Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Historic wrecks exist in many of the navigable waters of the United States, particularly along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Attention will mainly focus, however, on the waters off Florida. These often dangerous waters, as part of a long-established trade route, contain more than their share of historic wrecks. As a number of these are Spanish galleons, wrecked on their way to Europe with value cargoes of gold, silver and precious stones, claim to such sites has been the subject of bitter disputes. The results of the legal battles arising from these disputes will have profound implications for the future of underwater antiquities, not only in Florida, but throughout the navigable waters of the United States.