Two million tires don’t belong on the bottom of the ocean!

In the early 1970s over two million used passenger car tires were bound together with steel clips and nylon straps to create the substrate needed to expand the Osborne Reef. Then, with the help of over 100 privately owned vessels, thousands of tire bundles were dropped into the Atlantic Ocean.

This well-intentioned environmental restoration project ultimately failed. Over time, saltwater corroded the restraints that held the tires together. Free from their bonds, these tires began migrating vast distances across the bottom of the ocean.

Now, ocean currents, waves, and storms turn loose tires into projectiles that move with such force that they can cause irreparable damage to coral reefs and other marine ecosystems that are already threatened by pollution, coastal development, overfishing, climate change, and severe weather events.

Recovering tires from the Osborne Reef and surrounding areas is a slow, arduous, expensive, and resource-intensive process. Despite the enormous progress made by professional companies and even the military, the difficult nature of the work combined with extra challenges like budget cuts, limited resources, and poor weather conditions mean there is still a lot of work to be done to clean up the Osborne Reef.

What makes cleanup efforts even more complicated is the fact that hundreds of thousands of loose tires have already migrated far away from the main cleanup area and must also be recovered, often just a few at a time, in order to prevent more damage to crucial marine ecosystems along the coast.

The Osborne Reef is right in our backyard, so as soon as we heard about this project, we knew we had to get involved. After months of research, relationship building, and a lengthy permitting process, 4ocean was finally granted the licenses and permits required to recover tires that have migrated away from the Osborne Reef drop site.

Now, for the first time ever, we’re taking our professional cleanup crews below the ocean’s surface to help recover these tires and protect our coral reefs. Our designated cleanup area spans 34 acres of seabed just north of the original drop site where hundreds of thousands of loose tires have migrated. Our crews are currently using existing resources to recover tires as they survey the area, document tire distribution, and develop a detailed cleanup strategy.

The Osborne Reef Tire Cleanup is still in its infancy and we’re going to need your help to maximize our impact. The Osborne Reef Bracelet is made with pieces of the tires our crews are recovering and will help provide the funding and resources we need to hire more dive crews and invest in specialized equipment that will allow us to recover these tires quicker and on a much larger scale.