The UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, adopted in November 2001, is designed to create a legal framework to regulate interference with underwater cultural heritage (UCH) in international waters. This article briefly considers the background to the Convention and discusses its main provisions. These relate to the scope of application of the Convention; its objectives and general principles; its approach to private rights; its treatment of state vessels and the question of sovereign immunity; and its relationship with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982. The article then goes on to examine in detail the control mechanisms that the Convention adopts in respect of each maritime zone and the sanctions that contracting states will be required to impose for violations. Finally, dispute settlement procedures are briefly considered, before the article concludes with comments on the Convention's likely impact and effectiveness.