The Garpen 1 wreck was found by amateur divers

In the late 1960s, members of the Aqua Divers Club were searching for shipwrecks related to the Battle of Gangut, also known as the Battle of Rilax, which was fought in 1714. In the open sea area west of Hanko near a group of small islands around Garpen Island, they found a wreck of a large, approximately 35-metre wooden-hulled ship at a depth of 12 metres.

However, the wreck had the distinctive features of a 19th century ship, i.e. it was a type of brig, with a double mast and a hull clad in copper. The wreck was named after the small islands nearby.

Diver on the bow of the wreck.

According to research, the ship dates from the 19th century

The wreck was studied by marine archaeologists and amateur divers in the 1970s. Many loose artefacts, such as telescopes, bottles, porcelain objects, ink bottles, etc. were lifted to the surface. These objects are stored in a collection at the Hanko Museum and date back to the 19th century.

This wreck is estimated to be the remains of the brig Conservativ, which was en route from Glasgow, Scotland to Kronstad, Russia and which sank with her ballast cargo near Hanko in October 1847. The crew was rescued from the accident. Parts of the wreck and its boats were auctioned the following summer in Tammisaari.

The wreck is a well-known dive site

The wreck has long been a popular dive site. It lies over on its side at a depth of about 8 to 12 metres. Although its structures have collapsed, the wreck is spectacular and it is considered a wonderful dive site.

Remains of the wreck in a good visibility.

In the clear water, you can explore the surviving parts of the ship, such as the stern winch and bow anchor windlass. The copper on the outer surface of the hull suggests long-distance journeys. This is because when such a ship sailed out of the Baltic Sea, the function of the copper trim was to protect the wood from shipworm, a pest species only found in salty water.

Garpen is involved in the Finnish Heritage Agency's EU-project Baltacar, which improves the accessibility to wrecks by installing buoys, signposts, and ropes. The Garpen also has a surface mooring buoy, from which a guide rope leads down to the wreck.

Read more about the wreck in webpage or Project Baltacar webpage.

Why and how is this site protected?

Wrecks are fixed ancient remnants protected by the Antiquities Act (295/1963). The law protects all wrecks and parts thereof that can be presumed to have sunk at least 100 years ago. Although diving to wrecks protected by the Antiquities Act is permitted, it is prohibited to tamper with or dive inside a wreck.

Learn more about wreck protection in the Cultural environment service window!


It is allowed to dive to the wrecks freely, but touching and harming the wreck is not allowed.

More details about wrecks as dive site in the Muinaispolut- webpage.

Finnish Heritage Agency's mapservice

N: 6640854, E: 261921 (ETRS-TM35FIN)