Hello, Denise here to share our tips for metal detecting at the beach.
Beach hunting is so much fun and can be so rewarding. Every day the tide brings forth new treasure. Even if you cleared it yesterday, something new could be there today. Things are always changing.
We don’t live near the coast, so it’s only a couple of times each year we get to go beach combing when visiting our friends and family on the coast.
Use a beach scoop instead of a shovel
Once you’ve bent down for the 100th time to dig something up, you’ll be wishing you had a beach scoop. Metal detecting anywhere presents challenges, but a beach scoop with a retractable handle will save you a lot of time, as well as your back.
You can use one like this for dry sand. The sand falls out the holes when you shake, hopefully leaving your treasure in the bottom.
I recommend going for a stainless steel one with a handle over the cheaper plastic ones, especially if you’re going to be using it more than a few times. Just remember to hose it off after each use to minimise rusting.
Look for the ‘towel line’ in the sand
On any beach, there’s that line in the sand where beach goers typically put down their towels and other beach gear. This is where you’ll find there more coins per square meter of sand than on other areas of the beach. Also known as the ‘coin line’, it’s a hot spot (ok line) for metal detecting.
If you can, get your hands on a chart of the beach you plan to visit and look for the eddies. These are also hot spots where you’ll tend to find washed up rings and other jewelry items. Look out for the low spots where the jewelry can’t roll up and over.
With the right waterproof metal detector like the Garret AT Pro or the Tesoro Sand Shark, you can take your detector where others can’t go. See our Best underwater metal detector: the ultimate buying guide for more information on waterproof metal detectors.
Start on the hard-packed sand
Look for the hard-packed sand, especially around trenches and scallops caused by waves. When there are shells or pebbles lying on the sand, that’s a good sign. In our experience, it’s not worth spending time on loose sand because it doesn’t contain many good targets.
Beach hunting after a storm
One of the best times to go beach hunting is after a big storm. If the storm has cleared away the top level of sand, you might be lucky to find things have been buried there for a long time that no other beach hunter has found. If the local storm water system drains to the beach, it can flush out items lost on streets and footpaths onto the beach too. However, sometimes storms can bury targets even deeper in the sand.
Use a shoulder harness
If your metal detector has a shoulder harness with a hip attachment, use it! If you’re out swinging your metal detector for a few hours, you’ll get tired.
They’re not very expensive and can give you more time beach detecting.Click to check the price
Know beach hunting etiquette
Because beaches attract large crowds, particularly during the hotter months, you should always use common sense and practice metal detecting etiquette at the beach.
The best time to go metal detecting is after hours – either very early in the morning or in the early evening when the crowds have gone. Or find a stretch of beach in a remote area, away from the crowds.
If there are people around while you’re hunting, stay at least 10 feet away from them. You might find that they claim to own whatever it is you just dug up.
If you’re using a sand scoop to dig up your target, be careful when you shake it out. Try and do it down wind from people and shake it just above the sand so the wind doesn’t blow sand on others – that’s the surest way to annoy people.
If you find something that you think could be identified (for example, a ring with an inscription or an heirloom) then do the right thing and hand it in at the local police. If it’s not claimed, chances are you can get it back. But how amazing will someone feel if they are reunited with that special piece of jewelry.
And always fill the holes you dig or someone might trip and break or sprain an ankle.
Bring all the things you might need, like sunscreen, a hat and a bottle of water. But there’s no need to carry it all around with you on your back. Set yourself up with a base that you can go and return to. You don’t want to tire yourself out carrying all that extra weight.
Last modified: April 7, 2020