Heritage Victoria manages historic shipwreck sites and relics in Victorian coastal and inshore waters. We also manage shore-based maritime archaeological sites like jetties, piers, shipbuilding sites and defence heritage.
Report a wreck
Whether you find a shipwreck when diving or fishing, through hours of painstaking research or unexpectedly discover one during unrelated activities, don’t disturb it in any way. Artefacts on historic shipwrecks and located underwater are protected under law.
|In coastal waters||Unless the shipwreck is very
well known, assume that its position isn’t officially recorded. |
Contact Heritage Victoria immediately so that we can inspect the site. Complete and send in the Wreck reporting form (DOC, 112.0 KB) and we'll let you know the next steps.
In most cases we won't stop you visiting the wreck. We’ll investigate the wreck and its history; we encourage you to help us and be involved.
We’ll only place a Protected Zone controlling diving and fishing around particularly fragile or highly significant wrecks. Of around 650 wrecks in the Victorian Heritage Register, only nine have Permit-entry Protected Zones.
|On shore||Much of our history is buried
beneath the sand and the water and sometimes tides and rough weather can
expose items previously hidden from view.|
If you see something, don't disturb what you see.
Take photos and if you have a smart phone you might be able to get GPS coordinates as well. Contact us with the information and if it's maritime related, we’ll come down and inspect the site.
We welcome and encourage you to help us with research and surveying.
Shipwreck stories and oral history
Explore Victoria’s shipwrecks without getting wet!
Read about some of Victoria's shipwrecks and view photographs of the items found on board at the Google Cultural Institute
Get up close and personal with 3D digital models of items in our collection including artefacts recovered from the wrecks of Loch Ard, Isabella Watson and City of Launceston.
Discover 21 fantastic shipwreck sites around Victoria's coast with the Shipwreck dive sites discovery trail each with a history of the shipwreck and dive information sheet (archived in Pandora).
Learn about famous Victorian shipwrecks:
- SS City of Launceston
- Mahogany ship
- Loch Ard bell
Get involved in maritime archaeology
Heritage Victoria has a long history of working with both students and volunteers on maritime archaeology projects.
This internationally accredited course is licensed to the Australasian Institute of Maritime Archaeology (AIMA) from the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) in the UK. The Australian course is made up of two main parts, which become more intensive as students progress through the program.
Heritage Victoria teaches the program in various locations around Melbourne and regional Victoria on demand.
Part 1 is a two-day (usually a weekend) course that equips participants with the basics of underwater archaeology. There is some theory on legislation, history of maritime archaeology and search and survey techniques. Students participate in a simulated underwater survey (on land) and draw up their results. After passing a short quiz, students will receive their internationally recognised certificate.
More information is available at AIMA/NAS
We’re always interested in updating the information we have on Victorian shipwrecks.
If you’re visiting a wreck site we would love to know what you've seen regarding the wreck and its condition:
The maritime program involves conducting site inspections and surveys of shipwrecks. To get involved with these diving projects, you will need:
- Australian recognised diving certification
- current recreational diving medical from a registered doctor
- completed volunteer declaration form (DOC 167.0 KB)
- AIMA/NAS Part 1 qualification is desirable
If you aren't a diver, we’re always looking for volunteers to help with desktop research projects. This type of research is just as important as the information gleaned from diving as the location of many wrecks is often hidden in the archives.
Register your interest via email: email@example.com.