SB 1070 Modifies procedures for protection of shipwreck sites
Sponsor:Gross Co-Sponsor(s)
LR Number:3182S.02I Fiscal Note:3182-02
Committee:Pensions and General Laws
Last Action:02/10/04 - Hearing Conducted S Pensions & General Laws Committee Journal page:
Effective Date:August 28, 2004
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Current Bill Summary

SB 1070 - This act creates procedures for the protection of historic shipwrecks. All historic shipwreck materials which have been abandoned on lands beneath navigable waters shall belong to the state. The Department of Natural Resources shall be responsible for oversight of the acceptable visitation, study and salvage of historic shipwrecks.

Before salvaging a shipwreck, positive identification of each shipwreck is required. Persons must apply for an exploratory permit from the department which allows the person to search for and identify the precise location of the shipwreck. An exploratory permit is not necessary if the shipwreck has been previously identified. The permit holder shall have one year to demonstrate that the specific shipwreck has been located. After the exploratory permit expires, the person must wait one year before applying for a new exploratory permit for the same shipwreck.

Professional maritime archaeologists must apply for a research permit in order to perform any activity associated with any survey or research project.

The act requires any person wishing to salvage an identified shipwreck to have a salvage permit. The applicant must have some association with a professional maritime archaeologist who directs, on site, all aspects of the proposed excavation. No exploratory or salvage permit shall be issued for shipwrecks in state parks or historic sites.

The state is prohibited from limiting visitation to shipwrecks unless threats are apparent to natural resources, the shipwreck site or visitors to the site. The state must make clear the dangers of diving on submerged shipwrecks. Any person who knowingly take historic shipwreck materials from a shipwreck or destroys or vandalizes a shipwreck is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class D felony for the second or subsequent offense.