Beach Treasure Hunt Tips

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Can I use a metal detector on any beach?

Check with local authorities to determine whether you need permission to use a metal detector on local beaches.

You have probably seen people on the beach with metal detectors from time to time, usually around sunset, or on the kind of day when nobody else is interested in being at the beach. Perhaps you have been interested in having a little beach treasure hunt of your own. Before you pull out your metal detector, you should check the policy for the beach locality you wish to search. Each region, state and/or country has different requirements for using metal detectors on their beaches. A quick phone call to the local authority or governing body will usually provide enough information. You may be required to purchase a permit or to report your findings. Make sure you take the time to do this so that you do not receive a fine or suspension for participating in an otherwise harmless pastime.

   
Can I my lost ring with a metal detector?

Use a metal detector to locate lost jewelry at the beach.

Not all beach treasure hunts start with joyous potential - too often, people lose items of material and sentimental value on the beach and try in earnest to recover them. If you lose a ring or other precious piece of jewelry, a hand-held metal detector could prove to be a valuable asset. A general purpose metal detector will find all metal objects in up to a foot of sand, though the depth to which metal detectors are effective will vary according to specifications of the detector. Metal detectors will identify aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, gold, iron, lead, nickel, silver, and tin. If your lost treasure is not made from metal of some description, a metal detector will unfortunately be of no help in finding it. If you do not own a metal detector yourself, it is possible to hire them from reputable dealers. Alternatively, you could ask one of the people you see on the beach with a metal detector to help you locate the lost jewelry.

   
When is the best time for me to find treasures on the beach?

Set out on your beach treasure hunt early in the morning or in the evening.

Beaches are exciting places for treasure seekers. The constant motion of waves, tide changes, storms and erosion creates an environment filled with opportunities to unearth an unusual or valuable find. Seasonal changes and the presence of activity on the beach after holiday season also alter and renew the possibilities. Take note of these conditions, and spend time on the beach with your metal detector soon after a storm, high tide, or even a crowded beach day. Early mornings and evenings are prime time for metal detecting since there are fewer people on the beach to interrupt your progress should you need to stop and dig. If you set out on your hunt in the evening, be sure to take into account how much daylight there is left, and bring along a flashlight in case you stay out longer than you had planned.

   
Are there any guidelines about or laws against collecting shells?

Know local rules and guidelines for shell collecting.

Shell collecting can be a fun hobby but it can get you into trouble, so get the scoop on local statutes, laws and limitations before you begin this beach treasure hunt. In the United States, many state beach parks protect their shell life and place limits on the quantity of items and types of species you can take. In some countries, such as Australia, it is illegal to tamper with the shore in any way. A hefty fine might be levied for taking live (or even empty) shells from the beach, so always check with the Park Ranger to make sure you are doing the right thing. If you cannot take your treasures with you, it need not limit your fun or your memories: take a picture of the shells you find, and take along a shell guide so that you can identify shells you find and take notes. Many guide books also provide information about where and when to find certain shells, how to clean and preserve them, and which are common or rare discoveries.

   
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Lynne Christen