2018 Policy Forum – Managing Shipwrecks

Towards better integration of the interests and responsibilities that affect how we look after maritime heritage

Shipwrecks are often the first thing that comes to mind when people hear about maritime archaeology or underwater cultural heritage (UCH). Although they are important as underwater cultural heritage, shipwrecks are also a focus for lots of other interests. Many activities that might affect the archaeological significance of wreck sites are themselves beneficial – even essential – for the marine environment and society at large. The complexities of managing shipwrecks when faced with all these overlapping interests can be difficult to overcome. Each set of interests has its own regulations and administrative systems. Unfortunately, these frameworks do not always work well together.

In April 2018, the HFF Steering Committee on UCH published a report that set out details often different sectors with interests in shipwrecks in the UK:

  • Commemoration
  • Fishing
  • Heritage
  • International Interests
  • Nature Conservation
  • Navigation Safety
  • Ownership
  • Public and Environmental Risk
  • Recreation
  • Sea-Use

The report recommended various practical measures that could lead to greater recognition of the value of wrecks to different sectors and enable more effective management overall.

The 2018 Policy Forum presented an opportunity to discuss these matters in the light of the new report and its recommendations, in order to start shaping the future management of shipwrecks for the benefit of all.

As at previous events, the Policy Forum explored specific aspects of the management of shipwrecks in the UK to help inform the HFF’s objectives in advancing UCH in the eastern Mediterranean.

A statement was prepared on the basis of the discussions at the Policy Forum, setting out an overarching vision for good management of shipwrecks together with a specific vision for each of the sectors addressed in the Managing Shipwrecks report. The statement can be downloaded using the link below.

Further Information
Managing Shipwrecks: statement on good management (October 2018)
Policy Forum 2018 – Programme 170518
Managing Shipwrecks April 2018 – web