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Historic Shipwreck Avoidance on Stellwagen Bank

March 24, 2021

NOAA Fisheries, in conjunction with NOAA Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, requests that vessels avoid shipwreck sites on southern Stellwagen Bank.

NOAA Fisheries, in conjunction with NOAA Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (Sanctuary), requests that vessels avoid shipwreck sites on southern Stellwagen Bank within the Sanctuary by keeping gear 400 feet away from each of the site locations listed below. The chart below shows the area where these shipwrecks are located.

Historic and modern shipwrecks to avoid in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Vessel Name


North Latitude

West Longitude




42o 11’ 07”

-70o 12’ 03”

19 fathom



42o 11’ 52”

-70o 11’ 01”

20 fathom



42o 13’ 50”

-70o 09’ 05”

27 fathom



42° 23' 42.1794”

-70° 29' 21.9114"

48.5 fathom



42° 22' 20.7798"

-70° 22' 13.7604"

16 fathom



42° 25' 15.765"

-70° 28' 10.4772"

18 fathom



42° 26' 21.1956"

-70° 24' 44.3628

47.5 fathom



42° 21' 32.2122"

-70° 23' 45.132"

46 fathom

North Star


42° 23' 2.004"

-70° 21' 21.6966"

16 fathom



42° 24' 15.3606"

-70° 27' 11.8182"

16 fathom

Josephine Marie


42o 10’ 55”

-70o 13’ 28”

16 fathom


NOAA recognizes that fishermen want to avoid shipwrecks to ensure the safety of the crew and because of the risks of damaging their gear when the gear gets hung up on a wreck or other objects on the ocean floor. Hanging up on a wreck can also cause serious damage to shipwrecks that have historical significance. Historic shipwrecks are protected under the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Marine Sanctuaries Act and associated Federal regulations. We are working to update the data on our website to include the new shipwrecks and should be available soon. To add these coordinates to your plotter, please visit the Stellwagen Bank resource page.  

Location of Shipwrecks on Southern Stellwagen Bank

Location of Shipwrecks to Avoid on Stellwagen Bank

Yellow dots indicate the areas where the identified shipwrecks are located within the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are historic shipwrecks important?

Shipwrecks are important for several reasons and are one of the resources protected by the Sanctuary.

  • They provide habitat and refuge for a variety of marine life.
  • They are time capsules that tell us about our past.
  • They can be memorial sites representing the last resting place of fishermen and sailors.

Please see the Sanctuary's maritime history handout for additional shipwreck information.

What are the regulations on historic resources in the Sanctuary?

Although the act of moving, removing or injuring, or attempting to move, remove or injure, a Sanctuary historical resource is prohibited, traditional fishing operations are exempt from this prohibition (see below). In addition, possession of any historic resource is prohibited.The definition of “traditional fishing operations” applies to federally permitted vessels operating under current fishery management plans.

How are shipwrecks regulated under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)?

Under the NHPA, federal agencies are obligated to take into account the effects of their undertakings (including issuance of permits) on historic properties, including shipwrecks.  Historic properties are properties that are included in the National Register of Historic Places or that are eligible for inclusion in the National Register. As part of this consideration, agencies are required to consult with state historic preservation officers, tribes, or any other interested parties to identify and resolve (i.e., avoid, minimize, or mitigate) adverse effects. Please see the National Historic Preservation Act for additional information.

What if I inadvertently damage a wreck?

The specific prohibition on injuring a Sanctuary historical resource does not apply if the damage is incidental to a traditional fishing operation (as opposed to intentional). We greatly appreciate being notified of any interactions with a wreck, as it will help us learn more about an unknown wreck, or to take steps to investigate and mitigate any damages caused by an inadvertent interaction with a known wreck. Please record the coordinates, the conditions, and any other pertinent information regarding such an interaction, and contact Ben Haskell, Deputy Superintendent, (781) 546-6005 or ben.haskell@noaa.gov.

Can I easily put the locations of these wrecks in my plotter?

Yes, we are working on updating the current files and should be available soon.  Please visit the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Shipwreck Sites resource page.

Contact Talya ten Brink at talya.tenbrink@noaa.gov with any questions regarding these coordinates.

Where can I get more information?

For information on maritime heritage management and cultural resources in the Sanctuary please see the 2010 management plan.

For information on shipwrecks, visit the Sanctuary's maritime heritage page.

Last updated by Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office on March 25, 2021