Shipwrecks attract divers. Therefore, decommissioned marine vehicles are used as artificial reefs for recreational diving tourism around the world. We examined divers' attitudes towards shipwrecks and their function as an ecological enhancers. The study was carried out in the Karaburun Peninsula, Turkey, where two passenger ships were sunk as artificial wreck reefs to attract diving tourism. Using a questionnaire survey accompanied by face-to-face interviews, of both certified divers and non-certified discovery divers we collected information about divers reefs preferences, perception of artificial reefs as well as their socio-demographic characteristics, dive experiences etc. Differences in divers’ wreck (historical or artificial) and reef preferences (natural reefs or artificial wrecks) were analyzed with the Mann-Whitney U test. Overall, divers held the position that artificial wreck reefs provide ecological benefits on fish diversity and stocks (p < 0.05), and experienced divers supported this position more that novice ones. However, experience and number of annual dives did not affect this notion. Non-certified respondents were mostly neutral towards the ecologic and management statements. However, the majority of divers (84%) preferred to dive on natural reefs rather than on shipwrecks. Similarly, most of them (83%) preferred diving to historical shipwrecks which sank in wars or accidents, and not on ships intentionally sunk as attractions. These findings, which are in line with previous literature, put a question mark on the growing practice of sinking nearly any ship to create diving attractions.
- Artificial reefs
- SCUBA diving
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law