Salvage of wrecks

It is permitted to dive on and take photographs of all wrecks in Danish waters unless a prohibition order has been issued against diving on the wreck or in the area where it is located.

Areas where diving is prohibited are shown in Danish charts and mentioned in order no. 135 of 4 March 2005 (Danish), as amended.

It is permitted to salvage wrecks or objects from wrecks only if you have acquired a permit from the Danish Maritime Authority. You must also have a permit from us in order to make changes to a wreck or its surroundings (such as washing down or blasting).

Contact the Danish Maritime Authority if you would like to know whether it is prohibited to dive on a wreck, whether diving can in general be considered safe or whether a third party has souvenir or salvage permits for the wreck.

Souvenir permits for an individual wreck can be applied for. The permit can be applied for by private persons or diving clubs which do not want to retrieve objects from the wreck for commercial purposes.

Read more about souvenir retrieval

The souvenir retrieved must not be put up for sale.

Salvage permits are for individual wrecks or parts thereof. It can be applied for by private persons, organisations and companies.

Only in special cases, are permits granted to salvage wrecks that are protected by the museum act. The act covers all wrecks that have foundered more than 100 years ago or wrecks that have been considered by the Agency for Culture and Palaces to have special historic importance.

The Danish Maritime Authority or the Danish Government has no liability for damage in connection with the salvage irrespective of the nature of the damage. Damage imposed on, for example, the ship, the crew, equipment or a third person or its property are, thus, the responsibility of the salvager. Damage that is a result of the salvage work or the transportation to and from the place of salvage as well as any handling and blasting of ammunition, etc. are also the responsibility of the salvager.

If the wreck or parts hereof sink, strand, are lost or removed in connection with the salvage within the Danish area, the salvager is in all respects responsible for the Government's expenses in connection with the marking, investigation and removal, if relevant, of the wreck or parts hereof, including ammunition.

Expenses for the removal of any wreckage, foreign bodies from the salvage or other items that can be related to this permit are to be paid by the salvager unless he himself carries out the removal in accordance with the instructions of the Danish Maritime Authority.

When salvaging wrecks or wreckage, the conditions on the seabed must not be changed considerably and, for example, lead to depth reductions. Loose parts from the wreck must not be spread on the seabed, but must be retrieved and removed.

The deployment of any temporary aids to navigation, etc. in connection with the salvage must take place only following approval by the Danish Maritime Authority and only on the conditions made by the Danish Maritime Authority.

The Danish Maritime Authority may require financial security in the form of a bank guarantee that can cover the amount that would be related to removal of the wreck if the salvager loses it in a place where it would present a risk to navigation.

A salvage permit must in no circumstances be transferred to others without a written permit from the Danish Maritime Authority.


Safety of Navigation, National Waters