The effort to sink a memorial reef in deep water offshore has gotten a boost from the South Carolina Governor’s Cup board of directors.

The cup donated $50,000 to the effort, the largest contribution the 9-year-old South Carolina Memorial Reef Committee has received so far.

The committee, made up largely of billfishing families, wants to create the reef in protected waters to help foster mid-depth fish such as migratory billfish.

The $450,000 reef would be made up of two barges with welded-on “vertical structures” such as a 150-foot high crane and cellphone towers, said Wallace Jenkins, of S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Jenkins works with the Governor’s Cup tournament.

The reef would be sunk 350 feet deep. As a deepwater reef in a marine protected area, it would be the first of its kind in the region.

Committee members want the reef not only for marine conservation but “a lot of them have lost family members,” Jenkins said. They want the reef as a place to go to remember them and potentially bury remains.

The non-profit Governor’s Cup board, organizer of an annual billfishing tournament, has made more than $300,000 in contributions from tournament proceeds.