About UCHU

For a number of years, systematic underwater archaeological research has been conducted off coasts of Malta and Gozo. In the course of this long-term project some ver y impor tant deposits of underwater cultural heritage have been discovered, mapped and studied. Such sites var y from a 2700 year-old Phoenician shipwreck, the oldest in the central Mediterranean, to dozens of aircraft crash sites and from early modern shipwrecks to battleships from World War I. A significant number of nations and cultures – both past and present – are represented on the seabed off the Maltese Islands. This variety makes Malta the curator for an uniquely well-preserved cultural resource that is global and that belongs to all humankind.

Recognising this responsibility the Government of Malta, through the Ministr y of Justice, Culture and Local Councils, has built the platform for the management, protection and valorisation of underwater assets. It has done so by creating the Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit (UCHU) within Heritage Malta, the national agency for the management of Malta’s cultural heritage collections, sites and museums. The UCHU has, in collaboration with the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, been tasked with identifying a number of underwater sites so as these may be protected and accessed by divers in a controlled and managed manner.



Click on Image to enter 

Dive Schools approved by Heritage Malta to sell the tickets
and organise the dives on the Historic Wrecks Sites

Good Practices

  • Obey legal protection of archaeological sites
  • Do not penetrate the wreck, instead observe from the outside
  • Look but don’t touch
  • Avoid touching and disturbing any animals or plants
  • Ensure that all diving equipment — such as gauges and regulators — are secured firmly and not dragging
  • Be aware of your fins
  • Exercise proper buoyancy control
  • Avoid contact with the wreck when taking photographs or filming video
  • Stay safe
  • Respect measures that protect sites
  • Do not tie marker buoys or access lines directly to a wreck or relic
  • Keep diving groups small
  • Follow up and observe the group at any time through the dive
  • Be a role model
  • Strictly respect the rules of no contact and no penetration inside the wreck
  • Stay safe
  • Do not anchor on shipwrecks
  • Use moorings wherever possible
  • Locate the wreck using a depth sounder, if it’s unmarked
  • Drop the anchor upwind, or up-current, of the wreck site and lay back on the anchor line until the boat is over the wreck

Contact Us

Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit
Ex-Naval Bakery,
Vittoriosa Waterfront,
Vittoriosa BRG 1721
Tel: +356 7900 4141
Email: uchu@heritagemalta.org


With three new sites being launched this year there are now fifteen historic underwater sites under the responsibility of Heritage Malta’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit.

Heritage Malta is inviting divers to capture engaging images at fifteen historic underwater sites and to participate in the Underwater Photography Competition 2020.


  • Historic Wrecks: This category includes all sites listed by Heritage Malta in 2020, including aircrafts, as well as the Beaufighter, HMS Stubborn, HMS Maori, the X-Lighter (Carolita) and the Blenheim Bomber.
  • Interaction between wildlife and Underwater Cultural Heritage (same as above)


First, Second and Third place prizes for both categories.


Submission requirements:

  • Deadline: 30th November 2020
  • Up to three images per category/per individual may be submitted.
  • Image format should be as a JPEG, with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. No watermark is permitted, as judging is anonymous and images containing a watermark will be excluded. Large files are to be sent via WeTransfer.
  • Images should be sent to uchu@heritagemalta.org
  • Information to be included with submission
    • Full name and surname
    • Contact details
    • Chosen category
    • Name and location of chosen location

Entry rules:

  1. Entries suspected of exhibiting the following behaviour will be disqualified:
  • Visibly damaging the marine environment
  • Marine flora and fauna being touched
  • Not in keeping with policy of ‘look, don’t touch’
  1. All submitted photographs must be taken by the entrant
  2. Photographers will retain copyright of their images. The competition retains the right to publish the contest entries in print or online. Winning photographs may be included in press release and for the promotion of diving in Malta.
  3. Entries may be taken from any camera, film or digital. Images taken on a compact camera can be entered into any category.
  4. Photo adjustments: White balance, brightness, contrast and sharpness adjustments are permitted, so is cropping. Minor cleaning of images is also permitted such as the removal of backscatter, dust and scratches. Images are expected to represent reality in both execution and subject.
  5. An image can only be entered into one category.
  6. Photos must be taken during the 2020 diving season.
  7. The judges’ decision on all matters is final. The judges do not invite discussion or correspondence on specific judging decisions.
  8. Anyone working for/with Heritage Malta and any other research/archaeological teams are not permitted to enter the competition.