A Closer Look at the Shipwrecks Found in Fathom Five National Marine Park

Many factors affect the preservation of shipwrecks. The initial event that causes a shipwreck is of course one factor – be it lost in battle, overturned in bad weather or due to a navigational error – but of course events afterwards such weathering, human interaction, biological and chemical factors also effects the long term survival of a shipwreck. For reasons of the extreme cost of raising and ongoing care necessary once raised, historic shipwrecks are rarely raised and therefore in situ preservation and interpretation has become an increasingly important trend worldwide.

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Flora Davidson
Parks Canada

Parks Canada has over 25 years of experience carrying out monitoring studies of shipwrecks in Canadian waters. What began at Red Bay, Labrador has extended to what is now a 20 year program monitoring the shipwrecks in Fathom Five National Marine Park. Techniques for this are evolving and the process of monitoring and collecting data is changing. The review and interpretation of the data obtained and lesson learned along the way are just as important in focusing our efforts in shipwreck preservation as is taking advantage of technological innovations. To some degree, techniques which Parks Canada is currently investigating for Interpretation purposes may also prove useful tools for the preservation of wrecks and help to make the preservation monitoring process more efficient while at the same time providing a tool to engage the public with the preservation of these historical wrecks.

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