Friday, February 08, 2008

Sunken carrier reels in the divers


USA Today
February 08, 2008

The Oriskany is living up to its hype.

The decommissioned aircraft carrier, promised as a worldwide dive destination when it was sunk on May 17, 2006, is pumping millions of dollars into the economy around Pensacola, Fla., and creating dozens of jobs. Dive shops report visitors from all over the continental U.S. and as far away as Australia.

A study by the University of West Florida reports a $3.6 million annual economic impact from scuba divers visiting the Oriskany, the world's largest artificial reef sunk in 212 feet of water, 22.5 nautical miles from Pensacola Pass.

The ship generated more than 4,200 dive trips in its first full year and was responsible for creating 37 new jobs that generated $740,000 in salaries in Escambia County, the study by the Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development reports.

Getting the word out hasn't been hard. International press coverage has been extensive for the ship, dubbed by former crewmembers the "Mighty O."



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