Anchoring the African Maritime Heritage Story

Inaugural Maritime Heritage Conference

Inaugural Maritime Heritage

Conference and Maritime Careers and Jobs Expo

The 2019 Inaugural Maritime Heritage Conference was a resounding success. Thanks to all who participated in every possible way. Your invaluable contribution is highly appreciated. The report thereof will be shared in due course, so are the details for the 2020 Conference programme.

Chronicling Our Underwater  Heritage 

The heritage legislation in South Africa has recognised the importance of protecting maritime culture for many years, and national legislation has included the protection of shipwrecks as early as 1979.  Heritage is the full range of our inherited traditions, monuments, objects, and culture. Most important, it is the range of contemporary activities, meanings, and behaviours that we draw from them.

It is both tangible and intangible, in the sense that ideas and memories – of songs, recipes, language, dances, archival documents, oral histories, the stories of indigenous cultures that have lived and used the oceans for centuries and many other elements of who we are and how we identify ourselves – are as important as historic shipwrecks, historical buildings and prehistoric archaeological sites.

Preserving African Maritime History

Our aim is to create awareness around the historical significance of African Maritime records whilst preserving, interpreting and advancing our maritime heritage.

Devoted To Propagation, Education & Training and Awareness Creation – Dedicated To African Maritime Heritage

Contextualising the Geographical Setting

South Africa is the only country on the African continent that has access and control over sea waters covering an area equivalent to 1.6 million km² with a coastline of 3924 km – from the Atlantic Ocean in the west, Southern Ocean to the Antarctic and Indian Ocean in the east.


It has been a major player in African maritime archaeology for many years and its history is much intertwined with maritime and underwater heritage elsewhere in the world. The South African maritime resources are vast, including almost 3,000 shipwrecks, land-based maritime sites as well as a myriad of living heritage resources connected to the maritime landscape.

“It can be the platform for political recognition, a medium for intercultural dialogue, a means of ethical reflection, and the potential basis for local economic development. It is simultaneously local and particularly, global and shared. 


Maritime heritage is a way to connect all of us to the ocean and inland waterways, not just those living along the coast and river/lake/dam banks.”

- Maritime Heritage Institute

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