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New artificial reef established to honor Fred Nash

A load of concrete junction boxes arrives at new reef site PA 07, the Pop Nash Reef, on Wednesday. The reef is located nine miles north-northeast of Murrells Inlet.
A load of concrete junction boxes arrives at new reef site PA 07, the Pop Nash Reef, on Wednesday. The reef is located nine miles north-northeast of Murrells Inlet. Submitted photo

It’s one by land and one by sea in recognition of the late Fred Nash, Sr.

The patriarch of the Grand Strand’s Nash family has a Myrtle Beach roadway named for him and now, thanks to the efforts of his children in conjunction with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Marine Artificial Reef Program, an artificial reef has been established in his memory.

The Pop Nash Reef was established Wednesday on a new reef site in the Atlantic Ocean about nine miles east-northeast of the Murrells Inlet jetties, or six miles straight offshore of the Surfside Pier in Surfside Beach.

Four of Nash’s children - Fred, Jr.; Charlie, Skeeter and Bea - were on hand along with spouses, grandchildren and friends Wednesday to witness a barge load of concrete junction boxes, from 4 to 8 feet in height, dropped on the site. Some of the attendees tossed yellow roses in the ocean near the buoy marking the center of the reef site to commemorate the event.

Bob Martore, artificial reef coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, received a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to establish a new reef on the sandy-bottom site, after site surveying and bottom sampling.

We wanted to do something to honor him, and we decided this would be a good way to honor our father. He loved to fish.

Skeeter Nash, son of Fred Nash Sr.

The reef site, Permitted Area 07, or PA 07 - a 400-yard diameter circle - is the latest in the state’s Marine Artificial Reef Program and will be called the Pop Nash Reef.

“We wanted to do something to honor him, and we decided this would be a good way to honor our father,” Skeeter Nash said. “He loved to fish.”

The near-shore waters off the Grand Strand feature a predominantly sandy bottom, devoid of structure that hold fish. The few artificial reefs that dot the area are heavily fished.

“It’s a good way to help the fishermen in the area - there are not too many reefs around,” Skeeter Nash said. “We need another reef and this gives the fishermen another place to fish out there. Sometimes there are 20-30 boats on (Paradise Reef, located three miles east of Murrells Inlet).”

The concrete junction boxes are an excellent start for the reef, but there is plenty of room for more structure.

“This will give us a nice head start on the reef,” Martore said. “I’m sure we’ll be enhancing it in the future.”

This will give us a nice head start on the reef. I’m sure we’ll be enhancing it in the future.

Bob Martore, artificial reef coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Fred Nash, Sr., and his late wife, Agnes, opened Nash’s Grill near Springmaid Beach in 1947 and then built Nash’s Rooms and Apartments in 1952.

He loved to fish in the ocean, and a hard-bottom area just off the beach between the Springmaid Pier and the Myrtle Beach State Park Pier has long been a favorite of the Nash family. They have caught weakfish, black sea bass, red drum and many other species there over the generations.

“He went through the breakers on a little boat and fished that area years ago,” Skeeter Nash recalled of his father.

Starting when they were youngsters, his sons, Fred Jr., Charlie and Skeeter Nash, did the same, and continue to fish the same spot today.

Aside from being a business owner in Myrtle Beach, Nash distinguished himself with an heroic act in the late 1950s.

On Aug. 18, 1958, the 71-year-old Nash rescued an officer from a burning Air Force T-33 aircraft after it crashed into the end of the old Myrtle Beach State Park Pier and landed near Nash’s Grill.

Nash suffered serious burns himself while pulling the officer from the aircraft and extinguishing flames on the officer.

In April, 1959 at the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, Nash received the United States Air Force Exceptional Service Award in Recognition of Distinguished Patriotic Service.

In February 2012, Fred Nash Boulevard, a northward connector off Farrow Parkway, opened in Myrtle Beach.

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