Wreck's deck structures longitudinally supported by hull arches.

Protection of underwater sites

The Antiquities Act protects underwater archaeological sites in the same way as ancient monuments on land. Man-made structures underwater, such as waterway obstacles, remains of bridges, and piers, are preserved as reminders of our country's earlier settlements and history. Such sites, regardless of their age, are automatically protected, and no interference is allowed without permission from the Finnish Heritage Agency.

Old shipwrecks are protected based on their age. A wreck or part of a wreck, estimated to have sunk over a hundred years ago, is considered an immovable ancient monument. Such a discovery must be reported promptly to the Finnish Heritage Agency. If it is evident that the owner has abandoned such a wreck or its parts, it belongs to the state. Objects found in or originating from the wreck also belong to the state.

There are cultural heritage sites on coastal and water areas that are not covered by the Antiquities Act's provisions and cannot be protected under it. However, securing these cultural heritage sites (e.g., remnants of log-driving structures and wrecks sunk less than a hundred years ago) may be justified due to their historical significance and cultural heritage value. These sites can be protected, for example, through zoning regulations.


The Finnish Heritage Agency is responsible for the protection of underwater cultural heritage according to the law. It collaborates with various authorities such as environmental agencies, the Finnish Navy, Metsähallitus, and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. Exchanging information and experiences with foreign cultural heritage authorities is also crucial for protection.

In maritime areas, shipwreck sites are monitored by Suomenlahden merivartiosto and Länsi-Suomen merivartiosto. The Finnish Heritage Agency maintains close contact with the coast guards, informing them of issued research permits and the Board's own fieldwork.


Prominent conservation methods involve educating and cooperating with recreational divers. The Finnish Heritage Agency collaborates with numerous divers in verifying site locations, documentation, and information exchange.

Six significant shipwreck sites have been assigned protection zones under the Antiquities Act. These protection zones aim to ensure the preservation of various aged and different types of sites and the information they contain for future generations and research purposes.

Underwater cultural heritage is also safeguarded through international agreements, guidelines, and declarations.