Diving trails

© Florida Bureau. Shipwreck plaque in an underwater diving trail, Florida.

The 2001 Convention encourages the responsible public access to underwater cultural heritage, as for intstance ancient shipwrecks. Many shipwreck trails for dives have been created. Some examples:

Old Caesarea Diving Center (Israel)

Old Caesarea Diving Center is the oldest Israeli diving centre located along the Mediterranean coast. Situated in the midst of the Caesarea National Park, it provides access to the ancient ruins of Sebastos, Caesarea’s sunken harbour. Herod’s plan in building Sebastos was to create in his kingdom – Judea – a major port for the transit trade of luxury goods in the Mediterranean Sea at a time when demand for this kind of product rose considerably. First large scale artificial harbour in history, the biggest and most modern harbour in the whole Roman Empire at the time, Sebastos started sinking soon after completion and progressively fell into oblivion. Created by late Pr. Avner Raban, the underwater trails allow to discover the remains of this harbour unique of its kind.

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Florida Maritime Heritage Trail (United States)

The Florida Maritime Heritage Trail is a collection of sites and places along the coast representing Florida’s strong ties to the sea over thousands of years. These sites are open to the public and organized by themes: coastal communities, coastal environments, coastal forts, lighthouses, historic ports and historic shipwrecks, each represented by a poster and a brochure. Visitors are encouraged to explore the sunken ships on the Trail as an opportunity to discover these submerged records of maritime history.

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Nordic Blue Parks (Sweden)

Nordic Blue Parks is a new concept that combines underwater nature and cultural trails. The objectives of this one year pilot project  led by a Finish state company – Metsähallitus – is to formulate criteria and guidelines for sustainable blue trails and set up trails to test the concept. The project uses the existing underwater nature and cultural trails as examples, such as Sweden’s Dalarö Blue Park. The archipelago, located southeast of Stockholm, contains many well-preserved shipwrecks from the 17th and 18th century. Accompanied by licensed guides, visitors can access the wrecks, either diving or sailing.

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Maritime Heritage Trails (Australia)

Australia’s network of shipwreck trails is one of the largest efforts in public education and management of submerged cultural resources in the world. Shipwrecks are a major part of the maritime heritage of such an isolated country. Since 1976, the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act helps protect and conserve Australia’s underwater cultural heritage to ensure they can be enjoyed by the public and studied by researchers. Delivered through the Historic Shipwreck Program, the Act is administered in collaboration between the Commonwealth and the States. A total of nearly forty maritime heritage trails are now accessible to the public along the coast of Australia. Information is available through site markers on land or under water, brochure or websites.

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See for more trails here.

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