How to Easily Recover Shallow-Water Treasure

How-to tips on recovering gold treasure while metal detecting at the beach.

How-to tips on recovering gold treasure while metal detecting at the beach.

We recently posted an article about shallow-water treasure hunting, because beach detecting season is here! Many hobbyists steer clear of the water, which leaves lots more treasure for YOU! Even if you’re just searching in the first few inches of water, you’re embarking upon area where other detectorists haven’t touched. This is where lost jewelry, coins and other treasures are hiding. The buzz about the coastline is true—amateur detectorists are stumbling upon lost shipwreck treasure and coins all the time!

Keep in mind, you will also need a sand scoop for underwater items. For hunting in less than knee-deep water, use a short- or medium-handled scoop for target recovery. For wading in deeper water, a long-handled scoop is a must. One thing we know for sure is a sand scoop of any length will help you sift out your treasure from the sand.

Find a wide variety of  beach scoops, (from hand-held to long-handled scoops) at Also see our buying guide article Best Beach Sand Scoops for Metal Detecting.

How to Recover Shallow-Water Treasure

Detecting underwater is different than land hunting because your signal can come in strong and then get weak. Why does this happen? It could be the way your coil swings over the target. The more level you keep your coil to the seabed floor, the better your signal. If you swing too high, you’re farther from the target and the signal weakens.

Once you’ve pinpointed your signal, take your detector and position the coil on the ocean or lake floor directly on top of your target. Next, put your foot against the back edge of the coil, which is on top of your target. Then, place a long-handled water scoop where your big toe is. Use lots of pressure and dig downward until your scoop is definitely under the target.

With your detector at your side, use one hand to carefully feel through the sand that’s in your scoop. Be sure to keep the scoop underwater. You should be able to locate the hidden treasure pretty easily! Here’s a brilliant technique when wading for treasure: USE A FLOATING SCREEN. After locating a target, dump the scoop into your floating screen. When you sift the sand through your screen, your target should become visible. This is an expert tip!

Entry-Level Metal Detectors for Shallow-Water Hunting

Metal Detectors for Wading and Deeper Water

Warmer Weather is Here! Consider Shallow Water Treasure Hunting

Shallow water metal detecting.

Shallow water metal detecting with the Garrett AT Pro waterproof metal detector.

Are you an ambitious treasure hunter? If so, you’re probably not afraid to get your feet wet. It’s almost time to hit the beach, and shallow-water metal detecting can pay dividends!  One of the major bonuses of shallow-water hunting is that the treasures are usually in good shape on the ocean or lake floor. Also, underwater treasures are known to be found right where they’re dropped. (That’s not always true because of the tide.) Regardless, there are coins, trinkets and gold jewelry beneath the wet sand.

How Deep is Shallow Water?

This is subjective, as some detectorists only want to search from the high water mark to a few inches deep. If you know you’re staying in water that is only a few inches deep, a detector with a waterproof search coil will work fine. Here some VERY affordable models with a waterproof search coil (not housing):

Wading and Snorkeling

If you plan on wading in knee-deep water up to ten-feet deep, then you’ll need a completely waterproof detector. Submersible metal detectors can be used for snorkeling and scuba detecting, too. So, once you become expert at shallow-water detecting, you can graduate to the next levels. Many water detectors are equally proficient at land detecting, so they are the perfect investment for the enthusiastic hobbyist. Listed below are some popular waterproof metal detectors.

(Note: some are waterproof to much further depths than others):

Whether you are shallow-water hunting in the ocean, lake or the river, there is a wealth of treasure to be found! Some detectors are better suited for the saltwater beach than others. However, newer models often have a “beach mode” setting that will cancel the effects of most to all saltwater mineralization. For more information about the best beach and shallow-water metal detectors, be sure to read our Learning Library article: “What are the Best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting on the Beach?”

Look for an upcoming blog post about underwater treasure-hunting techniques.

Tesoro Sand Shark – the Most Affordable Underwater Metal Detector

Grab your Tesoro Sand Shark metal detector and head for the beach and ocean!

Grab your Tesoro Sand Shark metal detector and head for the beach and ocean!

Discover lost jewelry and coins from the sand and water with the Tesoro Sand Shark Metal Detector! This Pulse Induction detector expertly handles the mineralization of salt water and is submersible to 200 feet. Tesoro’s Sand Shark is among the most affordable underwater detectors for hunting the beach, shallow surf, wading, scuba diving and shipwreck hunting. PI detectors are the deepest-seeking underwater units on the market, and the Tesoro Sand Shark is feature packed! It includes a Pulse Width control for depth and sensitivity and two operating modes: VCO and Normal. Voltage Controlled Oscillator mode gives off a louder, higher-pitched tone as the target gets close to your coil. The strongest signal will be closest to the center of the search coil. Normal mode is designed for extended beachcombing. Owners of the Tesoro Sand Shark are passionate that it is the best “bang for your buck” underwater detector!

See Tesoro Sand Shark Detector Reviews


Tesoro Tiger Shark: Dual-Function Underwater and Land Detector

Tesoro Tiger Shark Metal Detector

Tesoro Tiger Shark Metal Detector

“Extraordinary” best describes the Tesoro Tiger Shark Metal Detector! Why? Because of its unparalleled versatility! The Tesoro Tiger Shark is a multi-function land and underwater metal detector. On land, the Tiger Shark is ideal for gold nugget prospecting, coin and relic hunting. Underwater, it is a superior machine—equally proficient finding treasure in fresh and saltwater. The Tesoro Tiger Shark is submersible to 200 feet and specially designed to detect gold chains- setting it apart from other models. Operating Modes include: No-Motion All Metal, Normal, Salt Mode, Silent Search and Motion Discriminate. The full discrimination feature filters out junk for quickly locating good targets. Shallow-water and scuba detectorists rely on the Tiger Shark to pinpoint valuable treasures! According to Tiger Shark owner Judy J., “I have already found 5 gold rings, 1 bracelet, shotgun brass that dates back to 1884, and numerous other items! I have found most items between 4-6 inches in depth. Definitely recommend!”

See Tesoro Tiger Shark Detector Reviews from Customers

400-Year-Old French Shipwreck Discovery in Shallow Florida Waters!

One of the artifacts the company hopes to preserve while working with the Florida Department of Historic Resources.

One of the artifacts the company hopes to preserve while working with the Florida Department of Historic Resources.

The Florida coastline is definitely the place to be if you are a shipwreck diver! Several amazing underwater treasure finds have surfaced recently involving Florida waters. This latest, most recent shipwreck discovery is nothing short of remarkable! NBC New York and other sources report that three French ships were discovered in shallow water in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Divers with Global Marine Exploration believe these ships were part of a 400-year-old French fleet. Archaeologists speculate the ships were from the French colonial period (approximately 1560) and they may have sunk in the midst of a hurricane.

The wreck’s contents include canons made of bronze and iron; anchors, and symbols of the fleur-de-lis, as well as a French coat of arms. Divers are thrilled about this shipwreck find; while historians and archaeologists call the treasure “priceless.” Historians speculate that the Trade Winds near Bermuda brought the fleet up the Florida coast and it encountered turbulent waters. The French were eager to colonize and explore the New World. Divers plan to bring up the ships’ treasure and conserve it.

Get Involved in Shipwreck Diving!

If you are a water hunter or scuba diver, you may find it fascinating to expand your hobby to include shipwreck exploration. This seems like the peak time to get involved, as countless wrecks are currently being found and salvaged. A deep-seeking metal detector is required for deeper water exploration. Today’s models offer advanced technology and typically operate at depths of up to 200 feet. It’s easy to learn about the types of Underwater Detectors  (Pulse Induction and VLF (Very Low Frequency)—as well as how to get jump-started in the hobby. Get in on the action with your own shipwreck hunting expedition!


Learn More:

Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II Underwater Detector: Patented Technology and Highly Accurate!

Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II Metal Detector being used in the ocean.

Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II Metal Detector

Owners of the Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II Metal Detector give it a remarkable 5-star-rating! The Sea Hunter Mark II is a Pulse Induction detector that delivers precision when snorkeling, scuba diving or beach hunting for treasure. This model is fully submersible to 200 feet. To handle salt water conditions, Garrett designed the Sea Hunter Mark II with its patented “Discrete Trash Elimination Mode.” This feature eliminates junk targets, while notching in gold with similar frequencies. This is a huge time-saver for serious underwater hobbyists!

Underwater Metal Detector Features

The Sea Hunter Mark II offers several elite features including 3 search  modes, sensitivity/depth adjustment, adjustable Audio Threshold and submersible headphones. Reviewer Randy K. says, “With the Sea Hunter Mark II, I have found a $20k diamond ring along with tons of other jewelry- as deep as 2½ feet down.” Satisfaction is guaranteed with Garrett’s Sea Hunter Mark II!

Florida Shipwreck Hunters Find $4.5 million in Spanish Treasure

Brent Brisben, right, and crew with gold coins they recovered from a shipwreck off the coast of Florida.

Brent Brisben, right, and crew with gold coins they recovered from a shipwreck off the coast of Florida.

This past summer, Brent Brisben and his shipwreck salvage crew made the discovery of a lifetime—$4.5 million in Spanish gold coins! The Florida treasure hunters uncovered 350 Spanish coins (including gold coins and nine rare pieces) which were part of a Spanish fleet’s sunken trove. In 1715, a hurricane overturned 11 Spanish galleons off Florida’s East Coast, sinking all of them while en route from Havana to Spain. Brisben’s company, “1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels,” made the discovery in shallow waters off Vero Beach, Florida. The salvage operation lasted five days.

Riches Were Resting in the Ocean for Three Centuries

A three-man crew aboard Brisben’s boat S/V Capitana chose this search site because it was close to a previous discovery. William Bartlett, the diver who spotted the haul, remarked “The gold looks like it fell into the water yesterday.” The riches have been resting on the ocean floor for 300 years. Remarkably, it was 300 years to the date when Brisben’s crew excavated the treasure trove. Among the coins, nine rare “Royals” were found, that were made by the order of a Spanish king. According to Brisbane, each of the Royals is unique and worth around $300,000. Brisbane added that the Royals are being transported to the King of Spain. And although Brisbane’s salvage company owns the rights to the wreckage, the state of Florida is entitled to 20 percent of the artifacts recovered. The remaining coins will be distributed among Brisbane, his father, and the other crew members. According to an article on ABC, artifacts found from the galleons will be displayed in a Tallahassee museum.

Treasures are Waiting to be Uncovered

This is an incredible discovery for many reasons. From a historical aspect, Spain and the U.S. can now piece together the story of the ill-fated Spanish fleet. The treasure trove is also a testament that underwater treasures can still be found by shipwreck divers! What’s really intriguing is that the diver who spotted the coins is a recreational diver. According to William Bartlett, his occupation is a kitchen and bathroom remodeler. Many Florida treasure hunters do this as a hobby and work under contract with a salvage company. Bartlett didn’t comment on how much he would receive, but said, “I’m just a guy on a boat living the dream.”

What Equipment do Salvage Divers Use?

Brisben explained, “We salvage these shipwrecks by boat after researching the area where we think the artifacts remain. All of these artifacts are under multiple feet of sand, so we go out and excavate the sand.” Equipment that shipwreck divers use include scuba gear and a deep-seeking underwater metal detector. Pulse induction (PI) detectors are the deepest seeking underwater models and they perform exceptionally in saltwater. A VLF (Very Low Frequency) underwater detector can also be used for shipwreck diving as long as it’s depth rated. Most underwater detectors operate at depths of up to 200 feet. Learn more about prices and models of Underwater Metal Detectors. Other underwater equipment includes boat-towed metal detectors, magnetometers, ROVs, lighting and camera/video devices; pingers and receivers. Magnetometers are important because they pinpoint iron and steel. Since ships deteriorate over time, salvage experts look for metal targets such as anchors, cannonballs and weaponry. Shipwreck hunting is a highly specialized area of metal detecting. If you are interested in learning more, check out the following articles from our Learning Library of Metal Detectors: