for shipwrecks and diving information on the Web

About™ has been a source of valuable shipwreck and diving information on the Web for well over a decade. It is the official website of the Sea Research Society.™ The Society was chartered in 1972 as a non-profit organization for educational and research purposes. The president of Sea Research Society is Dr. E. Lee Spence.

Join Sea Research Society

Sea Research Society is open to the general public. It has members in dozens of countries around the world. To join click on Sea Research Society.

Shipwreck Artifacts

Sea Research Society's work is partially financed through the sale of authentic shipwreck artifacts and salvaged treasure. Check out: The Dr. E. Lee Spence artifact collection in Sea Research Society's Store. Sea Research Society does not condone or knowingly participate in the sale of illegal artifacts. If you are unsure about the ethics of buying and/or selling legally recovered shipwreck artifacts read Ethics in Underwater Archaeology.

Shipwreck Expeditions

The Society has carried out over 20 major expeditions. Some of them are listed below. A number of them, such as that to the Civil War steamer Georgiana, took place over a period of years.

Hunley Expedition
The Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley was the first submarine in the history of the world to sink an enemy ship. The Hunley succeeded in sinking the USS Housatonic, but never returned from her historic mission. The wreck was discovered by the underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence in 1970. Spence believed that the wreck needed to be preserved for posterity. Underwater Archaeologist George Fischer of the U.S. National Park Service suggested that the best way to do that was to create a not-for-profit research foundation to do the actual raising. The Sea Research Society was chartered in 1972 as part of the efforts to secure permission to raise the Hunley. The idea was that the Society would raise the Hunley and would then donate it to the State of South Carolina. The Society was never able to obtain permission to salvage the wrecked sub, but Dr. Spence returned to the site numerous times to more closely pinpoint and its location. In 1976, the Hunley was nominated by the National Park Service for placement on the National Register of Historic Places on the basis of the Sea Research society's reports of its discovery by Dr. Spence. In 1978, the wreck was officially placed on the National Register and in 1980 Dr. Spence filed a formal claim to ownership of the wreck with the Federal district Court in Charleston. In May of 1995 the Hunley was dug up and video taped by a joint expedition of NUMA and SCIAA (South Carolina Institute of Archaeology & Anthropology), which was directed by Dr. Mark Newell of SCIAA and partially funded by novelist Clive Cussler. That September, at the official request of the South Carolina Hunley Commission, Dr. Spence donated his rights to the wreck to the State. For more on Dr. Spence's discovery of the Hunley and the Society's efforts to raise the wreck see: Discovery of the Hunley. To read one of the many letters relating to the Society's efforts on the Hunley check out: Page one of SRS letter to GSA requesting permission to raise the Hunley; page two of letter to GSA; Spence's letter to the Corps of Engineers; Letter from the Corps of Engineers; 1974 letter from Governor West; Mayor Gilliard's letter; Citadel Archives & Museum's letter.

Georgiana Expedition
(Wreck of the Civil War cruiser Georgiana) See Georgiana photos The Georgiana was lost on her maiden voyage while attempting to run the federal blockade into Charleston, South Carolina. Click here to read about Dr. Spence's discovery of the Georgiana.

Constance Expedition
(Wreck of the Civil War blockade runner Constance Decimer)

Diamond Expedition
(Wreck of the Spanish pirate schooner Diamond, on Cape Romain, South Carolina) See related photos.

Morgan's Cave Expedition
(Expedition to Henry Morgan's ship, lost near Morgan's Head, Catalina Island, Providencia, Colombia, South America)

Vera Cruz Expedition
(Wreck of the City of Vera Cruz, Cape Canaveral, Florida) See Vera Cruz photos.

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