A Deep Dive Into Underwater Treasure Hunting

Underwater treasure hunting is full of adventure and opportunities to find some really valuable and interesting finds. Whether you are using scuba equipment, snorkeling, or using our new BLU3 Nemo Dive System, you want to know where to hunt, what to expect to find, and what equipment you need. Continue reading for an in-depth look into the exciting world of underwater treasure hunting.

The Different Ways to Treasure Hunt Underwater

Underwater Metal Detecting beach metal detecting

One of the best, most consistent, and thorough ways to find lost treasure is by metal detecting underwater. Whether you want to hunt shipwrecks, along heavily-frequented beaches, or in a river that saw Civil War action, metal detecting gives you options. It can be as simple as purchasing an underwater metal detector and wading into a river or along a beach, or as involved as scuba diving lost shipwrecks. Either way, underwater metal detecting is one of the greatest ways to find valuables and connect to history.

Magnet Fishing

If you have ever gone fishing for bass, catfish, or virtually any other fish in the world, you already have some experience with this one! Magnet fishing at its most basic is essentially tossing a heavy-duty magnet into a body of water, waiting for it to sink to the bottom, and then dragging it along the bottom until you feel something connect. Simply pull the item up and you have successfully recovered an item. This is a fun way to enjoy finding a sunken treasure in deep water.

Snorkeling

Snorkeling and searching for buried treasure with a metal detector is a great way to gain access to deep water situations without needing to use scuba gear. While you will not get the same depth capabilities, snorkeling is much less bulky and less complicated. Depending on where you are planning to hunt, snorkeling with a metal detector might be the best way to approach that particular area.

Scuba Diving scuba diving gear

If you are looking to hunt deep water, this may be your best option. Scuba gear allows you access to some of the deepest shipwrecks and areas of interest that are ripe for the taking of sunken treasure from the seafloor. Many people seeking adventures try to locate lost shipwrecks and go hunt them, and many have succeeded. If you are wanting to hunt anything deeper than rivers and beaches, it will more than likely require you to rent or purchase scuba gear.

Best Places to Look for Underwater Treasure

Rivers

Freshwater rivers are some of the best places to metal detect or treasure hunt in certain areas. Many treasure hunters have pulled up cannonballs, firearms, and other great Civil War relics from streams that saw battle in the war. In addition to Civil War relics, some treasure hunters have found coins, jewelry, and other valuables in these often-forgotten areas. One of the best things about rivers is that in many cases, they are shallow enough to allow for wading with a waterproof metal detector and do not require the use of snorkels or scuba gear.

Lakes lakes

Some metal detectorists and treasure hunters find lakes to be their most productive areas. Try looking for lakes in your area that are visited often and have a beach area, picnic areas, campgrounds, sand volleyball courts, and playgrounds. These areas all produce coins, silver and gold jewelry, and a variety of other valuables. Wading into the water from the beach might be the single best way to find all kinds of jewelry, coins, and other goods that have washed into the surf from the beach. If you want to go a little bit deeper, snorkeling is a great option for this type of treasure hunting.

Beaches

Beaches are hands-down one of the best places to search for valuable jewelry, as the tides from the ocean or wake from the lake help to bring all of the items to the surface of the bottom quite frequently. Many detectorists and treasure hunters like to wade into the deeper water and use their metal detector there, finding all kinds of silver and gold earrings, rings, and watches. This is an especially great place to hunt when it is a heavily visited area.

Oceans

Gold coins, silver coins, gold bars, silver ingots, cannonballs, and much more are ripe for the taking when you decide to hunt the ocean. While deep-water ocean hunting requires scuba gear, this gear is quickly paid for if you happen to stumble across a sunken treasure. From old pirate galleons to more recent shipwrecks, there is no shortage of history and valuables to be recovered as many people search for the various treasure that is said to be still washing up on Florida beaches from various treasure fleets. A popular one being the 1715 Treasure Fleet, a Spanish treasure fleet where 10 Spanish treasure ships were destroyed by a hurricane. Needless to say, the ocean floor is littered with history and valuables just waiting to be found. If you are someone who enjoys adventure, this is hands-down the best way to treasure hunt underwater. 

Underwater Treasure Hunting and Helping the Environment recycling

If there is one thing that plagues bodies of water, it is littering. Whether accidental or intentional, a lot of trash finds its way into lakes, rivers, oceans, and other bodies of water. While metal detectors and magnets won’t pick up on plastic, paper, and other types of non-metallic materials, there is still plenty of trash that they will pick up on. All kinds of rusted iron, aluminum and tin sheets, fishing hooks and lead weights, and other metallic items are in bodies of water for various reasons. These pose a danger to not only animals but people who may happen to swim within that area. As metal detectorists and treasure hunters, one of our duties is to clean up the places we hunt, even if it is not a valuable find. In addition to collecting and discarding this metallic garbage, oftentimes treasure hunters stumble across plastic and paper garbage incidentally, and it is important to clean this up as well. One thing to keep in mind, there are some recycling centers that will pay for scrap metals. In addition, dive shops will often take used lead weights and turn them into dive belts and resell them. At the end of the day, an added benefit of underwater treasure hunting is that it can help our bodies of water and our environment.

Finding Lost Items and Building Connections

Ask any metal detectorist or treasure hunter what one of their best memories is, and more than likely it will involve returning a lost item to someone. While finding something valuable and rare is thrilling, it does not leave you with the deep satisfaction of returning something sentimental to someone. Class rings, wedding rings, jewelry, and other items that have been passed down are among some of the most prized items that people hold dear. Being able to find a name or a school name often leads treasure hunters back to the original owner, providing an opportunity to connect with that person and learn a story that you will remember forever. While jewelry and sentimental items are always great to return, finding a cell phone or wallet and returning it will be very much appreciated as well. Giving back is one of the best ways to enjoy this hobby and is something that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Historical Objects Found While Underwater Treasure Hunting civil war relics

If you are lucky enough to live in an area rich in history, a great way to take advantage of this is by doing some underwater treasure hunting. There are many historical items that are commonly found in or around bodies of water, with some of the most common being Civil War relics, firearms, and a wide variety of other old objects. One of the most cherished items is finding a firearm from the Civil War or Old West era. These firearms are often highly corroded, but they are an excellent piece of history from important times in this country’s past. Another item that is on the wishlist of many is a cannonball from the Civil War or Revolutionary War time period. These cannonballs are heavily corroded but are commonly found in rivers and lakes where battles occurred. A variety of other relics from wartime and peacetime can be found at river crossings, as objects had a way of getting lost in all of the hustle and bustle. Connecting with history through the objects found is easily one of the greatest ways to draw more satisfaction from the hobby of underwater treasure hunting.

Underwater Treasure Hunting Gear

Underwater Metal Detecting

At its simplest, underwater metal detecting requires three things: a waterproof metal detector, a pinpointer, and a digging tool. If you are hunting in freshwater, the Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector is a best-selling favorite, as it picks up on small objects and provides excellent overall performance. If you are hunting saltwater, consider a machine designed to overcome mineralized conditions, such as the Minelab Excalibur II Metal Detector, which combines maximum performance and ergonomics with a budget-friendly price. Pinpointers are important to find exactly where the metal target is once you have dug it up, and one of the best-sellers is the Garrett Pro-Pointer AT, designed to be submersible up to 20 feet. Picking the right digging tool is important for underwater treasure hunting, and one of the best is the RTG 37″ Water Scoop, which allows you to scoop up any object whether you are hunting the water beyond a beach or wading in a river.

Magnet Fishing

Equipment for magnet fishing is quite simple. All you need is a strong magnet and some strong line, and both of these items come with different weight ratings, which influences the price. If you are wanting to magnet fish for your first time, consider the Brute Magnetics 300lb Magnet Fishing Bundle, which has everything you need to get started. If you are looking for higher weight capacity, check out the Brute Magnetics 880lb Magnet Fishing Bundle. Both of these bundles come in a sturdy, heavy-duty box that contains everything you need to start or improve your magnet fishing hobby.

Snorkeling

Using a snorkel to treasure hunt is not a gear-intensive hobby once you have the basics covered, which are: an underwater metal detector, a snorkel, a pinpointer, and a digging tool. If you are looking for the perfect metal detector for your snorkeling adventures, consider looking into the Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II Metal Detector. This metal detector is a best-seller for saltwater conditions, as it uses a pulse induction system to quickly locate metal targets while being a great value. A pinpointer for your underwater excursion is vital, and a great one to use would be the Nokta Makro Pulsedive Scuba Detector, which combines a powerful detection frequency with a great price and superior underwater capabilities. The best digging tool for snorkeling would more than likely be the RTG 2 in 1 Adjustable Handle Scoop, which allows you some control over your ideal length, providing for a more comfortable hunt.

Scuba Diving A view of the BLU3 Nemo diving apparatus

If the thought of being unencumbered by scuba gear or limited by a snorkel appeals to you, the BLU3 Nemo Dive System is hands-down what you are looking for. This excellent piece of equipment will keep you below the surface for a longer period of time with complete hands-free capabilities, allowing you to focus on finding sunken treasure instead of dealing with the bulk of equipment. Hunting with this diving system is much less bulky and far simpler than scuba gear while giving you more depth than snorkeling. As long as the deepest you will go is 10 feet, using a hookah breathing device might be the best way to explore the world of underwater treasure hunting.

Final Word 

While hunting for treasure is a great part of this hobby, there are many other benefits as well. Returning someone’s lost jewelry, watches, or other possession is one of the greatest experiences you can encounter, as you know that you are bringing a sentimental piece of that person’s life back to them. One final great thing about this hobby is that every time you go out and find metal targets, you are helping clean up the environment and keeping the metal from injuring unsuspecting people and animals. No matter which way you decide to enjoy underwater treasure hunting, you will find that it is a great hobby that enables you to change the world one target at a time.

About The Author
John Matuszak
John, a zealous treasure hunter, knew his life was over the moment he watched The Goonies for the first time and realized he had the same name as the actor who played Sloth.