• Spring-time view of the seashore, with shorebirds returning to the surf.

    Cape Hatteras

    National Seashore North Carolina

Reporting Shipwrecks

An unidentified shipwreck piece on the beach.

An unidentified shipwreck piece.


Today as you explore the beaches of Cape Hatteras, keep in mind that, if you come across a shipwreck or wooden piece, it is a protected resource. The National Park Service protects the beach shipwrecks on park grounds through the Archeological Resource Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 470ee). The North Carolina State Archeology Office protects endangered archaeological sites within the waters of North Carolina through enforcement of the North Carolina Archaeological Resources Protection Act (G.S. 70, article 2) and the "Abandoned Shipwreck Law" (G.S. 121, article 3).

Please report any shipwrecks to a ranger or call the park's Cultural Resource Manager at 252-473-2111 ext 153. You can also use a beach shipwreck report form (click here for instructions).

Did You Know?

Sea Whip, though it looks like a plant, is actually whole colony of animals.

A piece of sea whip that washes up on the beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore is not a plant, but the skeleton of a whole colony of animals. A tiny animal lived in each hole on the yellow, orange or purple stems. It had a mouth, a stomach and eight tentacles to catch food.