How to Use a Metal Detector at the Beach

By eHow Contributor
Sapphire and diamond ring
flickr.com, treasurenet.com, mytreasurespot.com

Most people consider metal detecting to be a beach activity. In reality, there are many different segments of the hobby, but metal detecting at the beach is one of the most popular. Here are some tips on how to be successful using a metal detector at the beach.

Modern-day beach treasure

Using a metal detector at the beach is fun and easy, and you should be able to find some treasure. There are several reasons why beach hunting is popular. First is that when something small like a coin or ring is dropped in the sand, it disappears immediately. Second, people are changing clothes, lounging around and playing in the sand. Third, they are applying slippery sunscreen and playing in the water. All of these factors add up to potential finds for the treasure hunter.

Beach hunting, the offseason

When choosing a beach to detect, you generally want to look for one that people use a lot, or that was used a lot in the past. This is where the treasure will be. Generally, you also want to use your all-metal search option or as little discrimination as possible. The reason for that is that you have a higher chance to find gold jewelry at the beach than anywhere else you search. Gold's low conductivity means that if you discriminate out foil and pulltabs, you will miss out on gold also. Another reason to use all-metal is because the digging is very easy in sand, so why take a chance on missing a nice piece of jewelry?

When you detect at the beach, it's important to use headphones. The main reason is that it makes it easier to hear any signals with the wind blowing. Second, your beeping doesn't interrupt other beachgoers who are relaxing. Third, a beeping metal detector is a kid magnet. If you wear headphones and your beeping is inaudible, kids will lose interest in crowding around you while you are trying to concentrate.

Rings slip off cold fingers

There are several zones at the beach that you can search, whether you are at an ocean or lake beach. There is dry sand, wet sand and shallow water. The water offers the best chance to find jewelry, because people splash around and lose chains and bracelets. The cold water also shrinks their fingers, and can cause rings to come loose. If your detector is not water-rated, though, stay out of the water, as you can quickly destroy it if it gets wet.

Treasure Hunter's dream

The next zone is the damp sand from the waterline up to the high-tide mark. This zone produces well all year long at ocean beaches, because wave action moves coins and jewelry around. At ocean beaches, the salt can interfere with the signals on a lot of detectors, though. You may have to adjust your sensitivity down until your signals stabilize in the damp sand zone. You will lose some depth, but at least you will still be able to operate.

Lots of dry sand hunting area

The final zone is the dry sand zone, and it has several hot spots that you should be aware of. First is a line parallel to the water that is called the blanket zone, where people put their chairs and lay their blankets out. It is usually close to the high tide line and is where a lot of items get dropped. Next is the area fanning out from the beach entrance, where people come and go, and where kids run with money going back to the snack bar if there is one. Third is further back where volleyball, frisbee and football are played. If the beach is used a lot, though, all areas can be productive.

Good luck to you and hope you strike it rich!