If you love history and scuba diving, why not combine those interests and become involved as a volunteer in the exciting and fascinating field of maritime archaeology? There are many volunteer opportunities for recreational divers of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in learning the special skills of underwater research and shipwreck preservation.
Under the supervision of professional archaeologists, recreational divers are encouraged to pursue their avocational interest in maritime archaeology.
Volunteers bring valuable life skills to nearly every facet of the field including archival research, field survey, site mapping and documentation, boat handling, diving, conservation, project planning, logistics, and fundraising.
Training in the special skills used to record sites routinely includes both classroom and on land practice sessions.
There are a number of organizations that provide activities for public participation in maritime archaeology including training and certification programs for divers and non-divers. This list of organizations and links is a place to start.
Right: Volunteers get training in the basics of ship construction. Photo courtesy Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN).
Most of the organizations are NGOs and/or Non-Profits. Those that are governmental are marked with an asterisk *
Albanian Center for Marine Research: https://www.facebook.com/albaniamarinecenter/
Cleveland Underwater Explorers: http://www.clueshipwrecks.org/index.htm
Diving with a Purpose: https://divingwithapurpose.org/
Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN): http://www.fpan.us/
Institute of Maritime History: https://www.maritimehistory.org/
International Center for Underwater Archeology in Zadar: http://icua.hr/en
*Maryland Maritime Archaeology Program: https://mht.maryland.gov/archeology_underwater.shtml
Maritime Archaeological and Historical Society: https://mht.maryland.gov/archeology_underwater.shtml
Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust: https://www.thisismast.org/education/bad-training.html: https://www.thisismast.org/education/bad-training.html
Maritime Archaeology Survey Team: https://www.ohiomast.org/
Maritime Archaeology Society: https://maritimearchaeological.org/
Nautical Archaeology Society: https://nauticalarchaeologysociety.eu.rit.org.uk/
Nautical Archaeology Society (International): https://nauticalarchaeologysociety.eu.rit.org.uk/international-training-partners
Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project: https://www.rimap.org/
Save Ontario Shipwrecks: https://saveontarioshipwrecks.ca/
*South African Heritage Resources Agency, Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage: https://www.sahra.org.za/maritime-and-underwater-cultural-heritage/
Tanzania Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Development Program: https://www.heritage-activities.org/tanzania-projects
*Underwater Archaeology – Ireland: https://www.archaeology.ie/underwater-archaeology
If you would like to suggest an organization, contact us
Search through the Recreational Diver Heritage Education list, also available for download, and you will surely find a program that will help you get involved.
The Nautical Archaeology Society, an international training organization, has partners worldwide offering courses on a regular basis. To find an international training partner, visit their world training partner location map.
Left: Diver training routinely includes pool work to practice the skills needed to document sites. Photo courtesy FPAN.