This post is a collection of tips to help you achieve the best possible results when metal detecting on the beach. Detecting on sand is totally different to detecting in a field, for example, and there are sneaky tricks you can employ to make more, and better finds.
First of all on a beach you really want to be using a pulse metal detector, since they can penetrate the sand better, although you end up digging more because there is no discrimination mode to reject unwanted signals.
Unfortunately this is something that you should accept as one of the necessities of beach detecting, since good finds can often be quite deep, resting on, or having sunk into the hard pack sub surface – that is the hard layer underneath the loose top sand.
Obviously the heavier the object, the deeper it will sink!
One great thing with beach detecting is that there are areas where items that have been moved around by the tide become trapped. These could be rock pools or other depressiona and hollows, along sea walls or sea breaks, or near other structures.
These areas are known as glory holes and can contain a treasure trove of lost items, since once the object gets washed into it, it can’t get back out again.
Often these glory holes will contain a large number of items, sunk to differing depths, and in order to detect them properly (depending on their depth), you will need a waterproof detector, especially designed for this kind of detecting, and a special kind of scoop that will allow the sand to drain out with the water and leave the find behind (see the photo above).
Another method that provides successful results is to look for the areas where the dark sand (the hard pack) is exposed, and detect over this area, since you’re not having to detect through the top sand, making objects easier to find.
Another method is to dig trenches along the sea walls, etc, and to detect in these trenches, as well as detecting the sand that you removed from them. It basically allows you to get deeper in areas where items are likely to have accumulated.
You should also detect over the tide lines, and if there has been a storm, or the sand in any area looks like its been disturbed by the tide, make sure that you go over these carefully.
Other areas to detect in are where swimming has been popular, and if you can be bothered to do a little historical research (yes, you really should!), then old postcards and photos can show where changing huts were, and the areas that people congregated in during earlier years.
These are all great places for beach metal detecting, and following these simple tips will allow you to get the best results with the minimum time and effort.
Good luck if you decide to give it a try, but remember to get a permit from the Crown Estates as outlined in our first beach metal detecting post.