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.



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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

As three new sites were added in 2020, there are now 15 historic underwater sites under the responsibility of Heritage Malta’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit.