The work that takes place on the protected wreck sites is incredibly diverse. The Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 licensing system utilises the volunteer role of Licensee to involve individuals with sites as effective voluntary custodians. Licensees have in many cases been involved with the sites over many years; statistics from a survey undertaken by Historic England in 2011 showed that over 37% of licensees had been involved with the sites for ten years or more. Their support, commitment and enthusiasm for these nationally important sites is crucial for furthering understanding of these sites, enabling stewardship and under-pinning effective management of them into the future.
Licensees play a key role in the management of the sites designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973, a fact recognised by Historic England through their status as official Historic England affiliated volunteers. This was a formal way for Historic England to recognise the valuable contribution made by Licensees and their teams and the fact they give their time and expertise free of charge.
In addition, Protected Wreck Association members also work on sites designated or scheduled under other cultural heritage legislation around the coast of the UK, such as the Ancient Monuments & Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. The following case studies represent just some of the work currently being undertake.