Apply for a Wreck Investigation Licence

You will need a Wrecks Investigation Licence from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to conduct archaeological and scientific examinations of historic wrecks in Bermuda. Applications are reviewed by the Historic Wrecks Authority (HWA).

There are three classes of licence that can be applied for:

  1. Pre-disturbance survey licence
  2. Licence to excavate on an open wreck
  3. Licence to excavate on a closed wreck.

Licence renewal applications will not be considered unless a field report has been submitted to the HWA.

Please ensure that licences for field school activities have been granted before commitments are made to students and local hosting institutions.

Requirements to apply for a licence

  1. Applications should be submitted a least five months in advance of the start of the project. The earlier the applications are received the easier it is to provide feedback or address any complications that may arise.
  2. Applicants must be in good standing before the Historic Wrecks Authority will consider a new application or renewal. All obligations under previous licences issued need to have been met.
  3. A separate application needs to be made for each wreck, site or survey.

You must submit all of the following information along with your application:

  1. Specifications of the area to be covered by the licence and demarcation of the site
  2. Description of the surrounding environment of the site
  3. The objectives of the project
  4. The methods and techniques to be employed
  5. The composition, qualifications and experience of the project team
  6. Documentation of the project
  7. The field stabilization and conservation of the artefacts
  8. An undertaking to provide a copy of the records of the project to the Custodian of Historic Wrecks within six months of completion of the project
  9. A letter stating that all activities taking place under a license should not involve unnecessary risks and must conform to recognized safe operational practice for the type of work being carried out
  10. A letter releasing the Government of Bermuda from any liability that may arise from the project
  11. Registration details and description of support vessels
  12. Contact details for owner and/or boat pilot

About the Historic Wrecks Authority (HWA)

The HWA was established to preserve, protect and safeguard Bermuda’s underwater cultural heritage by making provisions for the classification of wrecks and to control the archaeological and scientific examination of historic wrecks.

The HWA consists of a chairman and seven members, appointed by the minister. Members are seen by the minister to represent Bermuda’s interests related to scientific research, cultural resource management, tourism, diving or dive boat operations, and education.