From time to time, I am asked for advice on metal detecting the Jersey Shore area. When hunting the Jersey beaches, there are several points you should keep in mind.
On the beach, you encounter both dry and wet sand, which pose different environmental conditions for metal detecting. A single frequency metal detector, or really most any metal detector on the market, works great on dry sand. When detecting wet sand however, specialized equipment is required. Having a detector equipped with multi-frequency technology is key. For example, for the entry to mid-level detectorist, Minelab FBS or BBS detectors, such as the Safari and E-Trac are perfect.
You will definitely want to have a waterproof coil if you are going anywhere near the shore…however, almost all coils these days are in fact waterproof to ocean water. Coils are made waterproof through the process of potting (filling the electronic assembly with a compound). In other words, a solid-potted coil is generally waterproof whereas a hollow one is not.
Many detectorists prefer a completely waterproof detector. These metal detectors are completely submersible. This can be useful for those inclined to do underwater detecting, as well as folks who are just worried about dropping their valuable equipment when detecting in the shallow water. The Sea Hunter Mark II and the Excalibur II are great options in this category.
When you hit the shore, you are going to want to bring along a few additional pieces of gear to maximize your success and comfort detecting the beach. Besides your detector and headphones, you will want to have a sand scoop. Amongst sand scoops, there is a huge variety in form factors—choose the one that feels the most comfortable to you. For example, if you don’t want to bend down as much, you might consider a scoop with a longer handle. Another item essential to beach hunting is a pouch. Again, you have a big variety to choose from…go with a pouch that has the features you need (capacity, pockets, belt-style, etc.), as well as the right comfort in terms of how you will carry it.
Very importantly, know the regulations of the area you’re going to hunt. Any area designated as National Historic or National Seashore is off-limits to metal detecting. For example, the Cape May Lighthouse falls under the National Historic Landmarks designation. There are many public beaches on the Jersey Shore that are friendly to metal detectors, but always confirm the rules before you go. When detecting public beaches, you may be approached to buy a beach tag—these are available for daily and yearly rates.
Most of all, have fun out there! Beach detecting in general is an amazing hobby that will provide endless hours of enjoyment. Metal detecting the Jersey Shore can be very rewarding in terms of fun, friends, and discoveries! Happy hunting!
Picture Credits: My buddies, Joe (with shirt) and Dave doing a little detecting on a Jersey beach!