SIDCO is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), corporation dedicated to the proper archaeological preservation of historic shipwrecks and submerged sites for the express purpose of public display and education.
SIDCO has already made a significant contribution to North Carolina's Maritime Historical Preservation with their involvement in archaeological shipwreck surveys on shipwrecks all along the "Graveyard of the Atlantic".
SIDCO is primarily responsible for the discovery of Fort Ocracoke Submerged Archaeological site; was a supporting entity on Blackbeard's flagship, "Queen Anne's Revenge"; and is always being led to new discoveries.
SIDCO was formed in 1996, by a small group of sport divers working from a leaky old boat named "Surface Interval". The beloved patch-work vessel was no cruise ship, but she was all they had at the time.
The decision to form a team was made on her "spongy" old deck, and thus the Surface Interval Diving Company (SIDCO) was born.
SIDCO is planning a "Return to Ocracoke"!
SIDCO divers plan to resume extensive underwater search efforts in Ocracoke Inlet! Since 1998, the team has successfully conducted numerous remote sensing searches and two full archaeological shipwreck surveys in and around the waters of Ocracoke Inlet and Pamlico Sound.
As a result of years of earlier underwater electronic search and survey work, some seven unknown shipwrecks have been located and are awaiting identification by SIDCO survey divers.
In 1997, SIDCO identified the final remains of Fort Ocracoke Submerged Archaeological Site on Beacon Island, in Ocracoke Inlet. The Team then completed a full archaeological investigation, which lasted until 2007.
In 2004, the remains of the lay-ship Fred Walton were located on Hog Shoals at a site called the “Ghostship”. A preliminary investigation was completed in 2009 and a full survey is awaiting funding.
The biggest project in Ocracoke waters, to date, is the search for Blackbeard’s final prize, the French cargo ship, Rose Emelye. This ship was traveling with her sister-ship in October 1718, when captured by Blackbeard and his remaining crew, even after taking the “King’s Pardon” which pardoned him from all earlier crimes. The crew was placed on the empty sister ship and sent on their way. Rose Emelye was taken to Ocracoke, stripped and her cargo of sugar and cocoa and burned “in the inlet…”
The SIDCO Team will be deploying (as soon as workload permits) with a special electronics package to search for several of these historic shipwrecks in Ocracoke Inlet, including the USCG Project, as well as the wreck of, Rose Emelye. Basic funding for this work has been taken from an emergency account. This “emergency” funding will handle limited Project money needs only.
Invite SIDCO to your school, festival
or special event!
Great educational activity
for you and us!
Contact Rob Smith 252-656-8003
by email at
The Lost Tankers
Carteret County - When so many submerged cultural sites exist in a geographical area the size of North Carolina, the identification can become clouded by folklore and inadequate research practices.
Even in today's age of "knowledge", a vast number of mysteries still exist in the Graveyard of the Atlantic.
During World War I & II, the German U-boat records were accurate and precise, while the U.S. Government struggled with the new threat the German submarines brought to the East Coast of America. Even after 70 years, the U.S. records are vague and incomplete, which feeds the mysteries to this day. Read More
Where do the Artefacts go?
In general, the artifacts we recover fall in to two groups, endangered and diagnostic.
Diagnostic artifacts are pieces with important markings or features that will lead us to further information about the wreck itself. A “maker’s mark” on the bottom of a simple coffee mug will date the entire wreck.
Endangered artifacts are pieces of history that could easily be looted by a diver or by other means.
BECOME A SIDCO SUPPORTER
In the late 1990's an
East Carolina University
study showed that
there are between
7,000 to 10,000 shipwrecks
and submerged cultural sites
in North Carolina.
SIDCO has an epic
job to do!
The SIDCO Lab
Since the founding of the team in 1996, the need for a full-time artifact conservation facility and a laboratory was recognized.
Starting in 2014, we began to assemble a facility and to purchase and/ or fabricate equipment. The facility was designed and is conducted in accordance with Dr. Donald Hamilton’s conservation manual; Methods of Conserving.
“Our relationship with SIDCO has been extremely gratifying, and I often use it as an example of what can be accomplished through the cooperative efforts or avocational and professional archeologists. We have all been impressed by the seriousness and commitment with which SIDCO has approached their projects and the level of skill they have developed in site mapping and other aspects of underwater archeological research. They have certainly demonstrated that their primary goal in exploring shipwrecks is the pursuit of information and the sharing of that knowledge with the public.”
Richard W. Lawrence, Unit Head
NC Department Cultural Resources 1999
"This company's exertions to locate, investigate, record, and preserve various shipwrecks and other submerged sites around Carteret County's navigable waterways at virtually no cost to the taxpaying public is commendable and greatly appreciated among the cultural resource specialists and historical
preservationists in the state.
But as any endeavor undertaken around the water, these efforts cost money and this group has been able to make tremendous strides through self-sacrifice and the generous
contribution ofvariousinkind services and equipment, but without the benefit of any major funding source(s). Their continued success will have to rely upon the generosity of others like yourself and with whatever support and help you are able to provide."
David D. Moore
Blackbeard Shipwreck Project 1999
"For a number of years SIDCo has engaged in several maritime archaeological projects in this area which have been of great benefit
and interest to the maritime history of the North Carolina coast. I have had occasion to consult with Robert K. Smith a number of times over the years and find his company to be an honorable and professional organization fully dedicated to the cause of North Carolina maritime history. As a Civil War historian, the recent discovery of the remains of Fort Ocracoke off Beacon Island by his company has been a source of considerable excitement and anticipation. I have no doubt this find will prove to be a goldmine of valuable artifacts and historic
knowledge concerning the early
Civil War defenses of North Carolina."
Historic Site Manager
Fort Macon State Park
In Memory of Earl W. O'Neal, Jr.
July 27, 1929 - May 26, 2017
Earl W. O'Neal, Jr.
SIDCO Chairman, Board of Trustee's
2004 - 2017
Earl O’Neal Jr. was one of the finest men I have ever known. Earl was born on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, where his family roots run deep and long. The O’Neals have been living on Ocracoke since colonists first built permanent homes there.
Earl is the author of a number of books, covering such topics as the Coast Guard and Navy base during World War II, the history of island families and an autobiography titled One Boy’s Life. He designed Ocracoke’s Civil War marker that is part of the Dare County Civil War Trail and was instrumental in the placement of two World War II markers on the island. He lectures about island history and has served as chairman of various Ocracoke boards and committees. He was a director of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras and an associate for the Outer Banks History Center in Manteo.
In 2009 Earl was awarded North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, for service to his community. Read More
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LIES BENEATH THE SEA
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