Science Header
ANCHOR Operators | ANCHOR Contact

ANCHOR Program

The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary has launched a new outreach and conservation initiative known as Appreciating the Nation's Cultural Heritage and Ocean Resources (ANCHOR). ANCHOR is based on two successful Florida dive-related conservation programs. The first is the "Blue Star" program created by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to reduce the impact of divers and snorkelers on the local coral reef ecosystem. The second is the Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar program created by the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) to provide influential figures within the SCUBA diving industry with a greater knowledge of how to proactively protect shipwrecks, artificial reefs and other natural and maritime heritage resources.

ANCHOR's mission is to work in partnership with dive businesses and charter operators to reduce human impacts on shipwrecks and other maritime heritage resources. It will educate local North Carolina businesses and their customers on the value of maritime heritage and the ways in which they can help protect these fragile resources. In collaboration with the local dive operators, the ANCHOR program will inform the public on how to responsibly access the shipwrecks and promote the respectful interactions with shipwrecks as both a maritime heritage resource and as thriving artificial reefs. ANCHOR promotes the crucial principal that all divers and snorkelers can do their part by making sure they do no further harm to our marine resources.

ANCHOR Certification

The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary is committed to working with the State, the local community and divers to preserve and promote North Carolina's maritime heritage. One of the most powerful ways to protect North Carolina's shipwrecks for future generations is by educating local businesses on the value of shipwrecks as a historic and economic resource and giving them the tools to interact with them responsibly. North Carolina's dive charter operators and businesses are the gateway through which the public access these sites. By working in partnership with local business, the Monitor NMS's ANCHOR program provides an opportunity to not only give seasoned SCUBA divers a greater appreciation of North Carolina's shipwrecks, but to also reach a whole new generation of aquatic explorers.

Dive shop operators earn their ANCHOR certification by participating in annual training on issues affecting maritime heritage resources, sanctuary goals, good diving etiquette and incorporating this information into certification classes and dive briefings for their customers. Dive shops are evaluated on their commitment to ensuring local diving tourism is sustainable.

The ANCHOR program is designed to:

  • Form an active partnership with dive and charter operators in North Carolina;
  • Collaborate with the diving community and educate the public about maritime heritage resources;
  • Increase responsible access to maritime resources;
  • Develop greater awareness of North Carolina's maritime history; and
  • Support maritime heritage tourism for local economies.

ANCHOR Operators

When planning a dive to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, support an ANCHOR recognized commercial diving operator and know you are selecting a business dedicated to education and shipwreck preservation.

Dive with an ANCHOR operator today to help maintain these sites for the future!

Current ANCHOR Operators


Aquatic Safaris SCUBA Center - Wilmington, N.C. For more information visit their website.


Discovery Diving - Beaufort, N.C. For more information visit their website.


Roanoke Island Outfitters and Dive Shop - Manteo, N.C. For more information visit their website.


Rum Runner Dive Shop - Winterville, N.C. For more information visit their website.

ANCHOR Contact

For more information on volunteer opportunities with the ANCHOR Program, contact the ANCHOR Coordinator.

. . . . . . . . . . .
NOAA logo
Revised December 12, 2017 by MNMS Webmaster | Office of National Marine Sanctuaries | Privacy Policy | User Survey
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

indicates a link leaves the site. Please view our Link Disclaimer | Contact Us
Main Office: 100 Museum Drive Newport News, Virginia 23606