Reef Demarcation Buoys

A ship’s anchor chain damaging coral

The improper use of anchors is a major cause of coral reef damage, on many other reefs around Tobago where marine tourism activities are concentrated. While some boat owners take great care in positioning their anchors on sand, this is sadly not the case with all boat operators – both local and visitors – who frequently do not know where to place their anchors and inadvertently damage corals. The damage is caused by the direct impact of the anchor and the sweep of the chain as the boat shifts in the wind and current. A single anchor can destroy large areas of reef, where hard and soft corals have grown for decades and provided shelter to countless species of marine life.

Reef Demarcation Buoy

The BRT conducted a project to help prevent Tobago’s coral reefs from damage caused by boat anchors. The project, which is a collaborative effort between the BRT and the Department of Marine Resource and Fisheries of the Tobago House and Assembly, built and installed 35 Reef Demarcation Buoys (RDBs) at the most popular anchorages around Tobago, such as Store Bay and Mt. Irvine Bay. The RDBs, are fixed to the seafloor, beyond the extent of any reefs near the anchorages, allowing boat owners to easily avoid the reefs.

Maintenance and placement of RDBs will be continued by the BRT.

The project was funded by the Travel Foundation, a UK-based foundation that was created in 2003 with the aim of making tourism more sustainable. The Foundation’s trustees, which include some of the UK’s largest tour operators, have chosen to focus much of Foundation’s effort on Tobago.