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Permits

Historic shipwrecks and historic relics are protected under the Historic Shipwreck Act 1981/Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018. The legislation requires a permit to conduct certain activities in relation to underwater cultural heritage.

Direct or indirect impacts to a shipwreck or relic

If you are conducting an activity that may directly or indirectly damage, destroy, interfere with or remove a historic shipwreck or historic relic than you must apply for a permit. This includes commercial or residential development, field research or any other action that may cause damage.

For shipwrecks or relics:

  • In state waters, download and complete this form.
  • In Commonwealth waters, complete this form.

The legislation allows for penalties for impacting a historic shipwreck, aircraft or relic/artefact. In state waters the maximum penalty is $20,000 or imprisonment for 4 years, or both. In Commonwealth waters, the penalties may be higher.

A permit may have strict conditions attached. Where conditions attached to a permit are contravened, heavy penalties may apply. In state waters the maximum penalty is $10,000 or imprisonment for 2 years, or both. In Commonwealth waters, the penalties may be higher.

Protected zones

A protected zone may be declared over historic shipwrecks that are considered to be highly significant or at elevated risk of damage. It is illegal to operate or moor a boat, or conduct underwater activities, within a protected zone without a permit.

There are three protected zones in South Australian waters. To obtain the relevant permit you must complete this form. There are currently no protected zones in Commonwealth waters.

The legislation provides penalties for contravening protected zone regulations. In state waters the maximum penalty is $10,000.

A permit may have strict conditions attached. Where conditions attached to a permit are contravened, penalties may apply. In state waters the maximum penalty is $10,000.

Click here to view form.