• 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?

This artist's rendering shows the U.S.S. Monitor foundering in a storm off of Cape Hatteras in December 1862.

The U.S.S. Monitor sank off Cape Hatteras during a storm in December 1862. The wreck's location was a mystery until 1973 when a research vessel found the ship 16 miles off the cape in 230 feet of water. In 1975, the Monitor was named the nation’s first National Marine Sanctuary.