artificial Reef 3, SA