Project BALTACAR made unique underwater heritage more accessible
The well-preserved wrecks in the Baltic Sea waters are unique in the world. The underwater landscape is a special environment resulting from a long seafaring history and good preservation conditions. The remains of shipwrecks in Estonian, Finnish and Swedish waters often sit upright with masts and rigging still intact. In this aspect, the Baltic Sea is a giant underwater museum waiting to be visited.
The project "Baltic History Beneath Surface: Underwater Heritage Trails In Situ and Online" developed safe ways for tourists visiting some well-preserved underwater sites in the Baltic Sea. People interested in maritime history, shipwrecks, and diving can now make a digital visit or come in real life close to the wrecks on or beneath the water surface.
In project BALTACAR, partners responsible for the management and preservation of sensitive underwater cultural heritage (UCH) from three neighbouring countries worked together with partners in tourism. Together the partners made the underwater cultural heritage more visible, more accessible and safer.
The selected UCH sites in Finnish, Swedish and Estonian waters were properly documented. The collected historical information, 3D and photogrammetry images, and wreck cards can be used when planning and preparing for the dive. It provides divers and non-divers a virtual diving experience. For many potential visitors, the first contact with the dive park will be digital. That is why the produced materials and the interactive website are so important.
The new underwater infrastructure to selected wreck sites consists of mooring buoys for the boats bringing visitors to the sites and underwater information signs along the dive trails with basic information about the wrecks. The signs include a map displaying the location of the visitor, which makes it safer and easier to orientate under water.
The project results, publications and handbooks are free of use for all interested. The website contains materials, information on the developed attractions, the diving destinations of the region, and on what you need to know for travelling.
The project has already served as an inspiration to others planning to establish dive parks in their region.