The discovery and assessment of historic wreck in the waters around Guernsey can reveal a great deal about the island's maritime history. Divers have an important role to play in adding to this history, and the Museum is keen to work alongside them to learn more about their discoveries.
Shipwrecks around the Bailiwick of Guernsey are protected by the Wreck and Salvage (Vessels and Aircraft) Law, 1986-98. The law describes historic wreck as
- A vessel or aircraft which has lain wrecked for 50 years or more
- Any cargo of such a vessel
- Any cargo or other object lost or abandoned for 50 years or more
The law makes it clear that ownership of historic wreck in Guernsey waters is vested in the States of Guernsey, and does not belong to the finder. If you discover historic wreck, you must report it to the Receiver of Wreck, at Sir Charles Frossard House. You must not tamper with or remove historic wreck from its position, unless you have a licence issued by the States Archaeologist. Objects found away from obvious wreck sites may be brought ashore if they would otherwise be lost or damaged; their location should be carefully noted. All wreck comes under the authority of the Receiver of Wreck until arrangements are made for its disposal.
Further details on the operation of the Wreck and Salvage Law, and an application form for a licence to dive on historic wreck can be downloaded in the PDFs below: