Divers and the Underwater Cultural Heritage
The Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage does expressly encourage responsible non-intrusive access to observe or document such heritage in situ. This shall create public awareness, appreciation, and protection. The Convention does however discourage access where it is incompatible with the proper protection and management of the concerned sites.
Leisure divers and non-professional or professional divers interested in the enjoyment of submerged archaeological sites are an important public for the enjoyment of underwater heritage. They can also become the guardians of certain sites and be a valuable help to national authorities.
There is an estimate of some 15 Million divers worldwide. For them UNESCO has adopted the Code of Ethics for Diving on Submerged Archaeological Sites. It shall ensure the respect for submerged heritage by each individual diver worldwide.
Equal to the protection ethics already widely accepted for natural sites and ocean environment, divers are encouraged to angage in future also for the preservation of the submerged heritage that is before all others theirs.