Shipwrecks are among the resources protected by the sanctuary for several important reasons. Not only do they provide habitat for a variety of marine life, but they serve as time capsules of our maritime heritage. In addition, many are memorial sites representing the last resting place of fishers and sailors. Although damage caused by incidental traditional fishing operations are exempted from the sanctuary regulation that prohibits the moving, removing, or injury (or any attempt) of any historical resource, this activity has had a significant impact on maritime heritage resources. Sanctuary staff are working with the fishing and diving communities to find solutions to create a safer environment for shipwrecks.
Shipwreck Avoidance Program (SAP)
The Shipwreck Avoidance Program (SAP) is a voluntary initiative that encourages commercial and recreational fishing vessels to avoid historic shipwrecks in the sanctuary. By maintaining a distance of at least 400 feet from each shipwreck, fishing boat captains will have less chance of losing fishing gear, will protect the ecological and historical value of the sites, and preserve the wrecks for safer exploration by divers. A variety of outreach tools are being used to publicize the historic wreck locations as well as some modern wrecks that are active dive sites.
Coordinates for Historic and Modern Shipwrecks in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
|Vessel Name||Status||North Latitude||West Longitude||Depth|
|Unknown||Historic||42 11 07||-70 12 03||19 fathom|
|Unknown||Historic||42 11 52||-70 11 01||20 fathom|
|Unknown||Historic||42 13 50||-70 09 05||27 fathom|
|Unknown||Historic||42 23 42.1794||-70 29 21.9114||48.5 fathom|
|Unknown||Historic||42 25 15.765||-70 28 10.4772||18 fathom|
|Unknown||Historic||42 26 21.1956||-70 24 44.3628||47.5 fathom|
|Unknown||Historic||42 21 32.2122||-70 23 45.132||46 fathom|
|Heroic||Historic||42 22 20.7798||-70 22 13.7604||16 fathom|
|North Star||Modern||42 23 2.004||-70 21 21.6966||16 fathom|
|Patriot||Modern||42 24 15.3606||-70 27 11.8182||16 fathom|
|Josephine Marie||Modern||42 10 55||-70 13 28||16 fathom|
Mooring Buoys for Divers
The sanctuary has worked with the dive community to install mooring buoys at several sites to reduce deterioration of the wrecks from dive boat anchoring. See our dive section for more information about locations.
Marine Debris Removal Program
The sanctuary has worked with fishers to remove lost fishing and lobster gear from the sanctuary seafloor and organized missions with the dive community to remove marine debris from shipwrecks. This unattended ghost gear continues to trap fish, seals, and other types of marine life, while creating an ever-present threat to divers.