Often times, underwater is where the best treasures are found – just ask any pirate! Thousands of people lose items in bodies of water every day.

Because those areas are not as hunted as places on dry land, your chances of finding valuables is far greater when you hunt in the water. If you haven’t tried underwater metal detecting yet, you should. Here are some tips to help you get started.

#1 Choose the Right Metal Detector

This decision should be based on the bodies of water that you want to search – freshwater or salt water.

If you are going to hunt freshwater lakes, rivers, or other bodies of water, you should use a very low frequency (VLF) machine such as the Minelab Exaclibur II metal detector. They have great sensitivity and will detect even small or thin targets like bracelets and rings.

For salt water, you will want to use a pulse induction (PI) detector. They are not as affected by wet sand and ground mineralization. However, they are not as sensitive as VLF detectors so you may find yourself spending more time sorting. Check out the Aquascan Aquapulse AQ1B which many consider one of the best underwater PI detectors on the market today.

#2 Choose the Right Accessories

Make sure that you have waterproof headphones, they sometimes come with the metal detector. They will help cut out external noise and let you focus on deep targets. Additionally, you will need a carry bag for transporting your detector, a trowel and at least one sand scoop. Having a sand scoop will save you a lot of time.

#3 Use the Right Settings

Adjust your settings for underwater hunting based on how far underwater you plan to search and what type of targets you are looking for. To get the right frequency, test your detector on the kind of targets you are looking for (jewelry, coins, etc.).

#4 Use the Right Technique

How you hunt in underwater metal detecting is important. Work in slow, consistent motions. You may want to come up with an imaginary path to follow, covering it exhaustively before heading to the next area. To learn more about using the right technique, check out some of our beach and water books.

#5 Search the Right Areas

When you are deciding which areas to hunt, consider the places that have the most traffic. The more people who have visited the area, the greater your chances of finding lost valuables. Additionally, plan your time so that you are hunting in the daytime, it’s not easy to hunt and separate trash from treasure in the dark.

#6 Have the Right Timing

Underwater metal detecting success is almost always dependent on Mother Nature, so it’s important that you understand it. When you are beginning to search beaches, make sure that it is a little before low tide. This will give you the best results for finding targets in the deeper areas of the ocean. Use the currents to lead you to high potential sand. Search areas where you see water movements because a lot of sand will be carried there by the current. Keep in mind that the ocean movements often carry items that are about the weight and deposits them together in sand pockets. That means that if you come across a few coins, you should keep searching the same area.

Like any other metal detecting, underwater hunting takes some practice. But when you follow the tips above, you will have a great start to finding underwater treasures.