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Ships & Boats Selection Guide

The remains of ships and boats which meet the criteria for national protection may be designated as Protected Wreck Sites, though nationally important remains may also be scheduled.

For historic wreck sites, the protection system has been in place since 1973 and operates under The Protection of Wrecks Act.

Iona II, built in 1863 as a fast ferry but later used as a blockade runner, allegedly to run guns and supplies for the Confederate Forces in the American Civil War. Wrecked off Lundy, North Devon. © Crown copyright, taken by Wessex Archaeology.
Iona II, built in 1863 as a fast ferry but later used as a blockade runner, allegedly to run guns and supplies for the Confederate Forces in the American Civil War. Wrecked off Lundy, North Devon. © Crown copyright, taken by Wessex Archaeology.

What the guide covers

The test for designation is historical, archaeological or artistic importance, with the final decision to designate being taken by government (the Department for Culture, Media and Sport). The selection guide gives detailed guidance about what may be eligible for designation.

It gives a brief overview of the types of vessels covered in the guide, the present state of designation and addresses other forms of recognition and protection.

The second half of the document sets out specific considerations for assessing ships and boats for protection. A select bibliography gives suggestions for further reading.

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Ships and Boats: Prehistory to Present

Ships and Boats: Prehistory to Present

Published 22 May 2012

A guide to outline the selection criteria used when designating ships and boats in the archaeological environment.

Introductions to Heritage Assets

The ships and boats selection guide is supported by two Introductions to Heritage Assets which set out our understanding of the development of ships and boats from the earliest times to 1950.

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