The idea for No Shoes Reefs first came to life in 2013 as Kenny Chesney and a few friends from CCA floated on the St. John’s River in Jacksonville, Florida, over two concrete structures that had been sunk as habitat only 18 months prior. As the boat floated over the location, the boat’s electronics showed waves of fish over and on the river’s two new living reefs. Thrilled by the outcome, Chesney and Pat Murray, national president of CCA, proclaimed these the first “No Shoes Reefs” and from that afternoon, an initiative was born.
Today, Chesney is an honorary board member for the Building Conservation Trust, the national habitat program of CCA and No Shoes Reefs helps ocean conservation groups create awareness, raise money and connect to each other. Working with partners like Deep Apparel, RePatriot Flag and other brand partners, No Shoes Reefs raises awareness and support through the brand partnerships that sell exclusive products; they’re at the center of an alliance dedicated to finding innovative ways to enhance efforts to improve our marine environment.
The Boat Ride that Started it All
No Shoes Reefs first came to life in 2013 as Kenny Chesney and friends from CCA floated on the St. John’s River in Jacksonville. As the boat floated over the location, their electronics showed waves of fish over the river’s two new living reefs. Thrilled, Chesney and CCA National President Pat Murray, proclaimed these the first “No Shoes Reefs.”
“I love that No Shoes Reefs is not only helping protect the water’s ecosystem, it’s giving people an opportunity to make a difference in their own coastal communities,” said Chesney. “Providing a healthy environment for fish, plants and waterways well into the future is a legacy I’m honored to be part of.”
Drawing on the power of Chesney’s No Shoes Nation — well over a few million strong — No Shoes Reefs, CCA and a growing list of supporting organizations continue work enhancing our marine habitat and keeping the oceans vibrant and healthy for generations.
In the last few months, No Shoes Reefs provided support to a number of habitat programs underway in CCA state chapters.
CCA South Carolina
CCA South Carolina and No Shoes Reefs recently teamed up to purchase four new reef ball molds and donate them to the state department of natural resources. The new molds are larger than anything the state currently has and expands the range of projects that can be undertaken.
In Georgia, No Shoes Reefs, CCA Georgia and the Reef Ball Foundation teamed up to purchase 400 concrete oyster balls. They are working with the state to determine the best places along the coast to build new oyster reefs.
In early 2021, CCA Florida, Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management, Sandoway Discovery Center, Reef Ball Foundation, Building Conservation Trust and Global SubDive deployed 13 10,000-pound goliath reef balls, about a half-mile off Delray Beach, kicking off development of a 32-acre underwater reef park. No Shoes Reefs and Reef Ball Foundation donated the 7-foot by 6-foot reef balls along with four flatbed trailers using proceeds from eco-friendly No Shoes Reefs products with partners Deep Apparel, SiliPint and RePatriot Flag.
In Maryland, No Shoes Reefs donated funding to develop the chapter’s new web site dedicated exclusively to sharing news about habitat projects and drumming up community involvement. The platform plays a key role in CCA Maryland’s Living Reef Action Campaign and its ongoing program partnering with local school districts to have students build reef concrete reef balls and learn the importance of healthy marine habitat.