Hello and welcome to our community! Is this your first visit?
The 0.001% who recover material illegally give everyone else a terrible name and it would be fab if divers and agencies could work much closer together. All of us care about the marine environment and wrecks but sometimes we are terrible at recognising that each otherís opinions matter!
0.001%? Thats 1 diver in 100,000, or approximately a quarter of one BSAC diver. I would lay a bet that your estimate is out by a factor of at least 1000 times. Are you trying to tell me that only that tiny percentagage ever lift and take home a piece of metal, or other artefact from a wreck? When I started diving the percentage of looters was probably around 25%. We called it recycling which much later became very fashionable.Every piece of copper, brass or iron lifted and made into a new item is helping the enviroment by reducing what needs to be mined and smelted, a very polluting process. In my book better to lift and recycle than leave it to slowly sink into the seabed and be lost forever.
I realise my view may not be very popular, but it does matter, you have just said so yourself!
That is pleasing and reassuring to know, would be helpful to either have put that fact in your opening posting and or on the opeing page to the survey (I did follow the link but because it listed yourselves and one other body I'd not heard of I didn't bother to complete). What we see are so many surveys asking the same questions, or groups working in isolation or not prepared to work with other agencies for the common good. In the end frustrating for all, you get an incomplete picture and we see 'yet another survey of questionable value'.
Originally Posted by AlisonJames
So you're going to go to the middle of the north sea, down to 65m, find every artifact on a wreck, mark it permanently, but without damaging it, the wreck or local environment, in a way that's not going to get washed off by the corrosive fluid and abrasives surrounding it, and a way that a scrap man or antiques dealer wouldn't dare touch?
What sort of drugs are you on, exactly?
Originally Posted by Wibs
When I started diving the average theft rate was also about 25% of the people I knew. Over the years this has fallen considerably and I haven't seen anyone steal anything in a long time. For some wrecks it probably does make sense to recover non-ferrous materials provided they are all declared and nothing of historic significance is smelted down. The worse culprits I can think of no longer dive at all thankfully so hopefully things are much better and it is not just my perception.
Originally Posted by thistlediver
Although my diving days are now behind me I still keep in touch and agree that lifting of scrap/souviners has probably declined considerably since the mid 1970's when I started. The fact is the vast majority of wrecks have little or no historical significance but they do have an owner, whether it be the shipping company or other owner, or the insurers who paid lout for the loss. Unless they wish to report the plundering of their property and can supply evidence of who is responsible than who is going to follow it up?
Originally Posted by Chrisch
Effectively they have abandoned it and it is left littering the seabed. Do wrecked motor vehicles get left by the roadside, or crashed aircraft left on hillsides? No, they are removed even if people have died as a consequence of the accident and the metal eventually recycled. I do agree that wartime wrecks in which service personnel have been lost should be protected though.
New TDF Member
No that would be daft! If this is developed it would be used on only a very small number of protected wreck sites
New TDF Member
Yes exactly .... think smart water that can be used in a marine environment!
I really don't get what you are trying to achieve (well apart from this thread appearing to be little more than fishing exercise for ideas). Surely introducing any chemical trace into the marine environment is a bad idea? and how do you 'mark' buried objects without digging them up? surely if it's a very small number of protected wreck sites the only protection you need is an exclusion zone? or even better engaging with the local diving community and awarding licences to local dive clubs who could agree to act as stewards for the wreck site?
I was diving in the Baltic recently, bells, binnacles and all sorts of interesting spidge littered the wrecks. There wasn't a no dive policy, or any chemical marking of items, just an understanding from the diving community that things should be left in situ and some gentle education and policing of visiting divers by local dive centres. However it's not the lack of spidging that preserves those wrecks it's primarily the environment in which they lie. The baltic is simply not the same environment as the storm tossed west coast of the UK or the heavily trawled North sea.
I suspect deliberate diver damage is the least of the issues facing historic wrecks. I work in the subsea industry, we can't protect wellheads that have 500m exclusion zones and standby vessels from damage by beam trawls or scallop dredgers so I'm not quite sure how smart water will stop historic wrecks from being shredded and dragged around the seabed.
There always seems a bit of a tendency to see what is there now and try to preserve it whilst not really appreciating what has been lost lost over time and accept that documentation may be all you are eventually left with. I've been around long enough to appreciate that wrecks are not static. They are very much in a dynamic state of decay and I have watched many wrecks literally collapse and disappear over time and I doubt much of that process is caused by divers (unless we are talking about the industrial theft of entire wrecks in the south china sea).
I can't help but suspect that the only way to protect a historic wreck for future generations of archaeologists to coo over, is to bury it, and even then quite how you stop marine organisms and chemical reactions caused by immersion in seawater degrading it is beyond me.
We live in different times. What would be good is to find out information about the protected wrecks, their history, the history of who sailed on them, etc. Maybe even a place to 'post' pictures, etc. Would be fantastic to get really good photogrammetery of the wrecks over time.
More importantly it would be nice to know what can and can't be done on a wreck. For example if one came across a spoon or plate; what should one do?
There's a reason there's few old wrecks around, they degrade unless covered over. The WW1 wrecks are breaking up which is a natural process. One of the main reasons a lot of us dive on wrecks is due to the flora and fauna as they slowly turn into a reef.
There's very few divers who would plunder wrecks for industrial salvage. In any case there's fewer modern wrecks -- bloody GPS is ruining our hobby -- and the old ones are degrading. If there was anything particularly valuable on a wreck, non-ferrous metal, it would have been salvaged years ago.
Having said that, it's amazing to dive on a protected or appreciated wreck, such as the Mendi. Staggering amount of really nice stuff left on the bottom (gaslights, valves, etc.) For some reason this has escaped the hammer-wielding, rip the portholes out mob.
Protecting or marking a everything on a wreck is just a fantasy unless you're looking for funding for a dozen Mary Rose museums containing a wreck each.