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Mark Milburn’s Cornish Wreck Ramblings, Part 6: Flotsam, Jetsam and as far as you could see a barrel



Wrecks happen, they always have, especially along an exposed coastline like the one around Cornwall. Many have heard the stories about the wreckers; were there really people out there, deliberately causing wrecks? The rumour goes like this, someone stood on a cliff waving a light. The light was supposed to look like a mast head light, at anchor, swaying gently in a protected cove. The unsuspecting ship out in rough seas, would see the light and head for the sheltered water. The ship would strike the rocks, the wreckers would kill anyone alive on board and steal the cargo. Were there really people doing that?

There are no records of anyone ever being prosecuted for such an action. There were prosecutions of people taking cargo from wrecked ships, as well as taking flotsam and/or jetsam. There were and possibly still are, some very old laws in place. One of which was the “right to wreck”. The “right to wreck” was an old manorial right to any wreckage, flotsam or jetsam, from a known or even an unknown wreck, along the coastline of the manor to which it was granted. They had to set a limit for the distance offshore, for most of these it was as far as you could see a barrel floating, from the shore. How this was interpreted is a wild guess, could a very tall person stand on a cliff, or did it have to be the from the beach?

Anyone else taking anything within the manorial coastline, was breaking the law. Whether or not these rights are actually still legal, is not sure. It is believed, that they are now no longer legal or have lapsed due to the rights being given to the original manor. The old “right to wreck” law, only related to things that could actually be seen, it didn’t relate to anything under the water; that belonged to Davy Jones.

As divers, most of us believe that “wreck” is a ship on the seabed or ashore. The Receiver of Wreck judges anything from a ship to be “wreck”, whether it is flotsam (floated), jetsam (jettisoned), lagan (jettisoned and buoyed) or derelict (drifting ship or, a part on the seabed with no hope of recovering). Anything we find and recover, that possibly came from a ship or a shipwreck, has to be declared to the Receiver of Wreck. This is true, even if the item washed ashore.

So when does litter become a reportable item? If it came from a ship, it is wreck, if it came from the land, it is litter. This litter can even include cannon balls fired into the sea, at a target or an enemy. If the enemy returned fire and the shot fell short, into the sea, that is wreck. It is about proving where the item came from. If the item has value, it is worth reporting, to be on the safe side. I found an onion bottle, just a random find whilst collecting scallops. I contacted the Receiver of Wreck and I was asked to complete a droit (legal salvage form). There are no known wrecks of this age, anywhere near this location. It must have come from a ship, as it was so far out, but, was it thrown or was it dropped by accident? I now have a letter stating it is legally mine.

Find out more about Mark and Atlantic Scuba at

Mark Milburn is the owner of Atlantic Scuba in Falmouth, Cornwall, England, and is an SDI/TDI/NAS/RYA Instructor and a Commercial Boat Skipper. Although often referred to as a maritime archaeologist, he prefers to call himself a wreck hunter. Find out more about Mark and Atlantic Scuba by visiting


Nauticam announce NA-A7C Housing for Sony a7C Camera



Sony’s latest full frame mirrorless camera, the a7C offers the underwater image maker one of the most compact and travel friendly full frame systems available on the market today.  The a7C features Sony’s latest stellar autofocus and a much improved battery life thanks to its use of the larger Z series battery. The BIONZ X processor delivers superb low-light performance and faster image processing. For video shooters, the a7C features internal UHD 4K capture in the wide-dynamic range HLG image profile at up to 30p.

Nauticam has housed more mirrorless cameras, and more Sony E Mount cameras than any other housing manufacturer. This experience results in the most evolved housing line with broadest range of accessories available today.

Pioneering optical accessories elevate performance to a new level. Magnifying viewfinders, the sharpest super macro accessory lenses ever made, and now the highest quality water contact wide angle lenses (the WWL-1B and WACP-1) combine with the NA-A7C housing to form a complete imaging system.

Nauticam is known for ergonomics, and an unmatched experience. Key controls are placed at the photographer’s fingertips. The housing and accessories are light weight, and easy to assemble. The camera drops in without any control presetting, and lens port changes are effortless.

NA-A7C features an integrated handle system. This ergonomic style provides exceptional control access, even with thick gloves, with ideal placement of the shutter release and a thumb-lever to actuate the AF-ON button from the right handle.

Nauticam build quality is well known by underwater photographers around the globe. The housing is machined from a solid block of aluminum, then hard anodized making it impervious to salt water corrosion. Marine grade stainless and plastic parts complete the housing, and it is backed by a two year warranty against manufacturing defects.

For more information in the UK visit the Nauticam website by clicking here.

For more information in the USA visit the Nauticam website by clicking here.

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BLUE EARTH – Future Frogmen Podcast Series – The Next Generation of Ocean Stewards: Lauren Brideau



A series of conservation educational podcasts from Future Frogmen, introduced by Jeff Goodman.

The Next Generation of Ocean Stewards: Lauren Brideau

We have a new host, Dr. Colleen Bielitz, and today we’ll be interviewing a recent college graduate as part of our once-a-month episode that focuses on students: the next generation of conservationists, researchers, and activists.

What are the next generation of ocean stewards doing to protect our Blue Earth? Join us as we find out by speaking to Lauren Brideau, a recent graduate of Southern Connecticut State University. Lauren started as an undeclared major but soon found her calling, now she is part of a research team conserving life below water.  She is a prime example that if you want to defend our oceans and the creatures that depend on the sea to survive, now is the time to become part of the solution.

Richard E Hyman Bio

Richard is the Chairman and President of Future Frogmen.

Born from mentoring and love of the ocean, Richard is developing an impactful non-profit organization. His memoir, FROGMEN, details expeditions aboard Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s famed ship Calypso.

Future Frogmen, Inc. is a nonprofit organization and public charity that works to improve ocean health by deepening the connection between people and nature. They foster ocean ambassadors and future leaders to protect the ocean by accomplishing five objectives.

You can find more episodes and information at and on most social platforms @futurefrogmen.


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This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email to book your spot!

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