Start now on the English Heritage website
If you want to dive on or near a wreck that’s legally protected, you must get a licence from the protective body for that part of the UK.
You’ll need a licence if you:
- interfere with, damage or remove a part of the wreck or any historical object (known as an ‘artefact’) from the wreck
- dive or carry out a salvage operation on the wreck or remove historical objects from the seabed nearby
- allow anything to fall and lie on the seabed that could damage the wreck, destroy the site or block access to it
You’ll only get a licence if you:
- are qualified and experienced in diving and carrying out salvage operations on wrecks
- have the right equipment that’s appropriate for the kind of wreck you want to work on
- have a genuine reason for being in the area around the wreck
A licence lasts between 6 months and 1 year.
You can only anchor on a wreck when you or your boat are in danger.
Licences you can apply for
When you apply you must specify which of the following licences you want:
- a visitor licence
- a survey licence
- a recovery licence
- an excavation licence
How to apply
You can apply for a licence from English Heritage in England.
The minimum information you’ll need to give is:
- your diving qualifications and experience
- details of 2 referees
- which diving Code of Practice you’ll be using
- details of other divers that will be working with you
Fines and penalties
You can be fined up to £5,000 if you:
- dive, dig, take away a historical object or anchor near a designated wreck without a licence
- dive on or near a wreck that by law is ‘dangerous’