What are the Best Metal Detectors for Underwater Search & Recovery?

By Michael Bernzweig

Some of the most exciting treasures have been located deep below the ocean. Since the beginning of recorded history, ships have been transporting the riches of the world from port to port in their travels around the world. Many of these ships ran in to treacherous conditions and with them went those treasures. Generations later, many of these shipwrecks are being discovered and recovered using modern technologies. Mel Fisher, Barry Clifford and other modern day treasure hunters have recovered and preserved a number of these exciting treasures that had been lost for many generations. With the continuing rise in the value of precious metals, the race to recover these lost valuables has increased to a fever pitch. With the assistance of modern metal detection technologies the dream of recovering these riches is becoming a reality for many. In this article we will cover boat towed and hand held metal detectors. We will also discover underwater cable tracking detectors, sonar systems and the effective use of pingers and receivers in marine recoveries.

The first category of marine equipment is the boat towed devices. These devices come in two general types, metal detectors and magnetometers. Metal detectors are designed for reasonable depth on all types metals. Magnetometers are designed to locate iron and steel at greater depth. The Proton 4 Magnetometer for example has the maximum usable sensitivity for a boat towed device. The detection depth and area of coverage are important factors to consider when selecting a device. These devices are quite useful for covering large areas of ocean in search of shipwrecks and other underwater salvage operations.

Boat Towed Metal Detection Devices:

If your search is over a smaller, more defined area, you should consider a hand held metal detector. These units are perfect for pinpointing individual targets once you have located your site. For salt water exploration, you will want to consider a metal detector that features either a Pulse or Broad Band Spectrum circuit. These technologies will eliminate the effects of the minerals in the water. Be sure to read our article entitled Underwater Metal Detectors - Reviewing the Best Options. If you are looking for large deeply buried cables, cannons or dredge parts you might consider a hand held magnetometer like the JW Fishers Diver 1.

Hand Held Metal Detectors For Diving:

The next category of underwater recovery devices are underwater cable tracking detectors. These devices can be used on land or underwater to locate and track buried power and communications cables. These devices are used by utility companies globally for tracking down pipes and cables that are in need of repair. These devices do serve other uses as well. For example the JW Fishers PT-1 will also detect any iron or steel object. This is particularly useful for locating sunken anchors, chains and dredge heads.

Underwater Cable Tracking Detectors:

The next category of underwater exploration equipment is side scan sonar devices. These units will provide a visual image of vast areas of the ocean floor. They are effective devices to use in checking on the status of buried pipelines and cables. They are also used by the military, dredging operations, fisheries and for large scale environmental studies. These devices come in both single and dual frequency configurations.

Underwater Sonar Systems

The last category of devices that we will cover in this article is pingers and pinger receivers. These devices are useful in marking the location of shipwrecks once they have been discovered. By marking off your location you can easily return at a later time for additional recoveries. The pinger is the device that sends out the signal. The pinger receiver is the device used to locate the pinger at a given point in the future.

Underwater Pingers & Receivers:

The costs involved with dispatching a crew for exploration are high. It is important to send them out with the correct and best equipment suited for the job at hand. Take the time to thoroughly investigate your equipment choices. Our experienced staff is here to guide you through the process. I wish you success in your marine salvage operation.

Copyright 2011 Detector Electronics Corp. - Revised November 2021