No person may remove, displace, damage, or destroy any underwater archaeological resource except in conformity with permits issued by the Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR). The three types of permits are:
- Reconnaissance Permits - For the non-destructive inspection and identification of underwater archaeological resources (characterized by minimum site disturbance).
- Excavation Permits - To uncover and/or remove underwater archaeological resources through the use of disruptive investigation techniques
- Special Use Permits (restricted to qualified archaeologists) - For environmental review, public planning, and scientific research projects.
Permittees range from individual sport divers to corporate ventures. Permit requirements and standards are outlined in the Board's Regulations ( 312 CMR 2.0-2.15 ).
To deal with certain types of artifact discoveries, the Board's regulations provide an exemption from the permit process for isolated finds and exempted sites . In order to obtain title to an isolated find, an Isolated Find application form , along with a map indicating the location of the find, must be submitted to the Board. There is no application fee for an isolated find.