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Monica Lee Deployment

 

 

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 The Monica Lee is a steel tugboat that was built in 1955 by Main Iron Works in Houma, LA. She is a sturdy little tug that has spent most of the last 50 years successfully operating as a tow boat in all it's facets.

The Monica Lee was purchased by Captain John "Boo" McCulley of McCulley Marine in 1992. From that point forward, Monica Lee was his workhorse. She not only did regular tugboat duty of pushing boats and barges up and down the east coast of Florida and the Intercoastal Waterway, but Capt. McCulley started working with various artificial reef associations and government entities to create artificial reefs and shore up the fishing environments that had been devastated by over-fishing and severe storms that had lashed the Florida coast for several years.

In her years of service with McCulley Marine from 1992 to 2004, the Monica Lee participated in the creating of approximately 100 artificial reefs all over the South Atlantic coast of the United States. In 2004 she was sold to a private owner in Cape Coral, FL and then sold again to Turn Key Marine Service, LLC in 2006. Captains James and Val Flores, owners of Turn Key Marine, started working on refurbishing her for service once they took possession. They also used the Monica Lee in several boat recovery projects in the Santa Rosa Sound and Choctawhatchee Bay-one for a boat that was almost as long as she was! Unfortunately, the time and work the Monica Lee required to bring her back to her glory days proved to be more intensive than anticipated, and plans were made to find a suitable final destination for Monica Lee.

After a great deal of time and research, the decision was made to contact groups involved in artificial reef deployment in the Gulf Coast and see if she could be donated to benefit all. The Emerald Coast Reef Association and Okaloosa County agreed to work with Turn Key Marine on this project, so Capts. Flores donated the Monica Lee to the ECRA, a non-profit organization that has deployed several private reefs off the Northwest Florida coast, and she was given a final scrub down and spruce up for her final mission.

As a truly poetic turn, her illustrious career will find it's fitting end as an artificial reef at the bottom of the sea on the Emerald Coast in Northwest Florida thanks to the efforts of Turn Key Marine Service, the Emerald Coast Reef Association, and the Okaloosa County Public Works Department.

 

Click here to watch the video of the Sinking of the Monica Lee! 

 

 

Towing the Monica Lee to her final resting spot...

 

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Having fun out of the office!

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