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Greece Makes 11 Historic Wrecks Accessible To Recreational Divers

The Minwaska aircraft sunk off Marathi, Souda on the island of Crete is among the first eleven historic wrecks that have been declared accessible to recreational diving. Credit: Ministry of Culture and Sports

Eleven historic wrecks have been declared accessible for recreational diving by Greece’s Ministry of Culture and Sports following the completion of documentation work by the competent authorities, the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, and, in some cases, the Ministry of Defense.

The list, published June 10, 2022, includes wrecks off Kea, Milos, Crete, Chalkidiki, Evia, and in the area between Pelion and Skiathos.

Rules for wreck divers in Greece

According to the related regulatory framework, diving at the listed historic wrecks in the Greek seas is allowed only externally and around the wrecks while diving inside them remains explicitly prohibited.

Entering the wreck can be allowed exclusively for research purposes and only after a respective decision by the Services of the Ministry has been issued.

As per regulations, all divers are prohibited from “any act or omission that results in the intervention, and therefore contact, damage or deterioration of the wrecks, as well as the collection, or even simple movement of any movable items located on them or on the seabed under or around them.”

Research in order to reveal movable objects both in the area of shipwrecks and in the wider area of wrecks or any related areas is not allowed either.

Interested divers must, in any case, write to the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Ministry of Culture and Sports at and provide the mandatory information at least one day prior to the dive.

The wreck of an unidentified WWII A6 or A20 aircraft off Balos Beach in Crete is among the listed underwater monuments pending documentation before they can be declared accessible to recreational divers. Credit: Ministry of Culture and Sports

Touristic potential of wreck diving

The decision to clear a total 91 wrecks of historic vessels and aircraft for recreational diving was first announced in March 2021.

More wrecks will be added to the current list of eleven accessible ones as documentation work concludes.

The selected wrecks are all made of metal and sank between 1868 and 1970—most of them during WWII. They lie in depths from 10 to 120 meters below sea level.

Besides their historic value as an “underwater ark of our history,” these wrecks feature a strong potential for growth since underwater diving is a special and extremely interesting category of tourism, which attracts high-profile, high-income visitors, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni had said when the program launched.

The opening of the underwater museum/diving park in the area surrounding the ancient shipwreck of Peristera off the Greek island of Alonissos in August 2020 was met with great enthusiasm.

The first of its kind in Greece to open to the public, it operated in pilot mode until October 2020 and was subsequently made accessible to everyone beginning in May 2021. It is open to visitors during the summer season.

“The combination of diving parks with the underwater areas that host and protect historic shipwrecks is a great advantage for Greece. We must make use of it, as it adds value to tourism and creates the conditions for the sustainable development of local communities,” Minister Mendoni pointed out.

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