Saturday, September 18, 2010
9/18 Report - Rules Regulations and Permitted Areas
Beach Sunday Morning.
One question that I frequently receive, is what are the rules and regulations regarding metal detecting on the beaches and in the water, and another is, where can you hunt in the water.
I've attempted to answer those questions in the past with varying degrees of success.
Thanks to Jon M., who contacted Daniel McClarnon of the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, I'll do that again today, perhaps adding some to what I've presented in the past.
Before I get into that in any more detail, let me say that every time I have contacted a person in the Florida government about detecting or related matters, no matter what level, the response has always been friendly and helpful. Jon's experience was similar.
I think that too often detectorists have the perception that the government is out to get them. I can see how that perception was born. Too often there are cases in which lower level officials for one reason or another act in a way that does not represent the government agency well. It might be that they had a bad day, have a poor perception of what is taking place, make a mistake, or simply have their own problems to deal with. Whatever it is, things happen, and too often detectorists develop a poor opinion of archaeologists and related Florida agencies.
On the other hand, detectorists too often do things that cause problems for themselves and the hobby. For example, it is simply stupid to leave a battlefield of holes in wet sand when detecting a public beach where someone might easily sprain an ankle or worse. It is stupid to detect in areas where detecting is, for whatever reason, specifically off limits. It is stupid to trample protected plants and abuse private property.
I am eager to see better relations between tax-payers who are interested in history and archaeology and who fund those endeavors and the government and academic professionals. That would be good for both sides.
Jon was told that Florida is currently in the process of updating their web page "to help clarify the confusing issue of metal detecting on public lands."
I'm not going to get into a lot of detail today, but here is more of what Mr. McClarnon said. He said, "If you are out in the surf metal detecting (other than in the admiralty areas mentioned), and find modern items, no one will bother you, including law enforcement. If any questions arise, even concerning complaints or law enforcement, feel free to contact me."
If you ask me, that is pretty nice.
In the near future I'll post some charts he provided, which show the current salvage and exploration permit areas. Those are the admiralty areas he refers to.
Mr. McClerndon also said, "Metal detecting is generally prohibited on public lands with the exception of some beaches between the high water mark and the toe of the dune; you can keep what is found on the beach."
He also provided the following link and suggested browsing it to find the rules and regulations.
I think I posted this link before sometime in the past, but I'm not sure, and there are often questions about that so it won't hurt if I did.
Anyhow, I hope this helps clarify things a little. I'll follow up with more on this in the future.
Generally speaking if you do your best to do the right thing, you won't have to worry much about getting in trouble. Sometimes a little common sense or wisdom will go a long way.
Don't do things to cause conflict or bring negative attention to yourself or the hobby.
Do report finds that you think might be of particular interest to the archaeological community. Those are things that might in some way add to the body of knowledge of the discipline. It doesn't happen very often, and I think you'll enjoy the results if you are lucky enough to find something important.
Well, tomorrow I'll probably post some of the charts showing the both salvage and exploration areas.
Forecast and Conditions.
The sea will be increasing to about 7.5 feet late Sunday and through Monday, and then gradually decreasing again through the week.
It looks like winds will remain from the East during most of that time.
As you might be able to tell from the photo, there is no improvement yet - at least not where I looked. Mostly I saw sand building up.
One positive thing is that the water got higher up on the beach than it has been for quite a while.
I did see about a six inch cut at one spot. That's not much, but it is going in the right direction.
You might be able to find a spot or two that has improved a little. I'm keeping my treasure beach conditions rating at a 1 though.
I see that the wind is supposed to be switching around and coming more from the northeast. That could help.