Types of Metal Detecting Activities, page 25:

Underwater Treasure Hunting: Scuba Metal Detecting, Where To Hunt In Shallow Waters, Target Recovery Techniques


Underwater Scuba Treasure Hunter

Scuba Detecting and Shipwreck Diving (see next page) "open more doors" to you than just snorkeling with a metal detector because you can stay underwater longer while exploring various locations at shallow depths (usually less than 20ft deep), and reach the mother-lodes of treasures - ancient shipwrecks, at greater depths. Although both of these two types of underwater metal detecting enable you to enter the amazing world of a genuine undersea treasure hunting and exploration, they require special training, skills and abilities besides just a proficiency in metal detecting.

Before even considering going in the water, you must get sufficient training. Treasure hunting in water is a lot more dangerous than on land. You must learn about currents, wildlife, and the gear that is being used as well as develop skills in using it because it does not take more than a few seconds for something to go terribly wrong underwater. There are many places to get certified in scuba diving, even if you do not live near the ocean.

The knowledge of the water currents is very important in underwater treasure hunting because the currents tell the hunter how the sand is moving and which direction it is moving to, where most of the targets are stuck and deposited. For example, a spiral in the current indicates the sand concentration in that area - a good probability of recovering some interesting finds.

Due to water clarity, temperature and currents, the treasure dives differ from one region to another. Also depth plays a very important role. A ship sunk in fifteen feet of water might be a great beginner dive, but the same ship sunk in 150 feet should be left for the more experienced diver.

Where To Hunt With Scuba In Shallow Waters

1) Treasure hunting with scuba requires that there be at least a couple feet of good visibility.
2) Identify those places where people lose things (expensive sunglasses, rings, necklaces, watches and money) overboard into the water: marinas, boat fuel docks, lakeside bars, etc.
3) Man-made lakes and reservoirs that have covered homesites or small towns may be great locations to search for lost treasures. Old maps and charts will help you locate those towns and villages that went underwater.
4) Shipwrecks positioned at shallow depths (see details in "Shipwreck Treasure Hunting" section on next page).

Metal Detecting & Target Recovery Techniques

Metal detecting and target recovery techniques used in scuba detecting are the same as the ones described in the "Snorkeling With A Metal Detector" section. Basically the search coil should be moved slowly scanning the bottom in front of you. If two treasure hunters are using metal detectors at the same time, they will have to stay approximately 10 to 20 feet apart from one another, or the detectors will "talk" to each other causing false readings.

For thorough area coverage, search in grid patterns marked by rope lines anchored to the bottom with sand screws. Dig deepest targets which most likely to be valuable items.

To read about Salvage Laws, Safety and find out which metal detectors, equipment and accessories should be used for scuba detecting, please visit pages 28, 29, 30 and 31 respectively.

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Sources: "New Jersey Beach Diver" By Capt. Dan Berg