If you’re a detectorist who lives near a coast, you’re lucky. You have access to some of the greatest places to metal detect.
Beaches are an amazing place to find coins and rings that people have dropped, but getting into the water to hunt can offer even greater finds.
You don’t have to suit up with scuba gear to find quality targets in the water – although you certainly can if you want to. There are several affordable detectors that can be submerged up to 100 feet.
But if you’re not comfortable going too deep, you can slap on some snorkel gear and stay in shallow water. Even at that depth you have the potential to find modern-day treasures or some long-submerged shipwreck treasure.
If you don’t live near the beach, you can still find targets in streams, lakes and rivers.
Hunting in or underwater is different than digging in dry soil. Here’s what you need to know.
Get a Good Waterproof Detector
Most detectors come with waterproof coils, but unless you’re hunting in a shallow stream or just the edge of a shoreline, that’s not going to be enough. You’ll want a solid underwater metal detector, like the Garrett AT Pro or the Minelab Excalibur II.
Make Sure You Have the Proper Gear for Your Feet
When you’re hunting in water, you’ll want protection for your feet. Whether it’s boots for rocky creek beds or water shoes or fins for working in the ocean, you need to keep your feet away from danger.
In Addition to a Shovel, You’ll Want a Scoop
When you’re underwater or on the shoreline, things can be difficult to dig with a shovel, and on top of that, items can be hard to grab even when you do see them. The slightest movement on the ground can stir up all kinds of sediment when you’re underwater. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a scoop with you.
The scoops have small holes all over so the sand simply falls out with a little bit of shaking. Your treasure will remain in the scoop. It makes detecting underwater so much easier and cuts back on the frustration level. Then when you’re done with your water hunt, you can also use the scoop on the beach.
Go to Popular Beach Spots
Hitting the most popular areas of the surf when you’re hunting on the beach is a good strategy. That area might yield a lot of rings for you to find. People routinely go into the water with their jewelry on, and the slippery salt water, combined with the powerful tide, yanks a lot of it off.
Go During the Day
This should be a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many detectorists think they can keep detecting well into the nighttime hours. Nighttime detecting underwater is tough. The visibility is gone, which makes it difficult.
On top of that, you have the safety aspect too. If you can’t see much, that means you also can’t be seen very well. If you need help in case of an emergency, you could be out of luck.
Follow the Direction of the Water Current
If you pay attention to the water current, it may help you narrow down your search area. If you know where the sand is moving to, you’ll be able to spot patterns much better. If you see things like a suspiciously sunken area on the bottom, you’ll know to look there.
Don’t Forget the Sunscreen
Detectorists are known to get carried away with their work. We lose track of time easily, and the only thing we’re focused on is our signals. Many of us have fallen victim to horrible sunburns after a day at the beach because we put on sunblock at the beginning of the day and couldn’t tear ourselves away to reapply it.