The Coastal Star

On the Water: Mermaid sculpture becomes reef

By Willie Howard

The Riviera Beach Maritime Academy, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Palm Beach County sank a mermaid sculpture off Singer Island Aug. 11 to create a new dive destination in honor of a woman who has survived breast cancer three times.
Andrea’s Reef is named for Andrea Torrente of Loxahatchee, whose face was used as the model for the mermaid sculpture created by artist Thomas McDonald.
Students at the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy built the 20-foot by 15-foot structure featuring the life-sized mermaid sculpture as its centerpiece.
Andrea’s Reef is in 75 feet of water off Ocean Reef Park, which is north of Lake Worth Inlet on Singer Island.

Coming events
Sept. 10: Basic boating safety class offered by Coast Guard Auxiliary, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the headquarters building at Spanish River Park, 3939 N. Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton. Fee $35. Register at the door. Bring lunch. Call 391-3600 or email
Sept. 17: Volunteers needed for the International Coastal Cleanup. Most cleanups begin at 8 a.m. Locations include the Sandoway Discovery Center in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach Oceanfront Park and Phipps Ocean Park in Palm Beach. Preregistration suggested. Details: 686-6646 or
Sept. 17: X-Generation 440 Challenge fishing tournament for kingfish, dolphin, wahoo, cobia, bonito/blackfin tuna and snapper. Captain’s meeting 5-8 p.m. Sept. 16 at Palm Beach Yacht Center, Hypoluxo. Weigh-in at Palm Beach Yacht Center. Entry fee $225 per boat through Sept. 9 and $250 thereafter. Call 577-0706 or
Sept. 24: Bird-watching walk with Audubon Society of the Everglades, 8-10 a.m., Spanish River Park, 3939 N. Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton. Reservations suggested. Call (508) 296-0238 or email:
Sept. 24: Coast Guard Auxiliary offers basic boating safety class, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the classroom next to the boat ramps at Harvey E. Oyer Jr. Park, 2010 N. Federal Highway, Boynton Beach. Fee $40. Register at the door. Call 331-2429.
Sept. 27: Capt. Danny Barrow of Silver Lining Fish Charters speaks to the Boynton Beach Fishing Club, 7:30 p.m. at the clubhouse building next to the boat ramps, Harvey E. Oyer Jr. Park, 2210 N. Federal Highway, Boynton Beach. Free. Details: 707-5660 or  

Tip of the month
Running to the Bahamas or taking another extended boating trip this summer?  
File a detailed float plan telling where you’re headed, who is on board and, most important, when you are due back.
Try downloading and completing a Coast Guard float plan form that can be found at (Click on “safety” and “float planning” and look for the float plan PDF form.)
This float plan is far more complete than a typical daily boating float plan sent by email or text message. The Coast Guard float plan form covers details about the boat, its equipment and emergency gear, and the people on board. It includes spaces for a detailed itinerary.
Leave the completed float plan with a reliable person. Update this person when your plans change, and be sure to notify him or her when you and your crew return.

Willie Howard is a freelance writer and licensed boat captain. Reach him at

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