By joining Wreck Spotters, you will assist the Heritage Branch in quickly responding to newly reported shipwreck sites, occasional appearances caused by storms and beach scouring, and in monitoring known sites.
The program’s main area of focus is the New South Wales coastal zone, i.e. the area one kilometre landward, and three nautical miles seaward, of the mean high water mark (for information on how the state is managing this zone, refer to the NSW Coastal Policy 1997).
Approximately half of our known wrecking events have occurred within this coastal region.
In many cases the shipwrecks or remains associated with them become visible on a random basis, after sometimes remaining buried by sand for periods exceeding 10-20 years.
NSW has the largest accumulation of shipwreck sites of any other State or Territory in Australia, and approximately 27% of the national total. Almost 270 of the estimated 1800 Historic Shipwreck sites have now been located. The extent of this resource reflects the ‘first state’s’ strategic importance, historic settlement patterns, the volume and frequency of maritime activity along its shores, and importantly, the increasing popularity of recreational SCUBA diving.
New South Wales also has one of the largest coastlines in Australia. At over one thousand seven hundred kilometres in extent, this equates to one Historic Shipwreck for every kilometre of coast!
How Can You Help?
The large geographical area and the wide spread of potential heritage sites makes the role of local Wreck Spotters crucial to the management of maritime and underwater cultural heritage in NSW.
Wreck Spotters can offer a rapid response to newly observed sites and provide a quick assessment. By forwarding this information to the Heritage Branch’s maritime team, the need for further assessment can be then be considered, together with appropriate protective measures.
In many cases local Wreck Spotters may be able to complete the required documentation, and make a rapid site assessment without direct Heritage Branch participation, on the condition that the data is sent to the Heritage Branch for inclusion in the public record.
Images: Keilawarra wrecked 1886, North Solitary Island NSW by Wreck Spotter Mark Spencer www.markspencer.com.au
For more information contact:
NSW Department of Planning
Locked Bay 5020, PARRAMATTA NSW 2124.
Ph: (02) 9873 8533.