Where to Experience Maritime Heritage
Uncover the stories of valiant mariners through exploration of your own. Choose among national marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments 600,000 sq. miles of underwater parks.
Between 1853 and 1980, more than 150 historic ships and aircraft are known to have wrecked within the boundaries of Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and National Park. From passenger ships carrying 49ers during the gold rush, to local steamers and international cargo vessels, each wreck tells a chapter in a story that continues to this day.
Within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary lies a unique trail of nine historic shipwrecks, scattered along the coral reefs and buried in the sandy shallows a few miles off shore. However, this sanctuary is home to hundreds of shipwrecks transformed into abundant ecosystems by the rich underwater biodiversity.
Over 400 reported ship and aircraft wrecks may exist in the Greater Farallones sanctuary. More substantial iron and steel-hulled built vessels exist close to shore as battered wrecks, while more intact wrecks lie in deeper waters in the sanctuary.
Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale
World War II brought unprecedented naval activity to the Hawaiian Islands, where sanctuary waters now protect submerged wrecks of and downed aircrafts, many lost during training operations.
Located 16 miles off Cape Hatteras in the "Graveyard of the Atlantic," this sanctuary protects the wreck of the famed Civil War ironclad USS Monitor. While the area is well known for shipwrecks dating from the Age of North American exploration to present day, the most prominent collection of shipwrecks represented is from World War II.
Mallows Bay-Potomac River
Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary protects and interprets the remnants of more than 100 World War I-era wooden steamships – known as the "Ghost Fleet" - and other maritime resources and cultural heritage dating back nearly 12,000 years.
Historically recognized as a hub for maritime exploration and commerce, the Monterey Bay region has a recorded 463 vessel and aircraft losses which now lie covered by water, sand, and time on the seabed.
Explore the seldom visited, offshore underwater environments of New England's shipwrecks located at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay.
Together, the shipwrecks of Thunder Bay make up a collection of ship-types that span 200 years of Great Lakes shipping. They hold the stories of countless sailors and passengers who traveled the inland seas. The cold, fresh waters of Lake Huron have preserved more than 200 shipwrecks in this sanctuary.
The 962-square-mile Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary protects 36 shipwrecks that possess exceptional historic, archaeological, and recreational value. Historical research suggests that nearly 60 shipwrecks are yet to be discovered in the sanctuary.