Surveying shipwrecks is an important part of the work carried out under the INFOMAR programme. As an island nation, the number of shipwrecks in Irish waters is believed to be somewhere in the region of 18,000 as compiled by the Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU) in the Shipwreck Inventory of Ireland.
To date over 480 surveyed shipwrecks have been recorded in the INFOMAR shipwreck inventory which originated from the work carried out under the Irish National Seabed Survey (1999 – 2005). The database comprises of accurately located shipwrecks (known, unknown and in some cases uncharted), containing detailed information regarding each wreck's condition on the seafloor, its extent, dimensions and water depth. This is possible by means of high resolution multibeam data acquired over the site of the wreck.
Over the past twenty three years the multibeam systems used to map Irish waters has varied from deep water systems to those designed for shallow water surveys. In moving from deep to shallow waters the systems used have advanced to produce higher resolution mapping. These advancements have in turn aided the development of imaging shipwrecks in greater detail.