In 2020, Okaloosa County was contacted by the Brannon Family out of Freeport, FL who wanted to donate a 65ft experimental military “fast response” catamaran for use as an artificial reef.
The catamaran was originally purchased in Maine and transported by trailer to Freeport where it sat for more than 20 years.
According to Alex Fogg, Coastal Resource Manager for the Okaloosa TDD, the original plan was to retrofit the vessel and use it as a house boat or other semi-permanent living quarters.
However, the vessel retrofit was never started and the vessel was never placed in the water or ran. Because the vessel was never named, it was eventually given the working name of the BRANNON in honor of Mr. Ronnie Brannon, who passed away in 2021.
On July 30, 2020, Okaloosa County formally accepted the vessel and since then it has been prepared and is now ready for deployment.
The BRANNON will be deployed approximately 16.43nm SE of Destin Pass in the Okaloosa County Large Area Artificial Reef Site A (LAARS A).
- This is the exact location where The DYLAN was deployed back in September 10, 2020.
According to Fogg, due to the relatively small size of the BRANNON (65ft), it will be secured to the DYLAN for “increased stability and to provide additional complexity to the site.”
- Fogg told Get The Coast that the location is being referred to as the “Boat Yard”.
- As the county continues to deploy vessels as part of the growing artificial reef program, they will add to this site.
This reef site (LAARS A) will not only provide habitat for commercial and recreationally important species of fish that are commonly targeted by local and visiting anglers, but will also offer an interesting site for SCUBA divers.
“We had a pretty stagnant artificial reef program until a few years ago,” said Fogg. “When we deployed the DYLAN, the project got a lot of attention and an increased interest in what we are doing. Since then, people have been lining up to donate vessels to the county. It is always exciting to see a vessel deployment off our coast.”
The plan is to deploy the BRANNON around the end of July, early August.