National marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers closed to the public; waters remain open

NOAA's national marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers are currently closed to the public, and in accordance with Executive Order 13991 - Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask Wearing, all individuals in NOAA-managed areas are required to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on mask-wearing and maintaining social distances. Sanctuary waters remain open for responsible use in accordance with CDC guidance, U.S. Coast Guard requirements, and local regulations. More information on the response from NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries can be found on

Robert Schwemmer

Robert Schwemmer

West Coast Regional Maritime Heritage Coordinator

Robert Schwemmer is currently the West Coast Regional Maritime Heritage Coordinator for NOAA-Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. He coordinates and conducts archaeological surveys and research for the five National Marine Sanctuaries located along the Pacific West Coast. This work includes recording and mapping submerged sites utilizing SCUBA equipment, submersibles and remotely operated vehicles (ROV). Deep-water projects include working from a submersible to perform a site assessment of the shipwreck Montebello, a WWII era oil tanker located at a depth of 900 feet off Cambria, CA. Expeditions utilizing ROVs in California waters include a site assessment of the shipwreck Pacbaroness, a bulk carrier located at a depth of 1500 feet off Point Conception, as well as the first archaeological survey of the USS Macon, a 785-foot U.S. Navy dirigible lost off Point Sur and now resting in 1500 feet of water. Schwemmer has worked with other NOAA scientists on projects in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Arctic, Great Lakes and assisted topside during the recovery of the gun turret from the civil war navy ship USS Monitor off Cape Hatteras, NC. More recently he has been conducting shipwreck reconnaissance expeditions at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary that resulted in the discovery the shipwreck George E. Billings, a five-masted lumber schooner sunk of Santa Barbara Island. Schwemmer has been actively involved in designing NOAA shipwrecks for local museums and visitor centers. After a 16-year career in the motion picture industry, Schwemmer became engaged in maritime research as a consultant to federal and state government agencies, including the private sector. Past projects have included research to develop shipwreck assessments for the Channel Islands National Park and Sanctuary, Dry Tortugas National Park and creation of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary shipwreck database. Schwemmer currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and is the current President of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Society. In 2012, Robert Schwemmer received the Award of Operational Merit from the United States Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security for his exceptional service during the historic and unprecedented underwater assessment of the shipwreck Montebello.

Contact Information

Phone: 805-893-6428

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