Recreational diving to protected wrecks and sites is allowed but of course, the Antiquities Act has to be obeyed. Protected sites can be viewed but they may not be altered or harmed in any way. Artefacts or parts of structures must not be raised. Boats have to be anchored so far from these sites that the anchors cannot cause damage. It is not permitted to dive inside wrecks that are intact. The aim of these guidelines is to help us to protect underwater sites for the future generations.
- The Finnish proverb Well planned is half done applies to diving very well. It is worth planning well in advance. Find out the depth and the nature of the site and its surroundings. Make a safety plan. Find out the location of the nearest coast guard station and inform the coast guard about your dive. It is highly recommendable to inform also the National Board of Antiquities about your dives and practices.
- Find out whether the site is located on a protected area, e.g. a natural conservation area. On the Archipelago National Park, for example, diving is subject to licence. And when diving on private waters, show consideration to the inhabitants and/or owners of the area.
- Do not try to find the site, e.g. a wreck, by dragging. Locate the site by diving or use a sonar. Anchor your vessel so far from the site that the anchors cannot fall or drag themselves on the wreck. At some of the protected wrecks, for example at the Kronprins Gustav Adolf off Helsinki, there is a buoy to which vessels can be fastened. Only one vessel can be moored to a buoy at a time.
- Do not dive when the wind is heavy. The anchor may drag itself on the wreck or put divers in danger. Pay attention to the sea traffic on the area. Remember the diving flag!
- Follow the safety rules of the Finnish Sportdivers Association. Study the campaign Respect our Wrecks by the Finnish Sportdivers Association, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), the Military Museum and the National Board of Antiquities.
- Make sure your crew is big enough, that there is an adequate amount of persons on the surface as well. Make sure the crew has a working VHF radio or a mobile phone and that each of you know your location and the numbers to call in case of an emergency.
- Dive always in pairs and make sure your equipment is in good condition and meets safety requirements.
- Do not fasten any ropes or diving lines to a wreck even if it is in good condition. Use for example a weight and fasten the diving line to the bottom.
- At wreck sites, diving is at your own risk. Do not put yourself or others in danger. Do not go inside old wrecks since these may collapse, and bubbles from breathing apparatus harm the constructions. You must not touch wrecks or change underwater findings in any way. Do not move or raise any objects.
- Make certain that there are not too many divers at the site simultaneously. The visibility weakens easily and both the wreck and the divers may be in danger.
- Make sure that you do not cling yourself to the wreck. The wrecks are three-dimensional and they may consist of ropes or cords. For example, the air hose or other parts of your equipment can get entangled in the wreck parts. Look after your partner as well!
- Depending on the weather and the hour of the day there can be dark at the site. Take a diving light with you.
- Swim slowly and try to move your flippers sideways. A careless kick can damage the wreck.
- Remember to check the quantity of air and the time you spend submerged. It is easy to forget about the time when you are at an appealing site.
- It is important that you can control your buoyancy when diving at a wreck site. If you sketch or photograph a wreck, do not lean on the wreck or its parts.
- Leave the wreck cautiously. Do not leave any ropes or lines behind. Do not take any souvenirs with you. Law forbids it. All objects raised from water require conservation, which is time and money consuming.
Remember to inform the National Board of Antiquities if you find an unknown underwater site, whether if it is a rowboat, construction, shipwreck or an artefact. Even if the site is already identified, you may have new information for us. We are always happy to receive information from your dives.