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Two wrecks spanning almost 300 years of history granted protection

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The mystery wreck of two possible late 17th or early 18th century merchant ships containing 15 cast iron English cannons off Chesil Beach in Dorset and a First World War mine-laying U-boat off Whitby in North Yorkshire have been granted protection by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.

The rare cannon-site wreck lies in two parts off Chesil Beach in Dorset and was discovered in 2010 by divers involved in the Weymouth-based Shipwreck Project, which promotes wreck research. There is an inshore site which lies just off the beach which comprises eight cast iron cannons identified as English 24-32 pounders cast between 1650 and 1725. The offshore site lies 220m south of these cannons and consists of seven cast iron English cannons, one of which is probably a six pounder, cast in the second half of the 17th century. The guns are not firmly dated because their features are heavily obscured by build-up of sediment.

A photo mosaic showing the inshore Chesil Beach cannon site with its eight cast iron cannons. (c) Historic England

The inshore site appears to be the wreck of a merchant ship and the fact that the guns are of different lengths suggests that they were cargo. The offshore site is believed to be the wreck of a wooden sailing ship but because the cannons are different to those found inshore, this suggests the sites could represent two separate wrecks. It is possible that the Chesil Beach cannon sites could be the Dutch West Indiaman ‘De Hoop’ which stranded at Chesil Cove in 1749 and British cargo vessel ‘Squirrel’ which stranded on Chesil Beach in 1750.

88mm deck gun from the First World War German UC-70 minelaying submarine. (c) Historic England

The First World War U-boat that has been granted protection is a German Imperial Navy UC-70 mine-laying submarine which was commissioned in 1916. The submarine conducted 10 patrols and sank 40 ships during the war before being bombed on 28 August 1918 with the loss of all its crew. The UC-70 is representative of the Type UC II class of submarines; the most successful submarine design in history. The submarine was discovered as part of Historic England’s recent work to research and survey First World War submarine losses within UK territorial waters around England.

UC-70 First World War minelaying submarine control room. (c) Historic England

John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: “It’s important that we protect these two sites that are part of our country’s seafaring and naval history. The shipwreck off Chesil Beach is a rare discovery and by protecting it we can encourage further study of the site. The listing of the U-boat wreck off Whitby is also particularly poignant, as we continue to mark the centenary of the First World War and remember the sacrifices of those who fought 100 years ago.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “These wrecks are separated by 280 miles and almost 300 years but they both comprise important elements of our maritime heritage. The importance of the UC-70 lies in its historical interest and the vulnerability of its component parts as well as its sensitivity as a war grave. The Chesil Beach wreck site is also important but for different reasons – it’s rare to discover wooden ships of this age surviving on the seabed with so many cannons.”

Historic England is also investigating the new discovery of a shipwreck at Tankerton, near Whitstable in North Kent, which comprises the bottom timbers of an oak-built boat. The wreck was discovered by a group of local volunteers. Tree-ring dating is being undertaken to determine the age of the ship which is estimated to be between 1200AD -1800AD.

For more information, please visit www.HistoricEngland.org.uk.

Competitions

WIN a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch!

This torch delivers 1200 lumens of light powered by an ion rechargeable battery. There are 4 levels of brightness with burn times between 2-20 hours. Battery charge level is indicated via coloured lights around the on/off button. The beam angle is 10°. The anodised aluminium alloy housing sealed by double ‘O’ rings with a max operating depth of 100m. SRP £125.00 which includes torch, charging cradle and battery.

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported via the Marine Conservation Society that the UK’s landmark post-Brexit fisheries legislation has now become law. The Fisheries Act is the first legislation of its kind in nearly how many years?

Is it:

  • A) 60
  • B) 50
  • C) 40

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Liquid Sports Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch November 2020

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Liquid Sports and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 06/01/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Gear News

Northern Diver Christmas Sale starts TODAY!

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This year Northern Diver’s Christmas offers are starting on Black Friday and running until midnight on New Year’s Eve! 

There are some great deals to be had across the site – www.ndiver.com – from discounted Drysuits and Coltri compressors to 15% off their entire Lighting Section!

And if you can’t find the perfect present for the diver in your life, they have a choice of Gift Cards on offer. They are even giving you £25 extra when you purchase a £100 voucher!

The offers don’t stop there – there is FREE shipping on all orders over £100 and even a FREE gift with every online purchase.

Every purchase will get you entered into a great prize draw to win one of their new Electracore 3.0mm Rechargeable Heated Vests!

And should you find that you need to return any of your purchases, Northern Diver understand that Christmas may be a little different for everyone this year and you may not get to see every one over Christmas, so they have extended their Returns Period to the end of January 2021. (Valid for purchases made from Black Friday to end of December 2020).

Some unmissable offers to look out for are the Varilux Zoom, part of the Varilux Black & Gold Range, with its variable beam width; and Northern Diver’s 4mm compressed Neoprene Drysuit, the Voyager, which is on offer for an incredible £475!

For more information visit the Northern Diver website by clicking here.

Photo credit: Joe Duffy

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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