Once the Heritage Conservation Act provision kicks in, no person can damage or alter a heritage wreck or remove any heritage object from a heritage wreck, without a permit from the provincial archaeologist. The goal of the permitting process is to ensure that a record is kept of any disturbances to a site, that any artifacts recovered receive proper conservation treatment, and that they are stored in a public institution available to the public and researchers for study. The provincial Archaeology Branch administers all site permit applications and is responsible for all enforcement activities. The UASBC serves much like “neighborhood watch” for underwater archaeological sites. If we learn of individuals or groups conducting unauthorized activities on a wreck, this information will be passed on the BC Archaeology Branch for follow-up. At the UASBC our motto is “take only photos, kill only time and leave only bubbles”.
The Heritage Conservation Act can be viewed here: http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_96187_01