The Shipwreck Project


Underwater Explorers hosts a display area for The Shipwreck Project which sets out to promote diving and wreck research in the British Isles.

We support The Shipwreck Project's efforts to bring maritime heritage to the surface through sonar, photography and video.
The Project has made many discoveries in the Weymouth and Portland area and is now seeking the help of divers and non-divers alike to document and record these sites. Anyone is welcome to join the project team.
Follow The Shipwreck Project pages for updates.

The Shipwreck Project involves wreck location (and identification) using sophisticated side-scan sonar / magnetometer surveys and follow-up diving. In the background it is also seeking out local diving and shipwreck history in the form of artefacts recovered and unrecorded down the years, locating long forgotten video and film footage as well as interviewing a nearly lost generation from the local diving scene with stories to tell.

The objectives of the Shipwreck Project include:

• The promotion of diving and wreck research in the British Isles
• The search for and identification of new wrecks
• Carrying out research to identify wrecks yet unknown
• The recording and investigation of wreck sites, some of which will be lost forever due to trawling, dredging and natural deterioration
• Raising awareness of continuing damage to wreck sites
• Bringing to life the stories of the ships, the men that built them, the sailors that sailed them and remembering those that perished in them

Ongoing projects include:

• To locate, dive and record pre-twentieth century wreck sites using side-scan sonar. Over the last twenty years The Shipwreck Project has dived several sailing ships that have so far defied identification. Work will continue with further diving and research.
• The nineties was in this part of the world the hay-day for diving new wrecks - even charted wrecks had never been dived mid-channel. On our travels we left many wrecks unidentified. These wrecks are seldom if ever dived.
• Over the centuries the area between Stennis Ledges and Chesil beach has seen the loss of literally hundreds of ships. Apart from a small, dedicated band of local enthusiasts very little work has been done to locate and document the sites.
• During the Second World War many aircraft were lost at sea. The Shipwreck Project has discovered a few and intend to try and locate more. In recent times we have learnt much more about identifying various types of aircraft and the individual aircraft itself. The SWP may be able to provide some answers for living relatives.
• The battle of Portland. This is a huge undertaking to try and find evidence of ships sunk during the first Anglo Dutch war. The SWP team has already spent much time researching this and initial sidescan data needs to be investigated.
• Photograph and document the condition of wartime and modern day wrecks and carry out a sidescan survey of each site.
General Information:

The driving force behind the project is Weymouth-based skipper and wreck researcher, Grahame Knott. Grahame has owned and operated several charter boats in the Weymouth area, the most well known being the Wey Chieftain. After many years locating and diving Channel shipwrecks Grahame has become more and more involved in the research and history behind them. Diving in Grahame's eyes has become a little stale; the same format of a wreck and reef dive on the popular tourist wrecks has not changed over many years. Some divers dive for diving's sake and although there is nothing wrong with that Grahame sees diving as the vehicle to get him where he wants to be namely a wreck and then a whole world beyond diving exists in discovering the wrecks identity, how it got there, who built it, who was on it, are there any survivors or relatives with a story to tell etc. Beyond this again he sees a necessity to record, document and monitor sites many of which are of historical importance. Grahame has set up the shipwreck project to share his knowledge and experience with others and give them the chance to help undertake essential research before history is lost forever. (Visit Grahame's The Shipwreck Project pages and check out the regular updates).


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