The Atlantic Reefmaker Story

Dave Walter, of Walter Marine, developed the Reefmaker concept. The Reefmaker/Walter Marine deployed its first artificial reef in 1986. Today they are the largest reef builders in the United States with over 50,000 reefs deployed. All his artificial reefs feature his patented design of natural reef like material. These artificial reefs provide a habitat for all forms of marine life, from juveniles to adults. The reefs are durable enough to withstand hurricane 5 force winds and waves. These limestone reefs can be created in any size, including the largest available in the US. There are four divisions of reefs: fishing reefs, snorkeling reefs, wave attenuators (to help mitigate shoreline erosion), and ships. He used the concept on three projects: Deadman’s Island (2011/2012 – 200 feet, 2013 – 50 feet, and 2015 – 1,050 feet), Yellow River Aquatic Preserve (2013 – 1,000 feet) and Shark Island Demonstration project (2015 – 500 feet).

In 2014, a consulting firm was working to provide shoreline protection at a state of North Carolina historic site, Brunswick Town/ Fort Anderson, which was affected by the constant tide forces and dynamic wave action in the Cape Fear River. A staff member at the consulting firm saw a show featuring the Reefmaker, and became convinced the concept would work as a wave attenuation system to stabilize coastal shorelines at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson project and protect the historic and coastal resources that were being washed away in this high energy wave environment. The firm reached out to Darrell Westmoreland with North State Environmental, Inc. with his experience in working with river and shoreline erosion, Darrell and his experienced team at North State Environmental were the right choice for bring the Reefmaker technology to the East coast. Darrell and Stephanie Westmoreland then started Atlantic Reefmaker to produce the Reefmaker products and create new and innovative designs for shoreline protection and marine habitats such as oyster reefs.

The Reefmaker technology is designed to dissipate wind and vessel generated wakes from container ships which struck the Brunswick Town/ Fort Anderson as these ships travel to and from the Port of Wilmington, North Carolina. Since this initial work, Atlantic Reefmaker has been utilized to protect and restore shorelines in high energy and low energy areas. The Reefmaker has also been used to reduce wave energy for seagrass coalescence where wave energy was the limiting factor. ReefMaker systems can also limit the sand migration into a boat ramp while dissipating wave energy and providing fish passage through design gaps in the system.

The modular nature of Atlantic Reefmaker provides adaptability to wave environments and adjustments with the structure porosity.

Darrell Westmoreland is a managing partner of Atlantic Reefmaker. He started Atlantic Reefmaker in 2016 when he saw a need for protecting our coastlines with a more dynamic and innovative process compared to traditional methods and other wave attenuation products. He works with Atlantic Reefmaker staff to assist with problem solving wave energy and coastal challenges that government entities and coastal design engineers want to solve using Atlantic Reefmaker.


After just five years the Atlantic Reefmaker’s positive impact is seen in critical projects along the North Carolina coast helping to mitigate shoreline erosion. Atlantic Reefmaker’s unique design reduces wave energy, reviving rich ecosystems around and near the shore’s edge, including salt marshes and sea grass. This provides an ideal aquatic habitat and cover for fish, oysters, crabs and mussels, because the shore’s edge is critical to the broader coastal ecosystems that thrive in shallow water, abundant sunlight, plentiful terrestrial and marine nutrients, tidal and wave flushing environments, and a wide range of habitat types.

The permeability of the Atlantic Reefmaker structure can be custom designed to promote flushing through the structure for marsh restoration or reduced to near-zero porosity for sediment capture.

The Atlantic Reefmaker’s foundation creates a footprint whose adverse environmental impact is significantly less than traditional rock sills, Thereby making the Atlantic Reefmaker one of the best choices for shoreline erosion mitigation.

See Our Case Studies


of shoreline saved - BTFA, Phase 1


of shoreline saved - BTFA, Phase 2


of shoreline saved - BTFA, Phase 3A


of shoreline saved - BTFA, Phase 3B


Our team combines decades of business experience and project management in stream restoration, wetlands mitigation, stormwater management, bio-retention, and more. We work with local, state, and federal partners to provide the most practical and cost-effective solutions.

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