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How To Get Started In Underwater Treasure Hunting

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You can find underwater treasure in a lake nearby.

How To Get Started In Underwater Treasure Hunting

I have always dreamed of finding chests of lost gold and treasure under water but may not realize that goal in my lifetime. Instead I have found lots of lost treasures in unlikely bodies of water near home. Here are a few places to try. Always be safe and take along a dive buddy, use dive flags and get permission if diving under private property such as docks.

What Kind Of Equipment You Need For Underwater Treasure Hunting And Where To Look

Treasure Hunting Around Docks and Marinas.

Most water under docks and marinas is public property but lines are sometimes gray and owners are suspicious of persons diving around their boats so ask permission. It helps to tell them you are getting some practice dive time in and plan on removing some cans and other trash. I do anyway and always take away more than I bring when visiting the lake.


Try and go underwater treasure hunting on a Monday, after a busy weekend at the lake. Focus on areas directly below gas docks, guest slips that see a lot of boat traffic coming and going. Adjust your buoyancy so that you hover just above bottom and don't stir up silt. I use a piece of coat hanger to probe at objects I see in the silt. Look for sunglasses, they tend to sit higher up in the silt. If the bottom is muddy, Look for fresh looking "holes" in silt where a heavy watch may have settled to bottom and tap in the hole with the hanger listening for metal. I once found a ladies Tag Heuer watch which was worth $500 in this manner. Not bad for lake treasure! Some sunglasses can be worth a lot as well.


I use a Minelab Excalibur 2 metal detector is spots where there is not too much metal trash. It cost around $1200 but there are cheaper models out there rated for shallower depths. I have not found enough with it to pay for it, yet. There are some nice detectors in the $400 to $600 range that are good up to about 30', which is where you will find most items. If you dive along swim areas with sandy or clean rock bottoms you may find jewelry and items that have washed out of swim trunk pockets. In the deeper water, just at the edge of the swim area you may find object that swimmers have lost but are unable to recover because of the depth and lack of a mask. Look for coins and waterlogged paper money as well.


In places where boats anchor such as popular coves, you can sometimes find valuable boat anchors, chain and line. Be cautious as these can be heavy and may require a small lift bag. I also look around logs for expensive fishing lures that have been snagged. I carry a plastic travel soap holder to put them in so the hooks don't injure me when they are in my BCD pocket.

Other Kinds Of Underwater Treasure Hunting

If you are a golfer you know how many balls are down in the water hazards at the local course. Most golf course managers won't mind if you dive in these ponds, especially if you offer to remove some trash in the process.


I re-sell the golf balls that I find, sometimes to the course, sometimes to golfer buddies and sell the culls to the driving range. I once found over 300 golf balls in one water hazard and a new-looking putter which was probably thrown in by a frustrated golfer.


In your treasure hunting around the docks you are bound to meet a few friendly boaters and one or two old sore heads. One of the people that I met asked me how much I would charge to clean the algae off of his sailboat. I took a quick look, tried a small area with a brush he gave me and proposed $50.00. Now every time I go to the marina to dive I not only have an excuse to be there but guaranteed folding money "treasure" to take home and also pay for my air fills.


About This Article

Nolan Hart

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