Definition of a Shipwreck

For the purpose of the Dx Adventure Radio Club’s Shipwrecks On The Air (SWOTA) activity, we define a shipwreck as…

“A complete or partial destruction of a vessel as a result of collision, fire, grounding, storm, explosion, or other mishap…”

Unlike the typical definition, the DA-RC wording refers to the tangible remains of the ship but not to the actual event that caused the wreck such as the striking of something that caused the ship to sink, the stranding of the ship on rocks, land or shoal, or the destruction of the ship at sea by violent weather.

DA-RC classifies shipwrecks as being either Contemporary or Historical.

Contemporary shipwrecks are of interest primarily because of the potential harm to the environment.  Other contemporary wrecks are scuttled in order to spur reef growth.

Many historic wrecks are of interest to recreational divers who enjoy diving shipwrecks because they are often interesting to explore, provide large habitats for many types of marine life and have an interesting history.

Historical shipwrecks are attractive to maritime archaeologists because they preserve historical information; for example, studying the wreck of Mary Rose revealed information about seafaring, warfare and life in the 1500s.

Military wrecks that were caused by a skirmish at sea are studied to find details about the historic event and reveal much about the battle that occurred.