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Canadian Heritage

Discussion in 'Canadian Wreck Preservation' started by The Chairman, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    61,648
    30,064
    We have heard that there is a move among the Canadian Government to preserve the wrecks within their borders. While we applaud the motivation, there have been some concerns voiced over these wrecks becoming off limits. This Forum is to discuss what ScubaBoardians feel about the impending rules, and also to list them here. This is a no trolling zone: if you feel there is a troll, please use the "Report" button to alert us. There is no need for any public address on it.

    I have also asked the editor of "Wreck Diving Magazine" to participate with us. Hopefully he will lend us some insight and clout as we try to help shape these regulations so that we can preserve the wrecks and our rights to visit them.
     
  2. Kennedydive

    Kennedydive Contributor

    221
    0
    I'm really not liking the blanket clause they mention in their legislation. They want to include everything so that they don't have to use resources to put a particular wreck on the list. This way everything is on the list from 50 years and older.
    I'm all for preserving wrecks that have a) historical significance. b) Sensitive issues. or (c) A wreck that is in fantastic condition and is worth preserving for others to see.
    Some of our wrecks are spread out over 2 square miles. Beat up by the violent ocean and currents. All the schooners have been eaten away by sea worms and if you are lucky you may find an anchor or an engine if it had one. Other wrecks have been commercially salvaged after the war by very violent methods using explosives and a claw grab. Most of the wrecks from 1850's to date we know everything about them. We have ship building plans, cargo manifests and sometimes due to divers we know why they sank.
    During the meeting we had in Halifax I was told that if a wreck was deemed not a heritage wreck than it could be taken off the list. I worry that once it is included than they would never dare admit that it was not a Heritage wreck and also even if they did, if their reasoning for the blanket cause was to avoid the expense, time and resources than wouldn't taking a wreck off the list require these same resources? This leads me to believe that they just tried to blow smoke up my as#.
    Another issue is in the idea of permits. Who's to stop them from issuing permits just because you don't hold a degree or have the two letters Dr. before your name? This would also require several positions in the government to be created to issue the permits all across Canada. Although I'm in favor of jobs being created, to try to convince the everyday Joe who could give a rats as# about what is below the water to give up his hospitals, road maintenance along with every other cutback the gov't has done in the last ## of years would be a feat in itself.
    As divers become more educated their views are changing. 20 years ago I'm sure the opinion of salvage in the Great Lakes was different than it is now. Instead of forcing policy down the throats of divers they should educate them and work with them to create a resource with numbers that could not be achieved without recreational divers. Nova Scotia does not have a single U/W archeologist on staff. The Gov't does not have the money or resources to map and investigate the 15,000-20,000 wrecks that liter our shoreline. Educate the divers and work with them don not push them away with legislation and red tape. When it comes right down to it if you try to force the divers they will just do it anyway because there is no way they can enforce the legislation. There isn't even enough police/RCMP to do their job on land and with all the cutbacks in the Coast Guard there is no way they can patrol the seas to stop a couple of divers. On top of that who finds the wrecks? If divers are not welcomed on wrecks and they come across one that no one knows about then why would the report it?
    Last but not least if it becomes too much of a pain to dive these wrecks than people will cut back, stop or not start diving. This will affect not only the divers but the dive shops, charter boats, the gear manufactures. Look at all the money tech divers spend on gear. If you are not cave diving or wall diving than what other purpose id there to dive deep? Wrecks!
    Thanks for giving me an opportunity to voice my opinion and I believe that every diver in Canada and the US should voice their opinion for or against it. This could be a crossroad and what we do, say or NOT say may make a difference in how diving recreationally is effected in years to come.
    Jason
     
  3. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    61,648
    30,064
  4. Kennedydive

    Kennedydive Contributor

    221
    0
  5. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    61,648
    30,064
    Thanks KD!
     
  6. Ontario Diver

    Ontario Diver Contributor

    1,311
    7
    A whole bunch of points.... Let me address some of them

    The blanket clause is there precisely because they (Parks Canada and Transport Canada) do not have the staff to check every wreck that they are told about. Without a blanket clause a newly discovered wreck would be considered open until some government body is made aware, has a meeting, and publishes an order to close it.

    Canada has the ability right now to declair wrecks as heritage sites. Parks Canada has done this already on the wrecks that they are investigating in the St. Lawrence. Ontario and most other provinces have similar acts which don't work at all. British Columbia has a blanket clause at 2 years (IIRC) and Austrailia has 75 years.

    It is not useful to discuss which wrecks are protected without knowing what the protections (and limitations are).

    If there is not limit on non-intrusive, low impact, recreational diving for protected wrecks - then I would suggest that as active divers we would want the blanket coverage so we would have more wrecks to dive.

    Heritage wrecks are not just about archeology. They may be culturally or historically significant as well and deserve protection. A good example is the Empress of Ireland. Yes we have plans and pictures, log books and builder's specs... but she is still a cultural icon.

    You are correct, that if the process is to put the wreck onto a list (rather than it starting there through a blanket clause) then it will probably never come off. Although unless diving is prohibited - don't we want more wrecks protected than not?


    The UNESCO backbone and Parks Canada agree with you. Obviously, if the purpose of the act is to protect wrecks some level of permit will be required for the archeological survey of such wrecks and the excavation if such is desired. Please note that one of the priciples of the current discussion paper is that in situ preservation is the first option to be considered. Parks Canada relies heavily on amateur archeoligists (usually having taken the NAS course) to do thier work. There aren't enough PhDs running around to get anything done.

    Yes, very much. Same as in BC. Same as on the East Coast I would think.

    You are right again. There is no way to police wrecks, force people to stop diving on them, or report new wrecks. But there is an opportunity for a new set of regulations to come out to act as a single point of reference, to be the basis of education and to confirm the right to dive and protect the underwater heritage


    Cool Jason, you can dive with me anytime - or hang out over a few to swap wreck stories.
     
  7. Kennedydive

    Kennedydive Contributor

    221
    0
    I understand where you are coming from. My major concern it once legislation is in place then the power is all in the hands of people who sit in offices making decisions on the opinions of few and the recreational diver will come out with the stinky end of the stick. If we are promised one thing to get rules in place and then they turn around and say, "Sorry no more diving on wrecks period. Or thanks for letting us know about this wreck you spent all this time and money looking for you'll need a permit to dive it now. I'm sorry you can't get a permit unless you are a certified level 3.”
    I have little trust in government promises.
    As far as diving with you Thanks. The invitation is open on both ends. If you are ever down this neck of the woods I can show you some pretty neat dive sites.

    JK
     
  8. haha49

    haha49 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: British Columbia
    221
    7
    well the law is full of loop holes are you diving a wreck if you just happen to swim over it.. but in a way it makes sence as there are looters that will loot a ship till there is nothing left..
     
  9. haha49

    haha49 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: British Columbia
    221
    7
    if you goto a wreak thats off limits chances are if you dont steal anything they wont even care its more to stop looting..
     
  10. VooDooGasMan

    VooDooGasMan Solo Diver

    2,014
    213
    In 1970 there was a book in our libary called underwater archaeology: treasures beneath the sea by ROY PINNEY. Anthropoligist, most would remember roy in wild kingdom the camera man.
    Roy was one of the first cave explorers, He also did some of the first underwater photography on excavated archaeology sites.
    I could'nt really read being only five, But Knew the guy on tv made the book.

    My mother read the underwater world to me in our libary, in the back you could buy treasure maps . As soon as they showed up in the mail they were on my wall.
    We lived on lake superior, Now most treasure is in the carribean, Mom always said those ships were comming here and the pirates could of took there loot and get a job as a sailor.

    Gave me good hopes, In 1972 on christmas morning I opened up a book.
    Treasures in the sea (Books for young explorers) national geographic society.
    Jim church, john chocran and some others photographs were in here.

    The first page has a kid holding a coin with a mask on his head in my eyes that was me.

    Up until about five years ago the ONLY THING people asked is, Did you find any treasure,
    what do you dive for treasure. Now they say what do you see down there.

    A diver himself can only cover very little of the world in a lifetime. The goverment needed divers to help cause, Well lets face it theres alot of water out there.
    All the wrecks we found in lake superior were by fluke on the depth sounder on our way to a known wreck. So yes the thrill was to bring back a trophy.

    The problem now is, That is the plan with divers now, with better equipment, tri-mix so you can tweak your narcosis for working underwater, rebreathers. sonars.

    Now independent
    divers have huge boats, tuggs, They spend time and money and want to do the wreck preservation, but sometimes have to pull anchor and leave the site cause they always have there eye on the sky. Planes will fly over and get the coordinates, and now you have modern day pirates.

    I agree there needs to be a solution to help, The problem will be there for ever. Most of us and for the next 20 years will always be fascinated of finding treasure.
    I dont agree when just awhile back taking a bell, replacing with grave names. Thats just a loop hole for comming up of a way to rob a ship legally and get credit, so to make yourself reconized to the underwaterworld.

    If i ever find gold, silver, gems and jewelery, YOU BET MY SWEET ASS THERE MINE.
    I HAVE DREAMED ABOUT IT ALL MY LIFE.

    For the ships leave them be as they are. ( I understand the human race, this solution will be hard)
     

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