If you enjoy metal detecting and live close to the coast then like me you are fortunate enough to have the best of both worlds. As much as I enjoy detecting on farmers fields there is still no place that I would rather go metal detecting than on the beach. Beach metal detecting has been my passion ever since I first picked up a metal detector and it has provided me with endless hours of fun and some pretty good finds along the way.
If you are new to the hobby of metal detecting it has probably entered your mind at some point to make your way to the beach to see what buried treasure you can uncover from beneath the sands of time.
In this guide to beach metal detecting I will be sharing all the information you need to know about beach metal detecting.
Lets take a look!
Beach Metal Detecting Guide
Metal Detecting On The Beach Laws
It wasn’t that long ago that you had to first apply for a beach metal detecting permit off the Crown Estate to be able to metal detect on the beach legally. Fortunately this is no longer the case and it is now perfectly legal for anybody to use a metal detector on a Crown Estate owned beach without permission.
Known as the “open permit” it has lead to many more people heading to the beach with their metal detector. It is worth noting that not all beaches are owned by the crown. In addition some local councils can still ban you from using your metal detector on the beach through the use of byelaws. For this reason I would advise on checking with the appropriate authorities first just to be on the safe side.
The Crown Estate Foreshore and Estuary Map is the go to resource for a map of the beaches you can detect on.
Finally, always remember that it is still required that you follow the code of practice and adhere to the Treasure Act 1996.
Beach Metal Detecting Tools
The equipment you need for beach detecting is slightly different in some departments than when detecting on land. For the best experience be sure to tick off the following pieces of equipment and accessories.
Metal Detector – The first thing you are going to need is a metal detector that is capable of coping with the coastal environment. If you only want to detect on the dry area of the beach then a regular metal detector will suffice. For those that wish to venture further out on to the wet sand, you will need to invest in a waterproof metal detector.
Waterproof metal detectors are generally more expensive than regular detectors. In my opinion the extra cost is worth it as they open new doors for metal detecting. In addition they are better suited at coping with the “false signals” that you get with black sands due to the high iron content.
Sand Scoop – A sand scoop makes the process of retrieving any targets from the sand much easier and quicker. Simply scoop up the sand and wait until the sand filters out through the holes and retrieve your target. In my experience they are a lot more efficient than using a spade.
Headphones – It doesn’t matter whether you are metal detecting on land or the beach a good set of headphones is highly recommended. The wind can really pick up at times on the coast and it can be hard to at times to hear when you have found a target. Furthermore, on the dry part of the beach it tends to be more crowded and the “beeping” of your metal detector can annoy some people.
Finds Bag – A finds bag or pouch is a safe place to keep your finds. It might be hard to believe but there have been cases of people finding objects of value and losing them before they get back to dry land.
Plastic Bag – A good detectorist will always remove any litter they come across while detecting on the beach. This is totally optional of course, but it is something I have always done.
Suitable Clothing – A good pair of wellies is a must have for beach detecting. There is nothing worse than a day detecting with wet boots and socks.
Best Beach Metal Detectors
Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector
The Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector is a very versatile detector well-suited for use inland and on the beach. With beach metal detectors been quite expensive it is one of the more affordable options available.
The AT Pro works extremely well in shallow waters and can be used in both freshwater and saltwater. Fully submersible and waterproof up to 10 metres it competes with far more expensive models.
With both a standard mode and a professional mode it is perfect for beginners to get started with and progress as they learn more about the functions with time.
One very useful function for beach detecting is the Ground Balance. This helps the detector grasp a better understanding of the ground conditions and is very handy when detecting on high salt or highly mineralised ground. With the AT Pro you can either manually or automatically set the ground balance and optimise for the best target ID accuracy.
This really is a very good metal detector at a reasonable price considering the overall quality. Great for use on the beach and inland the AT Pro is my top recommendation for those new to beach detecting.
Minelab CTX 3030 Metal Detector
The Minelab CTX 3030 is the only metal detector you will ever need to buy. Designed for use on both inland and on the beach it is regarded as been one of the best metal detectors money can buy. The only downside to this highly prized detector is the price.
With a waterproof depth of 10 foot or 3 metres, it can be fully submerged and still work just fine. It comes with integrated GPS that allows you to track your location and mark any finds you make. This information can then be uploaded on to google maps via the Minelab software. This is great for keeping a history of your detecting adventures.
As you can see from the image this is a complete package with everything you need to get going. It goes without saying that this model is very technical and has lots of functions. That been said it has been designed for use by both beginners and experienced detectorists. This is mainly due to the automatic functions which make it very newbie friendly. More experienced users can take advantage of everything the CTX3030 has to offer with the built-in advanced functions.
Minelab Excalibur ll Metal Detector
The Minelab Excalibur ll is another model that can only be described as being for the serious detectorist. Like all Minelab metal detectors it is fairly expensive but then you do get what you pay for with this hobby.
If you do decide to treat yourself to the Excalibur ll you will be investing in a very good metal detector for the beach. With a working depth of 66 metres it is more than suitable for detecting in shallow waters or wet sand.
Other useful features include Ground Cancelling to eliminate false signals caused by salt water and Automatic Ground Compensation.
The Excalibur ll consistently receives very positive reviews from previous buyers with many highlighting its ability to discriminate between trash and items of value.
Garrett Sea Hunter MKll Metal Detector
The Garrett Sea Hunter MKll Metal Detector is one model that you definitely won’t have to worry about sustaining water damage. With a working depth of 200 foot or 65 metres it is used by scuba divers and is more than up to the job for use on the beach.
The best thing about this metal detector, aside from the extraordinary depth at which it can be used, is it’s ability to eliminate trash. Featuring an enhanced discrimination mode it is possible to exclude rubbish items with little effect on targets with a similar conductivity. This is great for use on the beach where there tends to be a lot of trash signals.
Another positive feature that makes this model a favourite of treasure hunters is it’s ability to ignore saltwater.
If you are looking to invest in a top quality beach detector without going overboard on the price the Garrett Sea Hunter MKll is a good choice. It is still quite an expensive metal detector but considering the overall build quality and features, it is very reasonably priced costing less than half the price of the CTX 3030.
Beach Metal Detecting Sand scoops
Garrett Metal Detectors Plastic Sand Scoop
This plastic sand scoop for metal detecting on the beach is as lightweight and as durable as they come. Made by Garrett you can be certain that it is more than up to the job. All you have to do is scoop up the sand and let it filter through the holes to reveal your target. However, if you suffer from back pain and have trouble bending down then you might have some difficulty with this scoop due to the lack of a long handle.
Evolution Pro Scoop
The Evolution Pro Scoop is for the dedicated detectorist that doesn’t mind spending that little bit extra to obtain the best metal detecting tools. Made from stainless steel and having stainless steel welds for increased durability it should last for a very long time. Unfortunately the shaft has to be purchased separately which bumps up the already quite expensive price tag even further. That been said, this is regarded as being one of the best sand scoops available.