Disclosure: We may receive a small commission when you shop by clicking on the links on our site. This is at absolutely no added cost to you. Learn more.

underwater metal detector

Metal detecting underwater is a skill that few people have mastered. Underwater metal detectors are designed to be used in salt or freshwater and some even work well in waterlogged areas. With the right knowledge, you can learn how to use your detector effectively in these different environments. In this article, we will discuss tips that will help you get better at hunting for metals underwater!

What makes a metal detector suitable for underwater detection?

Metal detecting is usually reserved for dry land but with recent technological advancements there has been an increase of underwater metal detection hobbyists who have found some amazing things such as old coins, jewelry and relics

There are a few things that you need to consider before purchasing your underwater metal detector. Underwater detectors all have different features and what makes the ideal one for you will depend on where, when, and how often you plan to hunt metals in water. 

In order to work well underwater, the most important thing is for the metal detector to be waterproof. Underwater detectors also require a special type of coil design that is suitable for use in salt or freshwater as well as waterlogged areas. They have a protective coating around the coil that helps shield it from corrosion or electrical discharge [1] when working underwater for long periods of time. The coil can be submerged without fear of corrosion, rusting, or other damage to the metal detector.

A search coil (also called a concentric ring) operates similarly to those used by hobbyists who hunt above ground but they are slightly different due to their design being suited towards detecting signals underwater. 

Metal detecting underwater for beginner metal detectorists

underwater detecting

Underwater metal detecting is considered to be one of the most difficult types of hunting. This article will provide some tips for beginner underwater hunters, so that they can get better at this type of metal detection. 

Most new hobbyist have a hard time getting their head around how an underwater detector works and therefore don’t perform well when hunting underwater. Lets look at some tips for beginner underwater hunters, so that they can get good at it quickly.

Underwater metal detecting is not the same as water hunting with a standard detector. Underwater detectors have their own set of challenges that need to be understood and dealt with effectively, so that they can find what they’re looking for in an easier way.

A good place to start would be understand how sound waves work underwater. [2] This is a crucial step to be more efficient in your hunts. Underwater sound waves work completely differently than those in the air. Under water, sounds travel slower and every object will affect them as they move through that medium.

What equipment do you need to start out?

Underwater hunting requires two main pieces of equipment: A good quality waterproof detector which contains headphones and a coil cover made out of neoprene rubber so you won’t ruin the detector by getting it wet. 

In addition, you will also need waterproof boots; A good diving mask and snorkel set; Gloves – neoprene gloves work great underwater because they’re flexible enough to keep up with your dexterity while still protecting your hands from the cold and salt. Underwater hunters also need to have a compass or some type of navigation system because you don’t want to get lost in an underwater environment.

Features of an underwater metal detector

features on an underwater metal detector

Both, saltwater metal detectors and freshwater metal detectors, come with a waterproof head coil which will allow you to detect targets at greater depths than what dry land metal detecting can provide! The salt or freshness of an area can also change how a detector operates underwater. The metal detectors need to be adjusted based on these conditions. Often times it’s more difficult for metal detectors to find targets in salt water, and they will need a higher discrimination level. Underwater detectors should also have features such as ground balance and sensitivity adjustments, which will allow hunters to make precise decisions on how deep they want their instruments to detect objects.

5 Basic rules for underwater metal detecting

Below are the five steps to detecting underwater metal. They should be followed in order:

  1. Know your Underwater Metal Detector and its Controls – This is the first step for any successful search, but it’s especially important when hunting under water because of the added conditions that can make things more difficult such as high mineral content, saltiness of the water, and how deep you’re going to be searching.
  2. Scout the Underwater Area – This is a great way to find more metal targets by seeing what’s already there before making a search pattern. Make sure that when scouting underwater areas you are mindful of your safety too because hydrological changes can happen without warning. You never know if something left behind on shore may cause some unexpected danger in these areas. So just make sure that everything is safe before diving in!
  3. Establish an Underwater Search Pattern – From our experience we’ve found out this helps us locate metals quickly with pinpoint precision which means less time spent looking for them! A good rule of thumb for establishing a search pattern is to start in the middle and make a wide but thorough search of both directions. 
  4. Use Underwater Metal Detecting Techniques – When you’re hunting underwater, its important to use some different techniques than you would when metal detecting on land because it’s an entirely new environment with unique challenges. For instance, water can be murky which means that your detector may not do as well at picking up objects like coins or other metals buried deep under the sand (even if they are right next to shore). So, try moving around and adjusting where you are standing sometimes leave your footprints behind for better clarity! 
  5. The last thing to keep in mind while metal detecting underwater is to be careful of the bottom. If you have a depth finder, try not to hold it too close because if your detector hits something on the floor like rocks or seaweed and causes your fingers and can cause damage.

Common mistakes to avoid while underwater metal hunting

The most common mistakes to avoid which hunting for underwater treasures involve trying to hunt for metal without the proper training. Metal detectorists need to be able to see where they are searching in order to effectively detect treasure and if underwater visibility makes this difficult, it is best not to get wet at all.

taking metal detector under the water


Underwater metal detecting is a very fun hobby that we at LeisureHead enjoy immensely. It is a hobby that can take you to lots of places and give you the opportunity to discover hidden treasures from long ago civilizations. Underwater metal detecting in fresh water, salt water or sunken areas will be easier if you start with a quality metal detector. With the right gear in hand and all the info in this blog, you are all ready to begin your own adventures!

Happy metal hunting!