JOURNAL OF THE PROFESSIONAL
SALVAGING IN FLORIDA WATERS
Forum by John Brandon
This was done on the spot, with the salvors present nominating and electing ten
representatives. Although several members
have changed, this committee of ten, which we chose to call the Historic Shipwreck Salvage
Policy Council (HSSPC), has essentially remained unchanged.
Our members currently consist of Med Fisher, Don Washington, Jack Haskins (who also
sits on the Marine Sanctuary citizens Advisory Council), Pat Clyne, P.T. Rampy, Chuck
Mitchell, Jay Usher, Gordon Cotrell, and myself.
| I then suggested that,
since the Florida Sanctuary management plan and the Florida Submerged Cultural Resource
plan were both on the table at the same time, all groups work together to create one plan
for all of Florida. After all, the
establishment of man made boundaries, such as the Sanctuary, does nothing to alter a
shipwreck's importance or lack therof. They
are still the same sites as they always were. Of course, this approach was much too logical and
might have resulted in saving time, effort, and the tax payers dollars, so it was swiftly
vetoed by the State and Federal bureaucrats present.
I believe that in the final analysis the two plans, when completed, will be
substantially the same with very few differences.
In any event, the first two meetings of our own council were sort of
non-directional discussion periods in an effort to more clearly define exactly what our
mandate was and how to proceed. By the third
meeting I had decided we must try something more definitive so we could move forward. Towards that end I drafted, based on existing
state and NOAA contracts and permits, sample exploration and recovery contracts for the
Marine Sanctuary. At the next meeting I
supplied all members with copies of these documents, and we read and discussed every
paragraph, making changes where the majority thought it necessary.
continued to negotiate with Jim Miller in Tallahassee, Ole Varmer the NOAA attorney, and
Bruce Terrell the NOAA archeologist/historian, Finally,
some gains were made, but much more needed to be accomplished.
| Secretary of State, Sandra
Mortham, appointed her chief cabinet aide, Paul Mitchell, to work with our committee, as
well as the Department of Historical Records and NOAA, to come up with a plan that will
accommodate everyone as nearly as possible and be in the best interest of the people of
Florida and the tax payers. Of course it will
be impossible to please everyone. Some
Federal and State archeologists want absolutely no private sector recovery in the
Sanctuary. On the other hand, some salvors do
not want to work under any type or archeological guidelines, no matter how reasonable. Our committee believed that somewhere in between
these two extreme views there must lie a middle ground which would allow all parties to
get at least what they want. The salvors
should be able to salvage within the Sanctuary, and the archeologists to ensure that is
done in a proper manner. Everyone would have
to give up some things they might have liked...but such is the nature of compromise.
Reprints of "The Best Of Treasure
Quest Magazine" are used with permission from a series of stories in Treasure Quest
by Bob "Frogfoot" Weller, Ernie "Seascribe" Richards and other great modern day treasure hunters.
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