Beach hunting can be a highly enjoyable activity, but also a very challenging one. Before starting, make sure you know the basics and have the appropriate equipment, by following our advice.

General tips

Study the place beforehand

Before you start hunting more seriously, go explore the beach. Know where the people go and where they put their towels, how deep the water isin high and low tides (you can estimate that if you look at the bathers and make a mental note of where the water reaches their bodies – knees, waist, shoulders, and so on), if there are rocks, cliffs or caves, and the approximate time for high and low tides.

Start with the towel line, but spend most of your time on the wet sand and surf line

As every experienced beach hunter knows, the towel line (where people typically place their towels while at the beach) is where you can usually find more coins and jewelry. But once you’ve explored that area, there’s no point in going through the rest of the dry sand areas. Just go directly to the wet sand line and surf line (assuming you have appropriate equipment), where it’s much more likely you’ll find valuable items.

Choose the right timing

Here’s the golden #1 tip for any beach hunt: avoid the crowds. Go in the early morning or evening, when there are fewer people. That way, you don’t bother them, and they don’t bother you. Simple.

Another great time to beach hunt is after a storm or rough weather. Stormsclear the tops levels of the sand, exposing what is beneath and you couldn’t detect under normal conditions.

Watch your health

Important health-wise advice while searching the beach for treasure, especially if you’re planning to hunt for long periods of time:

Put on some sunscreen, wear a hat, sunglasses, and bring a bottle of drinkable water (this will keep you nourished, hydrated, and protected from the sun and sand);
Take a beach scoop to help you dig up the targets, preferably one with a retractable handle (so it’s better for your back);
Use a shoulder or chest harness, a belt, or any other types of support mechanisms for carrying and holding the metal detector.

Remember to respect the beach hunting etiquette 

Following certain social rules while beach hunting is very important:

Don’t hunt near other people, stay at least 10 feet away;
Don’t shake the sand scoop carelessly, you may hit other people or their belongings with the sand;
Fill all the holes you dig to prevent someone from falling and getting hurt;
Be respectful, avoid conflict and if you find someone else’s belongings while hunting, return it to its rightful owner. 

The most challenging issue you’ll find while beach hunting

The greatest challenge is related to the sea and the way metal detectors work. If you’re planning to go on beach hunting but only have an entry-level metal detector, you’ll need to upgrade your equipment or stick exclusively to the dry sand area.

If you’re hunting near the water with an entry-level metal detector, you’ll find it very hard to find anything valuable. That’s because saltwater is packed with minerals (like sodium, one of salt’s main compounds), and that will amplify ever further the effect of ground minerals on your metal detector. In other words, you’ll probably get a lot of noise and false target ID signals, if your metal detector doesn’t have the correct features to prevent this.

Choosing an appropriate metal detector

This is where you can choose to become a pro beach hunter or stay an amateur. The beach is a kind of territory with many different types of terrains and challenges, and hunting on beaches requires specialized equipment that can adapt to the circumstances.

So, it all depends on which part of the beach you’re planning to go hunting, and what is it you’re expecting to find.

If you’re planning on hunting near the water:

Choose a Pulse Induction (PI) or a Very Low Frequency (VLF) multi-frequency metal detector.
These are the types of technology that can better deal with the saltwater composition and its amplifying effects on ground minerals. 
Choose a waterproof metal detector that is fully submersible. 
Most of the commonly used detectors have waterproof coils, but other components like the control box aren’t usually water-resistant. For near-water hunts, it’s advisable to choose a fully submersible metal detector.
It’s a fact that these types of metal detectors are usually more expensive than the others, but the investment is well worth it. Even if you’re not planning on diving or go beyond the surf line, there is still a chance that you may get hit by a surprise wave or drop the detector in the water. If the equipment isn’t at least fully water-resistant, it’ll be damaged beyond repair, and you’ll have to invest in a new one.
Choose smaller and open coils.
Larger coils are heavier than small ones and very hard to deal with while underwater since the surface tension is increased proportionally to the coil size. Larger coils have larger surface tension, which means it’ll be much harder to move the detector back and forth. Also, if you can, choose open coils (that decreases the surface tension).Moreover, smaller coils usually provide more accurate pinpointing.

If you’re not planning to hunt ANYWHERE NEAR the water:

You can take an entry-level, single frequency, VLF detector.
This type of technology is a bit more versatile than a PI detector, since it has better discrimination, and can work well in dry sand. Nonetheless, you can still take any other type of metal detector and don’t need to make a great investment – but remember, this is only if you’re not planning to hunt anywhere near the saltwater.

Also, here’s one more helpful piece of advice: if you don’t want to carry all the stuff with you while hunting (which is understandable AND advisable), you can set up a small “base” for yourself and keep your belongings there. Once you’re done or need to take a break, just return to base and enjoy a well-deserved rest.

Happy hunting!