Federal Laws that Relate to the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage

1. Abandoned Shipwreck Act 1988
2. Sunken Military Craft Act (2004)
3. National Historic Preservation Act (1966)
4. Archaeological Resources Preservation Act (1979)
5. Antiquities Act (1906)
6. National Marine Sanctuaries Act (1972)
7. Titanic Maritime Memorial Act (1986)

State Underwater Cultural Heritage Laws

Each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands has a unique program for managing its underwater cultural heritage.

The National Park Service Archeology Program has compiled a comprehensive list of legislation and guides for each state.

Guides and Resources

Ocean Law Search database (statutes, summaries, legislative histories)

Archeology Laws – A Guide for Professionals

Professional Tools for Archeology

Federal Programs and Departments Responsible for Underwater Cultural Heritage

National Park Service Archeology Program

National Park Service Submerged Resources Center

Naval History & Heritage Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB)

NOAA Marine Sanctuaries Program