Federal and state regulations prohibit the removal or disturbance of any cultural resource found in Sanctuary waters, including shipwrecks. A submerged cultural resource is defined as possessing "any type of historical, cultural, archaeological or paleontological significance and is greater than 50 years old." The Sanctuary's submerged cultural resources are unique remnants of the Keys' colorful maritime and prehistoric past and are protected for this and future generations. If you should come across a resource that you believe to be undocumented, please note its location and contact the Upper Keys Region Manager of the Sanctuary: (305) 852-7717 x 35.
The National Marine Sanctuary Program, managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), serves as the trustee for a system of thirteen underwater parks encompassing 18,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters. The Sanctuary Program fulfills its mission to the American people by increasing public awareness of our maritime heritage, scientific research, monitoring, exploration, educational programs, and outreach.
This website is a product of the Underwater Archaeology Team of the Florida Division of Historical Resources, Bureau of Archaeological Research. It contains the history of the 1733 Spanish Plate Fleet, descriptions of thirteen of the fleet's shipwrecks, and suggestions on how to visit them.