Role and Purpose

The Purpose of SOS

To further public knowledge and appreciation of Ontario’s marine heritage by such means as may be expedient and, in particular, but without limiting the foregoing:

  • By assisting museums and public archives in acquiring information and displaying artefacts pertaining to Ontario maritime history;
  • By undertaking public education projects in furtherance of the objectives of the Corporation;
  • By surveying, documenting and encouraging the preservation of shipwrecks in Ontario’s lakes and rivers as a resource of historical and recreational value to the public in the Province and Canada.

The Role of SOS

Save Ontario Shipwrecks is a not‐for‐profit organization, dedicated to Marine Heritage Conservation. In order to carry out this purpose, four long term goals have been set out:

  • To stop the destruction of marine heritage sites;
  • To identify, evaluate and monitor marine heritage sites;
  • To conduct projects which contribute to the knowledge and understanding of
    Ontario’s maritime history; and
  • To provide the diving community and the general public with the opportunity to learn and understand more about Ontario’s maritime history, and the value of our marine heritage resource.

More Information on SOS

Study

Activities related to the study of Ontario's marine heritage include historical and archival research, oral histories, side scan surveys and underwater archaeological investigations. Through chapter sponsored projects, such as plaques, surveys, buoys and internationally recognized diver training through the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS), we not only help protect our dive sites, but spread the important word to many others. SOS believes in in-situ preservation of artifacts (i.e., leaving them where found) for others to see any time as opposed to expensive preservation and then being hidden from he public in museum collection storage facilities.

Preservation activities

Preservation activities undertaken by SOS members include a mooring program which seeks to minimize anchor damage on sites which are regularly being visited by sport divers. Along with the mooring program, site monitoring and documentation activities help to record and preserve marine heritage sites. Presentations to scuba clubs and training courses highlight the need for all divers to use shipwreck sites responsibly - that is, to minimize the negative impact of their visit to these fragile underwater museums.

Marine Heritage Promotion

We promote an appreciation of Ontario's rich marine heritage through a number of initiatives. SOS members regularly make presentations to scuba training courses, public groups and dive clubs. We design, produce and bring displays about marine heritage to underwater trade shows and conferences. We seek to work very closely with the diving tourism industry to ensure that the rapidly growing heritage tourism initiatives are undertaken responsibly, from the standpoint of site preservation.

Lobbying Efforts

Ontario enjoys one of the finest marine heritage resources of any jurisdiction on the planet, and SOS lobbies all levels of government with a view to developing resource management initiatives which strike an appropriate balance amongst the competing interests of study, preservation and use.

Membership in SOS is open to all persons and organizations with an interest in marine heritage, imposes a duty to act in a responsible manner towards submerged cultural resources and to abide by our mission and ethics. Active participation in our programs can provide an extremely rewarding and satisfying experience for this indeed is an area where an individual can make a very significant and lasting contribution to a worthwhile cause which benefits society as a whole.

So find out what's going on...Come on in! The water's just fine!