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Protected Wreck Sites

protected Wreck Sites

Moving towards a new way of managing England's historic environment

England's Protected Wreck Sites comprise the remains of the nation's most important historic wrecks and their contents.

Wreck sites may contain the remains of vessels, their fittings, armaments, cargo and other associated objects and deposits. They may merit legal protection if they contribute significantly to our understanding of our maritime past on account of their historical, archaeological, or artistic importance. The Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 allows the Government to designate, by order, an important wreck site to prevent uncontrolled disturbance, and Historic England to develop research, education and access initiatives to raise awareness of, and encourage involvement in, these wreck sites.

This leaflet explains how and why wreck sites are protected and includes a number of case studies.


  • What are England's Protected Wreck Sites?
  • How are historic wrecks chosen?
  • How do wreck sites become protected?
  • Who is involved?
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Case studies
  • Contact and application information

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Product Code: 51677


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