Databases of underwater cultural heritage sites

This page contains information on databases and maps of underwater cultural heritage sites elaborated by external institutions. Their accuracy has not been controlled and is not guaranteed by UNESCO.


The MACHU project (Managing Cultural Heritage Under Water) inventories major underwater heritage sites through a GIS based system. It offers

The project has been started for 7 European States, is continuously updated and can be extended to countries that have not yet participate. It contains archaeological and historical information on underwater sites and their environment (including geophysical, geochemical, sedimentological and oceanographic data) and identifies possible threats, including relevant human activities. The database offers full access for heritage managers and limited access for the general public. It offers also a site for scientific data-exchange and a decision-support system (DSS). 

National Databases


  • Australia National Shipwrecks database - Database of Australian shipwrecks by the Government of Australia. It allows users to search for those shipwrecks protected by Commonwealth or State/Territory legislation. The positions of many wrecks are unknown or estimated.
  • New South Wales - Maritime Heritage Online - Developed by the Heritage Branch, Department of Planning is the New South Wales (NSW) agency responsible for administering the historic shipwreck and relics provisions of the NSW Heritage Act, 1977. New South Wales maritime heritage includes Aboriginal sites, shipwrecks, aircraft, ports and harbours in a searchable database, featuring also maps, still images, video clips, archaeological survey reports and activity guides.
  • Western Australian Maritime Museum Shipwreck Database - The database of the Department of Maritime Archaeology at the Western Australian Maritime Museum gives information on Western Australian shipwrecks.
  • The Northern Territory Shipwreck Database (NTSD) - The NTSD of the Northern Territory Government of Australia contains more than 200 shipwrecks, 73 aircraft wrecks and 14 miscellaneous sites in the waters off the coast of the Northern Territory.
  • Tasmanian Shipwreck - In this site are listed eleven shipwrecks that have occurred in the waters surrounding Tasmania during the last two hundred years.



United States of America

  • Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Shipwreck Database - The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary has been working in partnership with the BRIDGE to provide information about important shipwrecks found within the 5 national marine sanctuaries (Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones and Olympic Coast) on the West Coast of the United States.
  • MMS Shipwreck Database - Alaska - The Minerals Management Service (MMS), a bureau in the U.S. Department of the Interior, is the Federal US agency that manages natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on the outer continental shelf. Its shipwreck database provides a compilation of Alaska shipwrecks that have occurred from Russian times (1741) to the present.
  • California State Lands Commission – California Shipwrecks - The website contains articles about shipwrecks in California, pictures of artifacts, underwater videos and an online wreck database.
  • Wisconsin Shipwreck Databases - The US Wisconsin Maritime Trails program and the University of Wisconsin maintain databases of Wisconsin's historic shipwrecks.
  • Minnesota's Historic Shipwrecks - List of Minnesota's Lake-Superior-shipwrecks and other underwater archaeological sites maintained by the Minnesota Historical Society.
  • Underwater Historic Preserves, Vermont, New York - Small list of Lake Champlain shipwrecks offered by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vermont, USA
  • Florida's Underwater Archaeological Preserves - The Division of Historical Resources is within the Department of State, and is the state agency responsible for promoting the culture resources in Florida. It maintains a list of Florida’s has eleven wrecks, designated as underwater preserves.


  • Brasil Mergulho is a public-at-large project encouraging the enjoyment of underwater heritage. It provides divers with inventories, databases and maps on shipwrecks off the Brazilian coast. It also offers valuable historic information and information on legislation.


  • The NAVIS I and NAVIS II projects, European Union - Database of ancient naval archaeology supported by the European Commission (Directorate General X – Information, Communication, Culture, Audiovisual Culture and Audiovisual Policy)


  • Archives of the National Maritime Museum - The National Maritime Museum of Finland (Helsinki) is responsible for all underwater archaeology in Finland, except for Åland. The museum is keeping the national computerised wreck register with more than 1200 wrecks.
  • Åland wreck register - The province of Åland is partly independent from Finland and has its own legislation. The Provincial Museum (Ålands museum) maintains therefore a separate wreck register with about 270 documented wrecks.



  • Shipwreck Inventory of Ireland - The Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU) of Ireland maintains an inventory of recorded shipwrecks in Irish waters. It includes all known wrecks for the years up to and including 1945 and approximately 10,000 records have been compiled and integrated into the shipwreck database thus far. The Inventory archive is available for consultation by prior arrangement in the offices of the Archive Unit.


  • Archeomar Project - The Italian Ministry of Culture coordinates a register of the underwater archaeological heritage in the southern Italian regions, in close collaboration with the Super-intendancies and the police forces. The principal aim of the project is to compile a registry, and position and document the underwater archaeology of the Southern Italian regions Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria with the final goal of improving the management of the archaeological heritage. The project also has the aim of providing all the tools necessary to strengthen the administration of the sites in order to attain the full significance of the sites located.


  • Norwegian Maritime Museum - National Maritime Museum (NSM) in Oslo hosts the wreck register for Norway together with four regional museums, the NTNU, Trondheim, the Maritime Museum in Stavanger, the Maritime Museum in Bergen, and the Tromsø Museum at Tromsø University. Each of the museums is responsible for the wreck register of its region.


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

  • National Archives - National Archives holds some records relating shipping losses, but refers to several other sources for more information on UK shipwrecks.