For some of us, snorkeling on itself is fun but just not thrilling enough. Especially if the ocean floor isn’t crowded with colorful fish or coral, something should get us all excited. Well, how about an underwater metal detector? That should allow for some kind of adventure. Who knows you get lucky?
I remember when I was a kid and we went treasure hunting on the beach with a metal detector. People seem to lose coins all the time, and even when we ended the day with just a buck or two worth of coins, we were already happy. When it comes to underwater metal detecting, there are a few great gadgets to consider. So let’s “dive” into the details.
Important Features Of Underwater Metal Detectors
It goes without saying that size matters quite a bit when you want to use a metal detector when snorkeling. You definitely don’t want to carry big or heavy gear towards the water, and even swimming would be unpleasant. If you simply go for one of the “best seller” underwater metal detectors, pay attention to their size! Yeah, there has to be a great product that does the job perfectly without taking too much space.
Ease of Use
Switching on and off tiny buttons underwater can be a hassle. Especially if you wear snorkel gloves. Furthermore, smaller products allow for easy movements with least resistance. If you can, go for a product that’s not too big and comes with minimal operational buttons. Some underwater detectors can be operated without a single button, but I’ll get to that in just a moment.
I talked about how bulkiness can be annoying when carrying your metal detector all the way to the entry point. Not only all the way from home, but also on your way towards the beach. If you prefer to only bring a snorkel backpack, it would be great if your detector fits inside. Another good option is to go for a product that comes with a belt ring or a wrist strap. Make sure to go for something lightweight, but not too light either because it should definitely not float by itself.
A sealed stainless steel construction is probably one of your best choices. Furthermore, the battery compartment needs to stay sealed efficiently as well. Any water leakage could destroy your new gear. You want your underwater metal detector to be sensitive for any objects that contains metal, but on the other hand you don’t want it to break easily whenever you touch a rock or any other solid object.
Even though a lot of gadgets are powered by a USB cable, I would advise a product that allows you to replace batteries easily. Most of the time you won’t be able to recharge your detector whenever you’re spending an entire day at the beach. Batteries however can be replaced easily. This is my preferred method, especially if you decide to snorkel with kids. They will probably take turns and before you know it the battery is empty.
A decent underwater metal detector will cost you around $100. I find most good products are found within this price category. It’s definitely not necessary to spend much more in order to purchase a quality product. Unless you opt for one of those smaller pin-point detectors, but I’m not a big fan of those to tell you the truth. However, they do work and they’re very compact.
Best Bang For Your Buck (“Wedigout PI-iKing 750”)
First of all, yes, this metal detector works up to 100 feet underwater. However, it also works on land, or any other kind of soil. So, if you want to do some treasure hunting on the beach as well, this is a great option.
Switching it on / off (without pressing any button)
One of the best things about this detector, is that you don’t need to press any button to switch it on or off. You activate the product by tilting it up or down for a couple of seconds. A light indicator will help you with that. In other words, no hassle whenever you need to switch it on whilst snorkeling.
The high sensitivity allows you to treasure hunt for a variety of things, like coins or jewelry. But of course you’ll also be able to detect keys, pins, old fishing gear, relics, boat parts like anchors, you name it. As long as it contains metal, you’re good.
Treasure Indicator (how to know you found something)
Whenever the sensor picks up a metallic object, you’ll be notified in 2 ways: There’s a LED indicator light on top of the sensor head, like the image below explains. However, you’ll also sense vibrations as soon as a metallic object is nearby. This helps a lot whenever you’re pushing away some sand and the water becomes a little blurry.
Fabric and Battery
The “Wedigout” detector comes with a sealed stainless steel construction. At the bottom of the hand grip you find a small compartment for the 9V battery. You open this section by unscrewing a waterproof seal. Simply replace the battery whenever necessary and restore the seal tightly. Always good to bring a spare battery in your beach bag.
Belt Ring and Wrist Strap
The wrist strap is obviously helpful to never lose your new gadget when snorkeling. If you suddenly let go, it’s still there to grab. The belt ring is a great way to carry your detector on your way to the beach. Or maybe you combine hiking and snorkeling. Simply attach it to your belt whenever you don’t need it.
This product is on sale for around $100. Like I said, 100 bucks is a pretty normal price for a high quality underwater metal detector. Of course, there are other options available, but most of the time you end up within this price category.
Great Accessories For Treasure Hunting
Chances are you’ll end up with a decent amount of objects that you prefer to take with you. Even if you don’t necessarily want to keep them (like old pins for example), it’s always good to keep the ocean clean. A bag to store your treasures in is definitely worth a consideration. A mesh bag for example that allows water to go through, but keeps your new discoveries safe. Maybe you already own a bag like this.
Waist Bags / Cases
If you prefer to not hold a mesh bag in your hands, try to attach it to your waist. If that’s not what you prefer either, consider a waist bag. Maybe you have one lying around somewhere, and if not, they’re not that expensive. A few good alternative options can be found in our article about waterproof bags and cases for snorkeling (even though you don’t need your bag to be waterproof in order to store your treasures).
I dedicated a separate article about snorkel gloves. But what it comes down to is this: Snorkel gloves are meant to protect your hands and to keep them warm. Especially protecting your hands can be of big importance whenever you use a metal detector underwater. It’s sometimes helpful (or necessary) to remove some sand in order to grab your newest discovery. Unfortunately there’s a lot of trash in the ocean, and hurting yourself must be avoided at all times.
Sure, it’s perfectly fine to snorkel in shallow water where diving down isn’t necessary at all. But if you prefer to discover a bigger area, or maybe even dive down a little, snorkel fins (link to my review) can be of great help. It all depends on your expectations and whether or not diving down for a few seconds is an option.
If you watched the movie above, you might want to do the same thing: Hunt for treasures and capture it on camera. Now, this is definitely a luxury item to consider, but it can really add to the fun. Maybe you have a Youtube channel, or who knows you just want to edit a video after a long day at the beach to show your friends. If it interests you, feel free to head on over to my article about snorkeling with a GoPro.
Tankless Diving Gear
Even though I don’t own one of these myself, I actually review and discuss tankless diving gear for snorkelers that allows you to stay underwater for like an hour or so. Who knows it’s a great accessory.
If you’re looking for treasures on a cloudy day, maybe a flashlight is a good luxury to take with you. There are many options out there, and they don’t necessarily need to be expensive. If you consider to get one, maybe my article about snorkeling flashlights will help you out.
Snorkel / Dive Flag
Another gadget to consider is a snorkel flag. It’s a floating flag that lets people know where you are. Especially when the shore is busy, it’s never a bad idea to show your location. You simply attach it to your waist and the flag will follow you around.
These (and more) accessories can be found at Amazon here.
Even though I consider an underwater metal detector a “luxury” gadget, it’s definitely a fun way to explore the ocean floor. Especially when there aren’t many fish or corals to observe.
For around 100 bucks you’ll have a quality product with a great sensor. From all the accessories I mentioned, I’d say that snorkel gloves and a snorkel flag are the two most important additions. You need to protect your hands and it’s also very wise to let people know where you’re swimming.
If you enjoy gadgets, consider to also visit my snorkel gifts list. That’s where I cover some of the coolest (and most helpful) gear I came across over the years.
Last but not least: Some people prefer to wear a full face snorkel mask when hunting for underwater treasures. They usually provide a wider view than the regular masks. Some even allow you to attach a GoPro on top or on the side. However, if you want to grab one, make sure you understand all the pro’s and con’s (like I explain in my review).
Metal detecting is not always allowed. I advise you to read this article in order to understand the details.