Search Area from survivors contemporary accounts

Typical Primary search Area where the area has been identified via survivors contemporary accounts to Newspapers of the day

Refining areas based upon the Transcripts of the Marine court of Enquiry

Refining areas based upon the Transcripts of the Marine court of Enquiry

Terrigal Bathometric

Typical Data of where others have done survey work

Trawler Snag/entanglement

Typical Data of a reported Trawler net entanglement that brought up wreckage

Targets Research

To begin the search for a wreck, we start with research ashore. Hours spent poring over historical records prior to going out on the water can narrow down the search area by establishing the circumstances associated with the loss of a vessel.

What makes a good Target?

Key items for selecting a good target to search for

Research begins with a review of the almanac-style books describing ships sunk along the NSW or Australian Coast. From the list of vessels not yet found, we select likely targets with the above criteria in mind.

Once a ship is selected, research moves to primary sources. These include contemporary newspaper reports, Marine Court of Enquiry minutes, Marine Underwriter Association insurance records, and original registration papers. From these, and possibly other sources, we obtain details of the type and construction of the vessel (including motor size and hull style – both important factors in identifying a wreck) and develop a better understanding of the size of the area we would need to search to determine whether a search seems practical. If so, we figure out a “box” on a chart, to define our proposed search area.

What also narrows down the search area?

After a search area has been defined, a number of things can be done to refine the search, including knowing what is already “down there”. As part of this project we have put together an extensive GPS waypoint list of approximately 270 known NSW shipwreck sites and 126 known scuttled vessels.

This allows side scan surveys to be done on wrecks previously found within a search area. Information we seek in relation to wrecks yet to be discovered includes:

Out on the large expanse of ocean, knowing where others have looked and found nothing is important, as such knowledge avoids hours and fuel being wasted. Any information on previous searches is always appreciated.

Ongoing Research Assistance & Data Refinement or Data Review

We welcome assistance to help research potential targets. This can consist of refining the locations of known shipwrecks or potential targets, or details of areas that have been extensively surveyed. We are also happy to review anyone's raw data, including old magnetic tape data, as shipwrecks can be overlooked in the data gathering and processing stage if they were not the prime concern of the exercise.