Once a shipwreck or other maritime archaeological subject of research has been located, the priority is to start with assessing, evaluating and recording the site according to prevailing archaeological standards.

The diver must be able to conduct a hands-on assessment and evaluation of each sonar contact listed in the archaeological analysis. This assessment must include an analysis of the age, physical composition, and structural integrity of the object (i.e., wood or metal, intact or dispersed). Next, an evaluation shall be undertaken to determine if the object is of historical significance. Measured drawings and/or underwater video or still photographs of the sonar feature shall be made for documentation and submitted with the final "Report of Finding".