Can You Use A Metal Detector In The Water?

Can You Use Metal Detector In Water

Whether you’re a seasoned metal detecting enthusiast or a curious beginner, you may have wondered, “Can you use a metal detector in the water?” The short answer is yes, but there’s more to it than simply submerging your metal detector and hoping for the best.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of metal detecting in aquatic environments, providing valuable insights based on first-hand knowledge and credible sources. So, grab your snorkel and dive in as we uncover the secrets of underwater metal detecting.

Can You Use A Metal Detector In The Water?

The quick and resounding answer is, yes! You can absolutely use a metal detector in the water, and it can be an exciting and rewarding experience.

However, not all metal detectors are created equal, and not all can handle submersion. Before you plunge into the depths, make sure your metal detector is specifically designed for underwater use.

Water-resistant detectors are suitable for shallow water and splashing but may not withstand full immersion. On the other hand, fully waterproof and deepest metal detectors are the ideal choice for exploring deeper waters.

Understanding the Waterproof Ratings

Waterproof metal detectors come with different ratings, indicating their depth capabilities. Common ratings include:

  • Water-resistant: Can handle minor water exposure but not submersion.
  • Submersible: Can be partially submerged, usually up to a few feet.
  • Waterproof: Designed to be fully submerged at varying depths, depending on the model.

It’s crucial to check the manufacturer’s specifications and understand the waterproof rating of your metal detector to avoid damaging it and voiding the warranty.

Tips for Metal Detecting in the Water

  1. Choose the Right Location: Research and select underwater spots with a history of human activity like swimming areas, docks, and beaches, increasing your chances of finding valuable items.
  2. Low Tide Advantage: Plan your metal detecting sessions during low tide to explore areas that are usually inaccessible.
  3. Beware of Regulations: Ensure you have permission to metal detect in certain bodies of water, as some areas may be off-limits or protected.
  4. Safety First: Practice water safety by wearing appropriate gear, such as a life jacket, especially when detecting in deeper waters.
  5. Understand Your Detector’s Settings: Familiarize yourself with the settings and features of your metal detector, as they may differ from land-based models.
  6. Work Methodically: Search in a grid-like pattern to cover the area thoroughly and avoid overlooking potential targets.
  7. Invest in Headphones: Using headphones underwater will help you hear the faint signals from buried treasures clearly.
  8. Bring a Waterproof Pouch: Carry a waterproof pouch to keep your valuable finds safe and secure while detecting.
  9. Avoid Saltwater Corrosion: If you’re detecting in saltwater, rinse your detector with fresh water after each use to prevent corrosion.
  10. Practice Patience: Metal detecting in the water requires patience, as targets may be more spread out than on land.

Can You Use A Metal Detector In The Water? The Best Places to Detect

Metal detecting in aquatic environments opens up a world of possibilities. Some of the best places to use your metal detector in the water include:

  • Beaches: The classic destination for underwater metal detecting, beaches attract swimmers, sunbathers, and treasure hunters alike. Look for areas near beach towels, sandcastles, and volleyball courts for potential finds.
  • Rivers and Creeks: Waterways are natural pathways for human activity throughout history. Detecting along riverbanks and creek beds can yield interesting discoveries.
  • Lakes and Ponds: Tranquil lakes and ponds have been popular recreational spots for centuries. Focus on areas near docks, boat launches, and swimming spots.
  • Spring-Fed Rivers: Springs were historically gathering places, making them excellent locations to find lost jewelry and artifacts.
  • Waterfalls and Rapids: Areas around waterfalls and rapids can accumulate treasures brought down by the current over time.

Metal Detecting in Saltwater vs. Freshwater

Detecting in saltwater environments presents some unique challenges compared to freshwater. Saltwater is more conductive, and minerals in the sand can cause false signals. To combat these issues:

  • Adjust Sensitivity: Lower the sensitivity setting on your metal detector to minimize false signals in saltwater.
  • Use Pulse Induction Detectors: Consider investing in a pulse induction (PI) metal detector, which is more suitable for saltwater detecting due to its ability to ignore mineralization.
  • Learn Your Detector: Practice in different environments to become familiar with your detector’s responses in various conditions.


Q: Can you use any metal detector in the water?

A: Not all metal detectors are suitable for underwater use. You need a specifically designed waterproof or submersible detector for water exploration.

Q: Are underwater metal detectors more expensive?

A: Waterproof and submersible metal detectors tend to be more expensive than regular land detectors due to their specialized features.

Q: Can I find valuable items underwater?

A: Absolutely! People have discovered valuable jewelry, coins, and historical artifacts while metal detecting in the water.

Q: Is metal detecting in the water legal?

A: The legality of metal detecting in the water varies by location. Always research and obtain the necessary permits or permissions before detecting in specific areas.

Q: How deep can I metal detect in the water?

A: The depth you can detect depends on your metal detector’s waterproof rating. Some models allow submersion up to several feet, while others can go much deeper.

Q: Can I clean my underwater metal detector with freshwater after each use?

A: Yes, cleaning your metal detector with freshwater after each use, especially in saltwater environments, will help prevent corrosion and prolong its lifespan.


Metal detecting in the water can be a thrilling and lucrative hobby when done right. By choosing the right equipment, understanding the best locations, and following essential tips, you can increase your chances of uncovering hidden treasures beneath the waves.

Remember to always practice water safety, respect regulations, and leave no trace of your adventures. So, dive in and embark on your underwater metal detecting journey—you never know what historical artifacts or valuable items you might discover!