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Divers urged to save shipwrecks by holding onto statues of people instead

Life-sized concrete statues of people are being lowered onto the bed of the St. Lawrence River to help protect underwater shipwrecks near Brockville, Ont., some of which date back to the War of 1812.
A group of people trying to preserve Ontario's underwater shipwrecks hopes divers will want to hang onto concrete statues of people instead of deteriorating wood. (Bottom Time Diving)

How do you protect deteriorating underwater shipwrecks from divers? By giving the divers life-sized concrete statues of people to hang onto instead, of course.

Fifteen concrete people already stand on the bed of the St. Lawrence River near Brockville, Ont., and the Thousand Islands region chapter of Save Ontario Shipwrecks is adding another six to its existing underwater diving park.

They're placed there to help protect 25 known underwater wreck sites in the area, some of which date back to the War of 1812.

"It's a lot easier and [causes] less damage when you're holding onto a cement sculpture or an aluminum frame than it is on 200-year-old wood on a shipwreck that has historical significance and that we want to maintain," says Tom Scott, chair of the Thousand Islands chapter of Save Ontario Shipwrecks.

Divers lower a concrete statue of a person sitting at a desk onto the bed of the St. Lawrence River. (Bottom Time Diving)
Is that a smartphone? Interesting choice. (Bottom Time Diving)
Here's a trio of figures looking up. (Bottom Time Diving)
This is one of 25 known shipwreck sites near Brockville, Ont. The concrete statues are supposed to help protect the wrecks by giving divers something else to hang onto. (Bottom Time Diving)

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