At least 800 ships are known to have foundered in Victorian waters, the earliest in 1835. They include an enormous variety of vessels, from international and coastal sailing ships, to transatlantic and local steamers constructed of wood, iron and steel. However, fewer than 200 wrecks have actually been found, most since the rise of scuba diving in the 1960s and 1970s.
Investigating and protecting the wrecks and relics offers a fascinating insight into not only our seafaring past, but the lives of everyday people who travelled by sea, and those who depended on sea transport for supplies and communication.
All Australian shipwrecks over 75 years old are protected by State and Commonwealth historic shipwreck laws. Some younger wrecks may also be considered historic.
Read about some of the wrecks around Victoria, including the Cerberus, Lightening, Clonmel and the Mahogany ship.
Victorian shipwreck dive sites
A list of shipwreck dives in Victoria.
Protecting shipwreck heritage
Shipwrecks forms and guidelines
Find guidelines concerning public access to shipwrecks, and forms to assist people to report shipwrecks.
More than 600 wrecks are known to have been lost off the coast of Victoria and only about 35% of them have been found.
Shipwreck artefact catalogue
Shipwreck artefact catalogue from SS City of Launceston (1865) and the PS Clonmel (1841).
Read about legistlation governing martime heritage in Victoria.