The numerous archaeological sites found in Scapa Flow reflect the rich historic importance of this natural harbour.
The remaining seven wrecks of the German High Seas Fleet
These wrecks are of national importance. Their scuttling remains the largest intentional sinking in worldwide naval history, and nowhere else in the UK is there such a concentration underwater of early 20th-century warships which together represent the cutting-edge of contemporary technology. The circumstances surrounding the sinking are well-documented, and the event resonates with the public and is part of the national consciousness. In recognition of this importance, the wrecks of the Köln, Dresden, Brummer, Karlsruhe, Kronprinz Wilhelm, König and Markgraf have been protected as scheduled monuments. Divers are welcome to enjoy and respect these wrecks but removal of artefacts from them is illegal.
HMS Vanguard and HMS Royal Oak
In recognition of their war grave status, the wrecks of HMS Vanguard and HMS Royal Oak are protected as Controlled Sites under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. Diving on these wrecks is illegal without the permission of the Ministry of Defence.
How visitors can help
If you are visiting an underwater site in Scapa Flow, take notice of established codes of conduct such as that of the Orkney Dive Boat Owners Association and of the Respect Our Wrecks code of practice for wreck divers.
You can also actively help by reporting discoveries of new sites to the ScapaMap project and by helping us to record existing ones. Should you wish to actively participate in recording projects, you can gain the necessary skills and participate in organised projects run by the Nautical Archaeology Society.
For non-divers, why not get a flavour of what lies under the waves by joining an ROV tour (Roving Eye Enterprises) or visit the Lyness Interpretation Centre.