Southern Ocean Exploration

Formed in 2003 by Mark Ryan & Greg Hodge as a vehicle to allow them to follow their passion for the research, locating & diving of Deep Shipwrecks. With some initial success & the need for support crew, team numbers soon grew.
Peter Taylor was our number one choice, a fellow committee member of the MAAV and an authority on shipwreck research, his input into our projects has been invaluable.
Martin Tozar with his love for shipwrecks and passion for Maritime Archaeology soon had him as a key team member.

Over the years we have continued to cultivate team numbers, and as more and more divers are learning of the work which we do they are wanting to participate and assist. SOE is a self funded organization, with all members covering their own costs.

To research, locate, dive, conduct pre-disturbance survey and report on shipwrecks in Australian waters.

The study of shipwreck incidents through newspapers articles, published books and manuscripts, photographic collections, State and local libraries as well as other archive or historic sources.

To conduct on-water searches using Global Positioning Systems, echo sounder, sonar and magnetometer, based upon the data and information from the research activities.

To conduct pre-planned, safe, scuba dives on sites to positively identify the shipwreck and then to further survey the site in accordance with the principles of our AIMA/NAS training and the diving procedures of Southern Ocean Exploration.

Pre-Disturbance Survey
To collect further information and relevant data about the site to allow the development of a site plan and where possible a site model in accordance with the principles of our AIMA/NAS training. This survey activity supports the work of the professional maritime archaeologists.

To produce written and video reports which will be provided to the appropriate Government authorities.



Southern Ocean Exploration, by its name, is committed to promoting exploration of our maritime heritage around Southern and South Eastern Australia. This commitment is exemplified in our guiding principles.

We encourage, promote, participate and conduct appropriate and ongoing training in diving techniques, methods, skills and maritime archaeology.

Preserving our underwater Maritime Heritage
Shipwrecks are the archaeological record of a precise moment in time. Once damaged, disturbed or lost they cannot be replaced.

In all land based and on/underwater activities, safety is the primary concern for every team member. Our procedures and risk mitigation strategies are designed to put safety first and deliver successful, repeatable outcomes.



    Southern Ocean Exploration is a not-for-profit group governed by a set of key principles:

  • Only dive with like-minded divers displaying the correct attitude in a unified Team.
  • Only dive within their certification level and to depths at which they are current.
  • Conduct all diving operations in accordance with the Southern Ocean Exploration Diving Operations Manuals.
  • Support other like-minded organisations and teams and to assist other divers in wreck diving.
  • Provide all data and information to the relevant government authority free of charge.
  • Are Australasian Institute of Maritime Archaeology/National Archaeology Society trained.
  • Support the principles of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage of 2 November 2001.
  • Support the principles International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Burra Charter.