Artificial reef to be named for expert boat builders, conservationists
Boca Raton News
By John Johnston
December 25, 2006
Sunken ships becoming havens for marine life has been well known for centuries
John “Pop” Rybovich, and his son John Rybovich, Jr. are the local man best known for advocacy of doing Mother Nature one better – scuttling ships to create artificial reefs.
Which is why when the Celtic Crusader -- a more than 260-foot derelict freighter now rusting away on the Miami River is scuttlled in 200 feet of water immediately north of the Lake Worth Inlet – it will be called the John Rybovich Endowment Reef, according to Tom Twyford, Executive Director of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club.
The club is contributing $10,000 toward the $80,000 artificial reef creation project, and is doing so in honor of the men, Twyford told The Boca Raton News. Pop Rybovich served as fishing club president for eight years; John, Jr., for 20 years.
The club’s contribution will be matched with a $70,000 contribution from the Vessel Registration Fee Trust Fund, county commissioners said. In turn, commissioners have contracted with Bunnell Foundation, Inc., to provide procurement, preparation, towing and scuttling of the derelict freighter.
An additional $5,000 above the contract price will cover any contingencies that might arise, commissioners said, and with any remaining balance returned to reserves when the project is complete.
According to National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA),
“few individuals have impacted big game fishing as much as John “Pop” Rybovich. Besides developing several lasting innovations for sport fishing boats, Rybovich was among the first organizers of several major international fishing tournaments, which helped popularize and broaden the sport.” He also paved the way for conservation efforts that would help to preserve big game fishing for future generations, the NMMA said.
A founder of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club, Pop Rybovich was the first recipient of the club’s “Lifetime Achievement Award”, marking efforts on behalf of sport fishing and conversation.
The contract with Bunnell calls for the work to be completed within 90 days of it being signed.