BUAR - Underwater Archaeological Preserves

Find information on sites designated as Underwater Archaeological Preserves by the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources (BUAR).

BUAR is the sole trustee of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts's underwater cultural heritage. Under Massachusetts General Laws, BUAR is charged with encouraging the discovery and reporting, as well as the preservation and protection, of underwater archaeological resources.

Where, in the judgment of BUAR, an underwater archaeological resource, because of its substantial archaeological or historical value, is best left the permanent property of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, BUAR may declare the site to be an Underwater Archaeological Preserve. In such case, any disruption of the resource is expressly prohibited, except as specifically provided under a special use permit for historical or scientific purposes. Any and all materials collected in an Underwater Archaeological Preserve will remain the permanent property of the Commonwealth.

Recreational diving activities in Underwater Archaeological Reserves, with the exception of artifact collection or other activities restricted by law, do not require a permit from BUAR. However, any major disruption or even causal artifact collection on the site is prohibited. The intent of creating an Underwater Archaeological Preserves is to recognize the historical importance of the cultural resources contained and to preserve such sites for the continued enjoyment of the public. The recreational diving community is encouraged to protect these sites for the continued enjoyment of all.

The List of Underwater Archaeological Preserves is open to modification. BUAR invites interested parties to suggest changes, provide information, or make comment on this list. See the BUAR procedures for nominating and approving Underwater Archaeological Preserves (PDF, 98 KB) for details on the process and the nomination form for an Underwater Archaeological Preserve (PDF, 58 KB) to make a nomination. In addition, Underwater Archaeological Preserves may become member sites of the National System of Marine Protected Areas. Membership in the national system does not restrict or change the Commonwealth's management of any Underwater Archaeological Preserve.

All dives are conducted at your own risk. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts accepts no responsibility for loss of any kind, including personal injury or property damage. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts assumes no liability for inaccuracies in dive information contained in these pages including site locations and dive conditions.

Descriptions of the shipwreck and site are given for the following Underwater Archaeological Preserves:

Shipwrecks and sites currently under public consideration for designation as Underwater Archaeological Preserves are:

  • There are currently no pending nominations under consideration by BUAR.

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