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Thread: (UK Eyes only) Do you care about the proposed changes in UK Wreck Legislation?

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    Exclamation (UK Eyes only) Do you care about the proposed changes in UK Wreck Legislation?

    (Note: This is aimed at those living in the UK)

    You may or may not be aware that right now that there are moves afoot to change the laws regarding wrecks in UK waters, their management and protection.

    A consultation period has been and gone, with hardly a murmour in the diving media. We are now at the review stage, where two Working Parties are to come up with proposals. These proposals, once put through another consultation period, will go through and become Law.

    This is not about wargraves and mortal remains. That is covered in the MOD Act and isn't up for discussion.

    However, how would you feel if you weren't allowed to dive on any wreck over 50 years old? How would you feel if you could never raise a ship's bell? How would you feel if you had to apply for a licence to dive your favourite wreck?

    These are some of the internet rumours doing the rounds. They are very unlikely to happen, but...they could.

    "Surely the Working Parties have diver representation on them?"

    You'd think so. But first and foremost anyone who happens to be a diver on the party was chosen for being an archaeologist. Even the BSAC reps. They do not represent "diver" interests per se. Neither is there any representation of the diving industry - skippers, shop owners, manufacturers or instructors.
    More worrying is that the diving agencies contacted are primarily club and non-technical-related. This of course ignores the fact that the majority of divers who do visit wrecks to recover artifacts are in fact technical, and as likely as not, not diving with a club.

    As you read this, what are your thoughts? Are you happy to sit back and hope that sense will prevail? Would you like to understand more about why this is happening? Would you like a say in what is happening?

    Would you mind doing just one thing?

    Please follow this link and and add your vote to the poll.

    If you want to discuss this then please do so here, on RBW.

    If you vote, then we have an idea of your feelings. If people care, then it will be worth persuing inclusive diver representation.

    Many thanks.



    (With Stuart's kind permission. Any inaccuracies are my own.)
    Last edited by Mdemon; 7th March 2006 at 11:12.

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    Re: (UK Eyes only) Do you care about the proposed changes in UK Wreck Legislation?

    Is there an official body we can contact to make our views known? Ideally by email.

    Neil

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    Re: (UK Eyes only) Do you care about the proposed changes in UK Wreck Legislation?

    I very rarely dive in the sea so it makes no real direct difference to me either way. On the other hand, it has quite a big indirect effect as it would probably do massive damage to the diving industry and its infrastructure. Having to travel 40 or 50 miles for a fill rather than 4 miles isn't a good prospect.

    On the other hand, would a ban on raising "artefacts" be that bad? Considering that most artefacts are merely trophies and sit in divers' sheds and mantlepieces is that such a great loss? How many divers are actually bringing portholes, etc., up for their archaeological merit?

    More stupid legislation by a stupid government.

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    Re: (UK Eyes only) Do you care about the proposed changes in UK Wreck Legislation?

    Sutty, you can email DCMS, or rather Lizzie West at DCMS. Additionally, the point of the poll is to get some concensus and then take that to the table.

    There are people working behind the scenes on this in the Home Office, on our behalf, so the right people are involved. They just need to know what we want.

    On the artifact thing... There is a discussion thread on SWM to go with the poll. This point was touched on. In a nutshell, wrecks are decomposing at a rate that in 50 - 60 years time they will be gone, or collapsed to the point where searching them is impossible or dangerous. Of the 58 officially Protected Wrecks, very few of them have been investigated archaeologically. In other words, underwater archaeology is too slow and too expensive to recover artifacts which may be of interest. This means that in reality, divers are the best chance of recovering interesting items.

    If an item is recovered by an individual and sits on a mantlepiece doesn't really bother me - at least there is a chance it could be passed on/examined by those with an academic interest. The alternative is permanent loss.

    This is of course covered comprehensively by the Receiver of Wreck regulations and to my mind, requires no change to the law.

    Hence the poll...

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    Re: (UK Eyes only) Do you care about the proposed changes in UK Wreck Legislation?

    Quote Originally Posted by lizardland
    IOn the other hand, would a ban on raising "artefacts" be that bad? Considering that most artefacts are merely trophies and sit in divers' sheds and mantlepieces is that such a great loss? How many divers are actually bringing portholes, etc., up for their archaeological merit?
    .
    I dont live in the UK, but this argument has really ticked me off for years. They argue that private collectors are destroying or removing items for there own exclusive private use. But take a look in the museums, just how many displays are from private collections. Most the items they have are on loan or have been donated from private collections. Now take a look (if you can) in the museums basement, they have tons of stuff just boxed away (they dont even know what they have most the time). Stuff that will never be seen by the public, items they dont even know they have and will never be studied (now that in my opion is a crime). Private collector are and have been the single most valuable resorurce to museums in my opinion
    Last edited by James Appel; 7th March 2006 at 17:28.

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    Re: (UK Eyes only) Do you care about the proposed changes in UK Wreck Legislation?

    Quote Originally Posted by James Appel
    I dont live in the UK, but this argument has really ticked me off for years. They argue that private collectors are destroying or removing items for there own exclusive private use. But take a look in the museums, just how many displays are from private collections. Most the items they have are on loan or have been donated from private collections. Now take a look (if you can) in the museums basement, they have tons of stuff just boxed away (they dont even know what they have most the time). Stuff that will never be seen by the public, items they dont even know they have and will never be studied (now that in my opion is a crime). Private collector are and have been the single most valuable resorurce to mesuems in my opinion
    AMEN Brother!!
    Individuals that push this argument really are ignorant to reality in regards to artifact curation. A relatively small percentage of arifacts go on display for the public. Most are boxed away. And in some instances, curation of these objects is dismal at best. Conserved objects must be maintained under specific environmental conditions to insure their preservation. As documented in an American Archaeology article, proper climate-controlled storage appeared to be the exception, rather than the rule. After visiting three universities that stored artifacts from federal lands, a National Park Service archaeologist reported that, “In 99.9 percent of the cases, I felt the storage conditions were substandard." The worst example was described thusly: "The collections were in a storage room where overhead pipes leaked onto the artifacts that were in paper bags. The provenience information written on the bags in pencil was unreadable. All the metal artifacts were rusted. All the bone had turned to mush."
    Perhaps this was just an isolated example of how academic and governmental agencies care for our cultural resources. Not so according to a 1986 report from the Government Accounting Office (GAO). The GAO report, “Problems Protecting and Preserving Federal Archeological Resources,” was based on a questionnaire sent to non-federal repositories that housed federally owned collections. The results were shocking. Twenty-four percent of the respondents had no inventory of their collections; thirty percent had never inspected them for conservation needs. Most records of excavations conducted on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands prior to 1975 and 1968, respectively, had been lost or destroyed.
    Or, take this episode documented in the article, "Archeological Curation in the 21st Century: Or, Making Sure the Roof Doesn’t Blow Off" by Wendy Bustard, which appeared in Cultural Resource Management published by the U.S. National Park Service:
    "The roof blew off the car wash last week.” Not words that normally strike fear in a curator’s heart, unless of course you have archeological collections stored in the car wash. This actually happened to a university anthropology museum this past March. This museum had outgrown its storage space long ago and was desperate for additional storage space. Several years ago, the university’s board of regents came up with a temporary solution––use an abandoned two-bay car wash for overflow storage. Since it was to be temporary, the university did not renovate the building. To stop the roof from leaking, it constructed a metal roof above the original roof. This is what blew off in a wind and rainstorm.
    Another question that begs to be asked: just what is the "archaeological merit" of your average porthole??

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    Re: (UK Eyes only) Do you care about the proposed changes in UK Wreck Legislation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdemon
    (Note: This is aimed at those living in the UK)

    You may or may not be aware that right now that there are moves afoot to change the laws regarding wrecks in UK waters, their management and protection.

    A consultation period has been and gone, with hardly a murmour in the diving media. We are now at the review stage, where two Working Parties are to come up with proposals. These proposals, once put through another consultation period, will go through and become Law.
    See

    http://www.divernet.com/news/stories/280206fifty.shtml

    for relevant information to this thread. I guess there is diver representation of sorts, but not formally.

    Andy

  8. #8
    New Member ccscuba has a spectacular aura about ccscuba has a spectacular aura about ccscuba has a spectacular aura about ccscuba has a spectacular aura about ccscuba has a spectacular aura about ccscuba's Avatar
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    Re: (UK Eyes only) Do you care about the proposed changes in UK Wreck Legislation?

    I'd like to get my thoughts represented somewhere.
    I'm fed up with the bloody government (over)regulating anything I want to do, diving being just one of them.
    As many people have said, the wrecks won't be there in 50-60 years, some a lot less than that.
    And those who want to restrict diving conveniently forget that the Government has let salvage contracts wholesale on most of the wrecks, used others for depth charge and munitions targets, wireline dragged others deemed to be in the way, so the real truth is that these are by no means “sanctified” places. And if left alone, any information relating to these wrecks will simply be lost.

    Of course, there is also the commensurate damage to the UK diving industry and people’s livelihoods, already decimated by an over-zealous HSE diving inspectorate desperate for something to do now North Sea oil diving is over.
    Mdemon, what will you do with the results of your poll?


  9. #9
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    Re: (UK Eyes only) Do you care about the proposed changes in UK Wreck Legislation?

    Quote Originally Posted by ccscuba
    Mdemon, what will you do with the results of your poll?
    The idea is to form a consensus and do two things.

    Firstly, forward the immediate requirement of an explanation of intent to the relevant people in the Home Office who will take this to the minister concerned and press DCMS for a response. They are waiting for the info now.

    Secondly, the results will form part of the backbone for pushing for proper diver representation on the Working Parties. There are some ideas knocking about as to how we would go about getting this and more on that later.

    Reading the Consultation paper, it seems they only had 72 responses to the request for info. I think we can do better than that.

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    Update!

    You don't need to register to vote - if that was putting you off then please visit the link now and show your feelings on the matter.

    Many thanks.

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