Protected Wreck Sites
The Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 allows the Secretary of State to designate a restricted area around a wreck to prevent uncontrolled interference. These protected areas are likely to contain the remains of a vessel, or its contents, which are of historical, artistic or archaeological importance.
Why protect wreck sites?
- The sites can hold information about ships, mercantile trade, the lives of sailors and passengers, and society as a whole.
- Modern practices, such as dredging or gravel extraction, can be destructive to the seabed which means that certain zones need to be safeguarded.
- Marine spatial planning benefits from the clarity of clearly identified significance, so that fitting protections can take place.
- Designation can help broaden public appreciation of England's maritime heritage.
Access to protected wreck sites
You can apply to visit protected wreck sites. Access is monitored through a system of licensing administered through Historic England.