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Applying for Licences for Protected Wreck Sites

Anyone can apply for a licence to dive on a Protected Wreck Site.

Anyone who wants to dive on a historic wreck in English waters, which has been designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973, should complete the appropriate form.

For sites in Welsh and Northern Irish waters, forms can be obtained from:

For Scotland, please note that Historic Marine Protected Areas have replaced section 1 of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 for the designation of historic shipwrecks in Scottish territorial waters.

For more information see Historic Scotland's website.

Applying to dive on a Protected Wreck Site

When an application is received it is considered by Historic England, who will in turn recommend to the Secretary of State whether or not a licence should be granted.

You can find out more about applying to dive on a protected wreck site by reading Accessing England's Protected Wreck Sites: Guidance for Divers and Archaeologists 2015 available to download from below:

Accessing England's Protected Wreck Sites

Accessing England's Protected Wreck Sites

Published 30 October 2015

These guidelines are intended to support individuals or groups wishing to access and/or develop projects on wreck sites designated under Section 1 of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 in the English Territorial Sea.

Learn more

Historic England may also recommend that certain conditions are attached.

Geophysical survey

Most geophysical survey projects will not require a licence under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. However, Historic England would ask that people planning such projects notify us of their intentions and the likely dates of any survey beforehand.

You can find a link to the form to do this below. This helps to ensure that all stakeholders for a site are aware of the planned work and avoids operations occurring simultaneously. There are a small number of cases where a licence might be required, for example during sector scanning sonar survey work there is the requirement to place a frame on the seabed and this would require a license under the Protection of Wrecks Act. If you are unsure, or would like to discuss your planned work, then please consult Historic England.

If you need any help with your application please contact Alison James at Historic England, telephone 07770 736095 or email: