Recommendations for the establishment of Underwater Parks in Bayahibe

Indiana University's continuous survey of the Bayahibe area has led to the following recommendations regarding the establishment of shipwreck parks in the greater Bayahibe area.

  1. Prepare a detailed proposal for establishment and development of the park.

    This is a compilation of all site data gathered to this point. It should be presented to an agency that ultimately would support and manage the park. Representatives of local community should also be given copies of the report. Any potential problems regarding the establishment of a park should be addressed at this stage.

  2. Establish park boundaries.

    Clear park boundaries need to encompass all the significant archaeological and biological features of each of the park sites.

  3. Install an appropriate buoy system.

    A spar buoy and at least one mooring buoy should be placed on each of the sites in the park. Spar buoy needs to contain identifying information about the site along with jurisdictional logo of the administrative agency. However, it is not intended for mooring. A mooring buoy (or a system of mooring buoys depending on the size of the site and expected number of visitors) need to placed to prevent anchor damage to the important features of the site and to enhance safety of divers visiting the site.

  4. Place an underwater plaque in a prominent location of each of the sites.

    An underwater plaque should be placed adjacent to each of the sites with a simple message including the site's name, important dates and illustrations, park dedication date, managing agency logo, and acknowledgment of park sponsors.

  5. Create an underwater guide to each of the sites.

    Available to divers and non-diving public, the underwater slate should contain a site plan, archaeological and historical information, safety concerns, and rules of stewardship governing each of the sites.

  6. Create land-based components of the park in a relative proximity to each of the sites.

    This can be a variety of structures: a museum, a small building or a kiosk. In this manner the non-diving community can learn about the sites. Displays or exhibits can be set up, artifacts can be displayed, and brochures and literature regarding the sites can be available. A visitor's center in East National Park would offer not only an understanding of the biological and historical importance of the Park but also a glimpse into the underwater history and marine biology of Saona Island. Recovered artifacts, archival photographs, and current archaeological and biological data can be used to create an exhibit interpreting the cultural, historical and environmental importance of underwater resource preservation.

  7. Publish a brochure about the park.

    The brochure should be a leaflet available to the public both in the land-based component of the park, in resorts and in dive shops and per request from the administrating agency.

  8. Organize a park dedication ceremony

    Organize a social event for the opening of each of the park sites. The public should be invited, along with the diving, academic, and government communities. The press should be contacted to ensure adequate coverage.

  9. Establish site monitoring procedures.

    This is a key element to parks' success. The sites must be monitored to ensure that no harm is being done and to assess any changes (both positive and negative) in the features of the sites.

  10. Encourage continuous public involvement in the protection and monitoring of the park.

    The local community and the diving community should be involved in monitoring the park and in educating the divers about its cultural importance and biological significance and the scientific community should be encouraged to use the site as a field r esource for students and professionals alike.

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Last updated April 27, 2003
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