Wednesday, April 22, 2015

4/22/15 Report - Code Of Conduct For Hunting On A Beach With Other Detectorists. Provide Your Input.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Russ P. thanked the blog and its readers for identifying his sword pin mystery item.  He went on to say, There is one topic I'd like to see addressed in your blog.  I don't think you've covered it before.  What are  I'm sure it is much different than mainland sites.  I wouldn't dream of encroaching on someone hunting mainland, but it seems much more acceptable on a beach-or is it?  For example, would you work a cut that someone else is working and, if so, at what distance.  

That is an interesting question.  Beach hunting is different from inland hunting and those that specialize in each are different.  Inland hunting involves getting permission and taking care of the property by filling holes and replacing grass etc.  Inland hunters are probably a bit more experienced on the whole.  They are interested in history and probably a more conservative group on the average,  A good number of land hunters are as happy to find some worthless rusted old relic as they would be to find a piece of gold.

I think beach hunters are a more diverse group.  Some beach hunters are just as experienced and just as interested in history, but among the beach hunters you also have a lot of beginners and some who are on vacation and look at it as a way to pass some vacation time a few times a year.  There is also a small group that are out there with the thought of nothing more than sniping a recently dropped ring.  So while there is some overlap of groups, on average I do think there are some differences.

You might remember the post I did not too long ago addressing the question of how things sink in dirt.  I assembled the various thoughts I received and posted them and gave a bit of a summary.  That worked well.   Maybe we can similarly develop some guidelines concerning beach detecting etiquette by putting our heads together.

I'll start by putting some hypothetical situations out there and see what you all think would be the proper conduct.  I need to hear what you think.   After I have everybody's thoughts I'll post representative ideas along with my conclusions.

Hypothetical situation number 1.   Suppose you arrive at a treasure beach and someone is already working a cut that you planned to work.    What should you do?  Jump in right beside them and start detecting?  Hurry around to get in front of them and start detecting?  Go the opposite direction?  Move on to another beach?  Think about it and let me know what you think would be the right thing to do.

Hypothetical situation number 2.  You arrive at the beach the same time as another detectorist.  You talk a short while in the parking lot and walk over the crossover.  You both see a promising cut.  What should you do?  Get your equipment on as fast as possible and try to beat the other guy to the cut or what?

Hypothetical situation number 3.   You see someone digging a bunch of holes in a dip or coccentrated area.  What would you do?   Hurry up and get down there and start digging right beside him trying to get whats left before he does, or what?

Those are just a few situations to get you going.  They deal with issues of encroachment.  You might think of other issues to address.

The one issue that has been thoroughly addressed for beach hunters  (even though there are still some violators) is the matter of filling holes.  I think everyone knows that you should fill your holes.  Some people just don't care.  And there are some situations when it doesn't seem necessary, such as when you are on a remote beach with no one around and the water will fill the holes in a few minutes anyhow.

Another issue might be discarding dug metallic trash on the beach.  That is littering and might not deserve mention, but some people do it.

Some people look at metal detecting as being very competitive.   There are a few who think that detecting is war and anything goes.  Some are just ignorant, but the vast majority are courteous and considerate.   I've had very few encounters with rude inconsiderate people, but it has happened.

There may be other issues besides encroachment that you want to address.  Feel free.

I'll give you a few of my thoughts with which you might agree or disagree.

While I don't believe that anyone is entitled to have an entire beach to themselves (they can't cover it all by themselves anyhow) I do believe you should give other detectorists some space, especially when they got there first.   How much space is another question.  That might depend on other factors.  Generally speaking I'd throw out something like 30 yards.

It is hard to put a number on it because there are other factors that you might want to take into account.  If two detectorists are walking along the beach in opposite directions they can pass very close to each other without any problem.  If there is detetector chatter, most people will try to minimize that.

If someone is working along a line, whether it is next to a cut or next to the water, I generally give them the line, at least for a good distance.

I'd say if someone found a good cluster or a coin hole or coin line, it should be their's to work.

If someone is working a well defined tight pattern, whether it is following a cut or working a grid, I'd say don't jump in on them.

If you give someone a certain amount of space no one seems to have a problem with that, but like personal space, the specific amount might vary from person to person.

There are other factors than space.  Some people might take up your time in one way or another.

If two detectorists are working two different zones, such as dry sand and wet sand, they can be very close in proximity without any feeling of encroachment.  They are working different areas.

Of course if you are causing detector chatter, you need to give them some more space.  That seems to be less of a problem these days.

If someone is wandering around in an apparently random pattern, I see no issue with encroachment unless you are right on top of them or following them around or something.

One time I arrived at a beach and another fellow (evidently a beginner) started talking to me as soon as he saw I had a detector.  He followed me around asking questions and wanting me to teach him what to do.  He followed me all the way down the beach.  I don't know why he thought I knew what I was doing but he attached to me and seemed to expect me to give him lessons when I had very limited time and just wanted to check the beach with the little time that I had available.  He wasn't encroaching on my space, but he was encroaching on my time.  I am limited in the time that I have available to hunt and highly value my beach time.

Another detectorist got insulted because I didn't stop and talk long enough.  I was on a tight schedule and had a lot to do that day.

There are a few thoughts to get you started.  How much space do you think you should give another detectorist?  What factors should be considered?  And what other issues should be addressed.

Thanks in advance for your input.


The weather is good down in the Keys.  The Margruder is on the Santa Margarita wreck site, and the Dare will soon be there too.


Not much new on the Treasure Coast. 

Happy hunting,