North Carolina’s heritage is linked to the sea and much of our maritime heritage exists on the bottom of the ocean, inlets, estuaries and rivers of northeast North Carolina. The UNC Coastal Studies Institute, and partners from East Carolina University and NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, seek to increase our understanding of the state’s maritime history by locating, mapping, and preserving shipwrecks in their natural state. More than 2,000 shipwrecks rest beneath the waves and inland waterways of North Carolina’s coast, including 80 shipwrecks from World War II.

On a coastline littered with vessels wrecked by storms, wars, poor navigation, and the shifts of a dynamic coast, North Carolina’s estuaries and coast can be appreciated as an underwater history museum, a thriving habitat for fish, and a solemn graveyard.

Our Maritime Heritage

Maritime Heritage from UNC-CSI on Vimeo.

Battle of the Atlantic in North Carolina Waters from UNC-CSI on Vimeo.

Battle Of the Atlantic: Exploring the Dixie Arrow from UNC-CSI on Vimeo.

Battle of the Atlantic: Exploring the Kashena from UNC-CSI on Vimeo.

Battle of the Atlantic Biological Survey from UNC-CSI on Vimeo.

Battle of the Atlantic: Site Mapping from UNC-CSI on Vimeo.

Additional Resources

If you would like to know more about our maritime heritage, please click on the following links:
UNC Coastal Studies Institute
East Carolina University’s Program in Maritime Studies
NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary
NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Maritime Heritage Program
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
The Outer Banks Visitor’s Bureau

Reading Suggestions from Manteo Booksellers

Manteo Booksellers • 105 Sir Walter Raleigh Street, Manteo • (252) 473-1221 •

Shipwrecks of the Outer Banks: An Illustrated Guide by Kevin P. Duffus Paperback $24.95
Illustrated history of dozens of shipwrecks along the Outer Banks with GPS coordinates. Color & black & white photos and illustrations.

Shipwrecks of Noth Carolina: From Hatteras Inlet South and Shipwrecks of North Carolina: From the Diamond Shoals North by Gary Gentile. Paperback $20.00.
Written for divers, but the brief histories, as well as the historical & current dive photos, will be of interest to anyone studying the shipwrecks along the Outer Banks. Black & white and color.

Fire on the Beach: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers by David Wright & David Zoby. Paperback $24.99
While the focus of this book is on the liesavers who heroically rescued sailors in distress, you will feel the power and destructivness of the ocean through the powerful storytelling of the authors.

Reading Suggestions from UNC Press

UNC Press • 116 South Boundary Street, Chapel Hill, NC •

Pirates, Privateers, and Rebel Raiders of the Carolina Coast by Lindley S. Butler

Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals: The Mystery of the Carroll A. Deering by Bland Simpson

Graveyard of the Atlantic: Shipwrecks of the North Carolina Coast by David Stick

Teach’s Light: A Tale of Blackbeard the Pirate by Nell Wise Wechter

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