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Greece Opens Ancient Shipwrecks, Submerged Sites to Scuba Divers

Once-stringent scuba diving regulations for Greek waters were recently lifted, eliminating diving depth limits and allowing diving at archaeological sites and sunken ships in the seas around Greece.

This latest loosening of restrictions follows the passing of a 2019 bill in Parliament easing scuba diving laws, and is part of larger group of incentives to encourage the return of international tourists to Greece following the worldwide coronavirus lockdown.

Prior to the passage of the bill, scuba divers could only enter archaeological sites when accompanied by underwater guides. The new bill largely allows unrestricted diving — even to ancient sites.

Scuba divers are understandably expected to flock to Greece’s many sunken ships, as the 2019 bill allows for unescorted visits to shipwrecks that are older than 50 years.

In 2019, the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, a department of Greece’s Ministry of Culture, along with the Ministry of Tourism, designated four ancient shipwrecks to become Greece’s first underwater museums in a bid to expand underwater-heritage marketing.

The first two Underwater Archaeological Parks in the nation are scheduled to open to visitors by this summer. The two parks are located on the islet of Sapientza, opposite Methoni town and in Navarino Bay in the Pylos area of southwestern Messinia.

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