Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 19871
AN ACT To establish the title of
States in certain abandoned shipwrecks,
Be it enacted by the Senate
and House of Representatives of the United
SEC. 1 SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the "Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987".
SEC. 2 FINDINGS.
The Congress finds that-
(a) States have
the responsibility for management of a broad range of
(b) included in
the range of resources are certain abandoned shipwrecks
SEC. 3 DEFINITIONS.
For purposes of this Act-
(a) the term "embedded"
means firmly affixed in the submerged lands or in
(b) the term "National
Register" means the National Register of Historic
(c) the terms "public
lands", "Indian lands", and "Indian tribe" have the
(d) the term "shipwreck"
means a vessel or wreck, its cargo, and other
(e) the term "State"
means a State of the United States, the District of
(f) the term "submerged lands" means the lands-
(1) that are "lands beneath navigable waters," as defined in section 2
(2) of Puerto Rico, as described in section 8 of the Act of March 2,
(3) of Guam, the Virgin Islands and America Samoa, as described in
(4) of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, as described
SEC. 4 RIGHTS OF ACCESS.
(a) ACCESS RIGHTS. -In order to-
clarify that State waters and shipwrecks offer recreational and
provide that reasonable access by the public to such abandoned
it is the declared policy of
the Congress that States carry out their
(A) protect national resources and habitat areas;
(B) guarantee recreational exploration of shipwreck sites; and
(C) allow for appropriate public and private sector recovery of
(b) PARKS AND
PROTECTED AREAS. -In managing the resources subject to the
SEC. 5 PREPARATION OF GUIDELINES.2
(a) In order to encourage the
development of underwater parks and the
(1) maximize the enhancement of cultural resources;
foster a partnership among sport divers, fishermen, archeologists,
(3) facilitate access and utilization by recreational interests;
recognize the interests of individuals and groups engaged in
(b) Such guidelines shall be
developed after consultation with appropriate
(c) Such guidelines shall be
available to assist States and the appropriate
SEC. 6 RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP.
(a) UNITED STATES
TITLE. -The United States asserts title to any abandoned
(1) embedded in submerged lands of a State;
embedded in coralline formations protected by a State on submerged
on submerged lands of a State and is included in or determined to
(b) The public shall be given
adequate notice of the location of any
OF TITLE TO STATES. -The title of the United States to any
-Any abandoned shipwreck in or on public lands of the United
OF RIGHTS. -This section does not affect any right reserved
section 3, 5, or 6 of the Submerged Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1311,
section 19 or 20 of the Act of March 3, 1899 (33 U.S.C. 414 and
SEC. 7 RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LAWS.
(a) LAW OF SALVAGE
AND THE LAW OF FINDS. -The law of salvage and the law of
(b) LAWS OF THE
UNITED STATES. -This Act shall not change the laws of the
DATE. -This Act shall not affect any legal proceeding brought
2 Final Guidelines
for the Abandoned Shipwreck Act issued by the Department of the Interior,
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Revised: August 31, 1998