Explore Queensland's historic underwater heritage

Entering a protected zone

Underwater cultural heritage sites are highly vulnerable and can be easily damaged through direct and indirect contact. It is illegal to interfere, damage or remove artefacts from an underwater cultural heritage site.

The Australasian Underwater Cultural Heritage Database provides information about which sites are in protected zones. There are 11 protected zones in Queensland. To dive these sites you must obtain a free permit to enter the protected zone.

View larger image Dive guides are available for the sites above. Enlarge image
Dive guides are available for the sites above

Dive guides

Since the 18th century, more than 1400 ships are believed to have been wrecked along the Queensland coastline. Every one of these wrecks is an irreplaceable archaeological site which can tell us much about the lives of past generations of Queenslanders and others who visited our shores.

Some of these wrecks have become popular dive sites. Visitors are welcome to enjoy Queensland’s maritime heritage but are reminded that it is illegal to interfere with these fragile sites.

In Australia all shipwrecks and their associated relics that are older than 75 years are protected by law.

View larger image Map of dive sites on the Great Barrier Reef. Enlarge image
Dive guides are available for the sites above

These dive guides have been developed for divers to discover the stories about our local underwater maritime heritage and be informed about the history, locations, conditions, visibility, biology and responsibilities as divers on shipwreck sites.