NOAA Returns 100-Year-Old Anchor to Sea

Protected historical resource available to divers

August 11, 2011
rusty old anchor

The anchor’s age qualifies it as a historical resource protected under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act and other federal and state laws. Archaeologists advised that the anchor be immediately returned to the sea in order to prevent it from deteriorating.

On Aug. 11, NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, with logistical support from the City of Monterey Harbor Office, returned to the sea a 100-plus-year-old anchor inadvertently snared in a purse sein net during a commercial fishing operation last month in northern Monterey Bay.

Federal and state marine archaeologists determined the iron, 12-foot, 3000- to 4000-pound admiralty-style anchor was likely manufactured sometime between 1850 and 1900 for use on large sailing ships. Such anchors were phased out of service in the early 20th century and were subsequently used to secure objects such as barges and buoys.

The anchor’s age qualifies it as a historical resource protected under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act and other federal and state laws. Archaeologists advised that the anchor be immediately returned to the sea in order to prevent it from deteriorating.

The anchor was placed in seawater 30 feet deep on a sand bottom east of Wharf II. The location is near a sunken WWII amphibious landing craft and a 60-foot sailboat frequently visited by local divers.

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary stretches along 276 miles of the central California coast and encompasses 6,094 square miles of ocean waters. The sanctuary protects several hundred shipwreck sites and the artifacts associated with those sites.

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