SPSNL Code of Conduct

Each member of the Shipwreck Preservation Society of Newfoundland & Labrador Inc. (SPSNL) agrees to observe and comply with the following:

PRINCIPLES: SPSNL fully supports the objects and principles of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001) and expects all members to adhere fully thereto.

STEWARDSHIP: SPSNL and its members act as stewards of our maritime heritage through the preservation, documentation and interpretation of shipwrecks and other submerged or nautical-related material culture.

PRESERVATION: SPSNL is dedicated to the preservation in place of shipwrecks and other archaeological remains. Members shall practice low-impact diving techniques and refrain from collecting artifacts, except as part of a licensed archaeological study. If there is an archaeological study, arrangements must be made for the conservation and curation of any remains recovered.

RESPONSIBILITY: SPSNL members shall adhere to the letter and spirit of all applicable legislation (i.e. the Historic Resources Act of NL) and should inform the relevant authorities (including police or government bodies) of any contraventions thereof.

STANDARDS: Members of SPSNL shall ensure that they are sufficiently trained and qualified for their role in any archaeological project. Members are encouraged to participate in training programs, including Nautical Archaeology Society courses.

DOCUMENTATION: The results of SPSNL projects shall be preserved through the production and dissemination of reports. Project leaders must maintain an archive of records, including field notes and reports, or make appropriate arrangements for this purpose.

COMMUNITY: The results of SPSNL projects must be communicated to the archaeological community and to the general public, including local media and related communities. Members must take extra care to not disturb human remains, and project leaders should encourage local representation and involvement.

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP: Artifacts on or recovered from marine heritage sites remain public property, even when collected under an archaeological license. Members shall refrain from the commercial trafficking of marine heritage artifacts, particularly the buying or selling of unlawful or undocumented artifacts. Ownership of all archaeological objects is vested in the Crown for the people of the province whether recovered under permit or otherwise. Hence, all archaeological activity (underwater and on land) is regulated.

INTEGRITY: The name or logos of SPSNL shall only be used for promotions, publications or projects sanctioned by SPSNL.

REPORTING: Any SPSNL member that discovers an undocumented historic wreck or site shall not communicate their finding publicly. The SPSNL member shall immediately communicate the details of their discovery to the NL Provincial Archaeology Office and to a member of the SPSNL board of directors, who shall advise members about the next steps.

SPSNL has adapted this code of conduct from that of Save Ontario Shipwrecks, with the kind permission of SOS.

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