florida shipwreck laws


Jr. Member
May 15, 2016
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
This thread is 12 years old now & sadly, nothing seems to have changed and very possibly, things have got worse.

I recall, in the Spring of 1979, coming into port in Stuart, Florida, after a day of offshore training in mixed gas diving ( I was enrolled in the Underwater Technology Program at F.I.T.'s Jensen Beach campus ).

In port that day were several large steel workboats. On the afterdeck of one vessel, I witnessed some burly fellows attacking what appeared to be large clumps of coral with breaker-bars and mauls. The clumps had splotches of black stains all over them and I pondered whether those spots represented oxidized pieces of eight.

I had been reading about Kip Wagner, Fisher et.al. and the history of the 1715 Plate Fleet from a young age; dreaming of one day taking part in salvage efforts along the Gold Coast. I also recall a representative of the Fisher consortium calling my Dive School as my Class approached graduation, offering 'Diving Jobs' on their vessels as they continued to search for Atocha's treasure. Hah! None of us could afford the starvation wages they were offering as we were all broke & needed to get good-paying diving work to get out of hock!

But I digress. My point in all of this is - did I see what I thought I saw? Were large "Wrecker" boats actively working leases at that time and busting up coral heads on afterdecks?

Hoping another 'Old-Timer' might shed some light on this - TIA.

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Full Member
Apr 6, 2008
Daytona Beach, Fl.
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Whites SL90, Surf PI, Minelab Excalibur 800
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Doubloonhunter, welcome aboard TreasureNet! I have a link for you to follow that should get you headed in the right direction. I also have some PDF files with the State of Florida requirements that I may be able to email you with more information. However, the cold hard truth is that the State of Florida DHR is less than cooperative with treasure hunters these days. Yes, you can still get exploration leases, but that seems to be about it these days. http://www.flheritage.com/archaeology/underwater/laws.cfm Tom
Bum Luck, You got anybody in mind? The whole damn political system is about "what can you do for me"! It's no longer about what is right, but what is politically correct and advantageous to the politician. Our numbers are few, we have little money and our purpose is not one that necessarily benefits the public. So I have to humbly submit myself as a candidate for "the People"! Time to move this thread to the broader public! Aquanut
Tom. Ivan and Pete, Everything you say is true. How did the state acquire so much power over us? These folks have the ear of Tallahasee because they are there. Being funded by our money, they work against us. In reality, they are a very small group, much smaller than us. What they have that we don't, is the time to keep harping their interests. They can lobby on government time. I like your idea Pete, sue them! The only problem here is money. Usually the guys that put up the money for all the permits are pretty much like the rest of us...broke. Now if somebody like "Biker Lawyer" for example wanted to take up the cause I'll donate a hundred bucks to the lawsuit. I know thats not much, but it's all I can afford. If some others would do the same, maybe we could actually come up with enough to make a difference. Any ideas? Aquanut

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