Skip to main content
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary National Marine Sanctuaries Home Page National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Home Page

Maritime Heritage: Field Research

underwater wreck photo
Sky-hook of Curtiss Sparrowhawk F9C-2 biplane at USS Macon wreck site (Credit: NOAA/MBARI)

Program efforts to manage and protect submerged archaeological sites include conducting paleo-ecological and archaeological studies; inventorying, locating, and monitoring both historic shipwrecks and those that pose an environmental threat to sanctuary marine resources; and characterizing and protecting heritage resources.

The Maritime Heritage Action Plan for the three central coast sanctuaries outlines the need to inventory and assess submerged archaeological resources (NOAA 2008). MBNMS commissioned a shipwreck inventory from established shipwreck databases and review of primary and secondary source documentation. This study, entitled MBNMS Submerged Cultural Resources Study (Smith and Hunter 2001), provides a foundation for an inventory of the historic resources in the sanctuary. The study indicates 463 reported losses (vessels, aircraft) occurred in Pacific waters within, or near the border of, the MBNMS.

Several reconnaissance missions and site characterizations are complete. See the links below for site specific information (alphabetical):

Vessel Name Vessel Type Year Lost Casualty Location

Independence (CVL-22)

Light Aircraft Carrier 1951 Half Moon Bay, west of


Dirigible 1935 Pt Sur, south of


Oil Tanker 1941 Cambria, west of

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

Take Our Survey | Privacy Statement | Site Disclaimer
National Marine Sanctuaries | National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |