Metal detecting is rapidly becoming one of the most common hobbies in the world. It’s a great way of doing exercise, exploring new places, learning the history and perhaps even making some money. But this hobby requires a very specific type of specialized equipment: a metal detector (obviously).
There many different places where metal detectors can be used: parks, mountains, beaches, riverbanks, and even the sea. However, not at all metal detectors are suitable for all types of environments. Once you decide where you intend to go hunting, you can choose the metal detector best suited for that type of environment, considering its features.
One of the types of environment that require very specific types of metal detectors is water. Since it’s a relatively unexplored environment, especially if we’re talking about the deep sea, there are great chances that there’s a buried treasure (or several) just waiting to be discovered.
However, if you’re thinking about hunting on a river, pond, or in the deep sea, your metal detector needs to have very specific features. Without those features, you won’t be able to find anything good and will most likely damage whatever unsuited equipment you took there. Therefore, the best way to start is to choose the best equipment.
Choosing an appropriate metal detector may seem like a tough challenge, but that’s only true if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Next, we’ll give you a few tips and list the things you absolutely need to have in mind when choosing an underwater metal detector.
Budget, Type of Water and Location
These are the primary questions you should answer before even beginning your research for a type of underwater metal detector:
- What is your budget?
- Where are you planning to use the metal detector? Underwater, at the ground surface, or both?
- What type of water are you planning to hunt in?
If you don’t have the answers to these questions, there is no point in going any further. There are tens to hundreds of different types of metal detectors out there, for each type of terrain, water and within a very wide range of prices.
You’ll definitely want to narrow down your search parameters right from the start. Otherwise, you might end up with an inappropriate piece of equipment, after too many hours of unmotivated search through random metal detector models.
Water Resistance and Depth Rating
Considering these two features is the second most important step you should take in your research. If you want to go hunt for treasure underwater or near it, the priority is to choose a waterproof metal detector. There are some metal detectors out there labeled as ‘waterproof’ when in fact all they have are thin waterproof coatings that won’t last very long. Make sure the equipment is, in fact, waterproof, and that the coils are fully submersible, especially if you’re planning on diving or spending a lot of time in or underwater.
Also, if you’re planning on diving with the Metal Detector, pay attention to the depth rating of the models you’re considering, and how deep you intend to dive. The depth rating indicates how deep your metal detector can go without suffering damage.
On the other hand, if you’re not sure where you’ll be using the detector, or if you’re planning on using it on both land and water, a great choice would be a fully amphibious metal detector. Although these types of detectors are usually a bit more expensive than the others, if you’re planning on hunting both on water and land, it’s a very good investment.
Type of Technology
For underwater metal detecting, there are two types of metal detector technologies you can choose, each one with its own way of working, strengths and challenges.
Pulse Induction (PI) technology
PI metal detectors work by emitting electronic pulses into a given area, be it either solid ground, air, or water. These pulses do not suffer interference from things such as small minerals, and this feature makes PI detectors very appropriate for beach and saltwater hunting (as well as in highly mineralized ground). Moreover, the pulses can travel very deep into the water and the detectors are usually very sensitive to precious metals. On the other hand, PI detectors’ discrimination capabilities are usually not as good as those of VLF detectors, so you may find some trash among the treasure (this can be avoided if the detector has different discrimination or customized search modes).
Very Low Frequency (VLF) technology
VLF detectors, on the other hand, are affected by ground/water mineralization, so they might not be so easy to handle in those conditions. However, they usually possess great discrimination and sensitivity features. Nonetheless, if you want to use your VLF detector on saltwater, you need to make sure the equipment has a saltwater mode, otherwise, you might have some problems finding valuable targets.
After making sure you have the required basic features covered, there a few extra features that can make your hunting life much easier. If your budget allows it, you can choose to acquire a metal detector with one or more of the following features:
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver;
- Incorporated pinpointer;
- Short dive pole (for snorkeling or diving);
- Customized search modes;
- Easily identifiable body (bright or fluorescent colors, a sound alarm when on but not handled for a long time);
- Waterproof headphones (most underwater metal detectors include waterproof headphones, just make sure the quality is good);
- Straps or belts for your suit, arms, or others(providing extra protection against dropping the device, and providing support when using it);
- Audio tone ID (to help identify the valuable targets more quickly).
So, these are the basics you need to know before buying an underwater metal detector. Take your time when doing the research, it’s best to invest some time than to lose money afterward. Choose your equipment well, and you probably won’t ever have to buy another metal detector again.