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Under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 6, sections 179-180, and Chapter 91, section 63, BUAR is charged with the responsibility of encouraging the discovery and reporting, as well as the preservation and protection, of underwater archaeological resources. Generally, those resources are defined as abandoned property, artifacts, treasure troves, and shipwrecks that have remained unclaimed for over 100 years, or exceed a value of $5,000, or are judged by BUAR to be of historical value. The Commonwealth holds title to these resources and retains regulatory authority over their use. BUAR's jurisdiction extends over the inland and coastal waters of the state. See the BUAR Statute and Related Laws (PDF, 140 KB).
No person may remove, displace, damage or destroy any underwater archaeological resource except in conformity with permits issued by BUAR. Permit requirements and standards are outlined in the BUAR Regulations (312 CMR 2.0-2.15)
Laws related to scuba diving in Massachusetts waters:
Scuba divers and skin divers; access to Commonwealth tidelands - Beach Access: MGL C. 91, Section 10D
Scuba divers; display of diver's flag required - Dive Flag Requirement: C.90B, section 13A (dive flag)