The Shipwreck project

The Shipwreck Project and Swanage Boat Charters are collaborating on wreck research focused on waters off the East Dorset coast. The partnership is founded on a common interest in researching and protecting our maritime history in this area, and will leverage the combined capabilities of both organisations. For divers with a particular interest in supporting wreck research and being involved in exploratory diving it will mean greater opportunities to dive a range of new sites out of Swanage and Weymouth.

Under the scheme, The Shipwreck Project will conduct seabed surveys in the East Dorset area using sidescan sonar, and divers will be able to dive the arising targets with Swanage Boat Charters. To book onto these dives, divers will need to become full members of The Shipwreck Project and will as such be contributing to the research costs. In becoming a member you will also be able to dive with the Project out of Weymouth as well as profiting from the other benefits of membership.

How it works

The Shipwreck Project is a Community Interest Company (CIC). That means that it is a not-for-profit organisation with an isolated fund to be used for the benefit of its members. It is obliged to provide annual accounts to Companies House, and in the case of being wound up any remaining funds would go to charity. Funding will be generated initially through membership subscriptions, and it is hoped that these funds can be supplemented in future by seeking public funding for specific projects.

In our case, we aim to invest the majority of our funds on research. Some of those monies will go on archive subscriptions and searches. Some will go on commissioning seabed surveys. These surveys will be primarily conducted using the survey vessel Coastal Guardian. Coastal Guardian is not an asset of The Shipwreck Project, it is under separate private ownership. A proportion of the ships time will be dedicated to conducting survey searches for The Shipwreck Project. The Shipwreck Project will not pay commercial rates for the vessel (use of the vessel and time effectively will be provided free of charge); it will simply cover the cost of fuel used on the surveys. In return, The Shipwreck Project will have sole access to the findings of those surveys. Kitted out with OLEX, high frequency sidescan sonar, dive deck and a 60m drop camera, Coastal Guardian is pretty unique in the UK in being a privately owned, survey vessel with true wreck-exploration capabilities.

What do they do?

Torpedo collection rescue and restoration

Rescuing the Dolly Varden from destruction


Locate & Protect marine heritage

Locating long forgotten aircraft

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