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Diving Guidelines for New York's Shipwreck Preserves

The Lake George dive sites have separate lighted marker buoys (orange can buoys) and blue and white mooring buoys. The Lake Champlain dive site has a single large yellow marker buoy as required by the US Coast Guard. Users moor to the shackle underneath the buoy.

You must follow these general diving guidelines, as well as any special guidelines for specific historic shipwreck dive sites.

  • Diving The Sunken Fleet of 1758, The Forward Underwater Classroom and the Champlain II is on a first-come, first-served basis. All are open into the autumn.
  • Access to the Champlain II in the Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserve is free of charge but divers must register annually prior to using the Preserve System. Go to Vermont Underwater Historic Preserves (link leaves DEC website) to register.
  • To dive the Land Tortoise Radeau Preserve, you must register and be assigned a time slot. Please register at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation booth at Lake George Beach, located at the south end of the lake on Beach Road (518-668-3352).
    • Diving the Radeau is by registration only. The Radeau Preserve is open from the second Saturday of June through Labor Day.
    • Bottom sediments are easily disturbed; visibility may be extremely limited.
    • Auxiliary air (pony tank and regulator) are required when diving the Land Tortoise Radeau Preserve.

Safety Guidelines for All Submerged Preserve Sites

Before You Dive

  • All persons using the Submerged Heritage Preserves must be certified divers.
  • Please note the Emergency Contacts section before diving.
  • The mooring buoy is a fair-weather mooring only. Do not tie up to the mooring during high winds. Very large boats should not tie up to the mooring.
  • Dive boats and divers are required by law to use the red-and-white dive flag.
  • Only one dive boat can be tied to the mooring buoy at a time. Moor only to the mooring buoy.
  • To avoid anchor damage to wrecks, you must not anchor within 500 feet of a mooring.  
  • Your dive boat should be tied to the mooring buoy for only the duration of the dive. Please cooperate.

While You're Diving 

  • Dive with a dive buddy.
  • Descend the mooring cable to the anchor and follow the trail line to the site. Pay attention to the underwater signage.
  • Divers must remain within 100 feet of the dive flag.  
  • Maintain proper buoyancy and control at all times.
  • Monitor your air supply and bottom time carefully.
  • Do not touch any part of the shipwrecks because they are fragile.
  • Be courteous to neighbors. Do not approach or use any private docks in the vicinity of the preserves.
  • It is unlawful for other boats to approach within 100 feet of the dive flag.

After Your Dive

  • When finished diving, please leave the site promptly.
  • Help curb the spread of zebra mussels. Clean your gear thoroughly when moving from one body of water to another.

Emergency Contacts

In an emergency, dial 911; from a cellular phone, dial *911. Law enforcement agencies and marinas monitor Marine Channel 16. Divers Alert Network (DAN) (link leaves DEC website): 919-684-9111.

Since 1993, all three shipwreck preserve sites on Lake George have been vandalized. Vandalism threatens the continuation of these sites for sport divers. Report vandalism to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (see address and phone number below) or the Warren County Sheriff's Office.

Questions or comments concerning the Submerged Heritage Preserve program should be directed to:

Department of Environmental Conservation
Submerged Heritage Preserves
Region 5
Route 86, Box 296
Ray Brook, NY 12977-0296
Telephone: 518-897-1276

 
 
 
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  • NYSDEC
    Submerged Heritage Preserves
    Region 5
    Route 86, Box 296
    Ray Brook, NY 12977-0296
    518-897-1276
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