The William Salthouse is one of Victoria's oldest and most important wrecks. It was the first merchant vessel to sail between Canada and Port Phillip and was flouting British Navigation Laws when it did so. It is archaeologically significant for its evidence of ship construction, cargo stowage and cargo types. It is educationally and recreationally significant as the wreck of an intact wooden merchant ship with its early cargo intact. As a Protected Zone it may only be dived with a permit from Heritage Victoria.