Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Brian Davis will sink: Fundraiser closes the gap on new memorial reef

Sam Blount, owner of Front line Freediving, is working to raise the money necessary to sink a ship 36 miles offshore of the Cape Fear coast. (Port CIty Daily photo/COURTESY SAM BLOUNT)
Sam Blount, owner of Front line Freediving, is working to raise the money necessary to sink a ship 36 miles offshore of the Cape Fear coast. (Port CIty Daily photo / COURTESY SAM BLOUNT)

WILMINGTON — Earlier this summer, 21-year-old spear fisherman and dive master Brian Davis lost his life in a scuba diving accident off the Cape Fear coast.  To memorialize the young waterman, his friend Sam Blount rallied the community in an effort to place a monument offshore.

What started as a simple crowdfunding effort quickly gathered steam, with over $25,000 and a ship being donated in the first two weeks.

With that, Blount began to think bigger, and decided he would attempt to raise enough money to purchase and sink a tugboat near Davis’s favorite reef, the “Greg MicKey.” This effort would allow for the creation of a string of wrecks, along the Frying Pan Shoals off of Bald Head Island.

Since then, Blount has raised almost $70,000 of a $75,000 goal from fundraising alone. Friday, he hosted a silent auction at Waterman’s Brewing in Wrightsville Beach, which saw hundreds of people turn out to show their support for this endeavor.

Blount has raised almost $70,000 of his $75,000 goal, with the addition of almost $29,000 from Fridays silent auction at Waterman's Brewing. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)
Blount has raised almost $70,000 of his $75,000 goal, with the addition of almost $29,000 from Fridays silent auction at Waterman’s Brewing. (Port City Daily photo / COURETSY SAM BLOUNT)

“It was crazy, I’m so blown away by what happened, we raised over 29 grand ($29,000),” Blount said. “The 75k was sort of the soft goal, it’s what they needed for the MicKey 10 years ago. And, honestly, this is far beyond what I expected to see. The support has been absolutely insane.”

The fundraiser featured a silent auction and raffle with over 100 items being donated from more than 58 vendors, including everything from diving gear, to trips to Wyoming and the Bahamas.

“It’s unreal, this started off as sort of a pipe dream, and it’s turned into this,” Blount said. “I can’t thank the vendors enough for helping out.”

According to Blount, the money raised at Friday’s event puts organizers just short of their $75,000 goal. The paperwork has already been filed, now, it’s just a waiting game.

The North Carolina Artificial Reefs Program is currently in the process of “re-working” the procedure for implementing new reefs off our coast. However, Blount says he expects this to expedite the process, hopefully putting the effort ahead of schedule, to get the Brian Davis on the bottom by next summer.

“It’s definitely gonna happen now,” Blount said. “Once they have the new system worked out, it should hopefully be a pretty quick process going forward.”

For more information on the project, and to find out how you can get involved, visit gofundme.com, or check out the Frontline Free Diving Facebook page.


Get in touch with Reporter Cory Mannion: follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or send an email at cory@localvoicemedia.com.

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