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Very shallow water solo diving for metal detecting?

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by Anonymous_Diver, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. Anonymous_Diver

    Anonymous_Diver Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: USA
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    Question: how risky or benign is shallow water metal detecting with SCUBA? My other option is hookah diving which apparently doesn't require a certification. Hookah seems significantly more risky than SCUBA due to the lack of training, fuel, and fact that your air source isn't on you.

    Background:
    I am a land metal detecting enthusiast and am very likely to move (for work) to a island. I previously (~10yrs ago) did NAUI scuba diver with 4 dives but didn't stick with it due to moving far inland.

    I plan on:
    - Completely redoing diving cert. Yep, may not be necessary
    - Doing a few buddy dives w/o my detecting gear to start
    - Always <15ft depth max, generally <10ft along shores.
    - Always during daylight, calm water, and good weather
    - Only on flat bottom areas with sand. No reef, cave, wreck, or any diving that isn't generally flat...
    - Generally stick to swim-only areas. Why go where where there arn't any people to drop things?:)

    As for gear
    - Own 100% of all gear eventually. I generally distrust gear I can't vouch for 100% of its whereabouts and want gear that I can get used to. This is the same for my metal detector; time and use builds experience and familiarity.
    - Include dive knife, line cutter, safety sausage, and other normal items
    - Pony bottle (13-19CF) or at least a 'spare air' for primary air failures.

    So, am I crazy or is this reasonable over a $2.5K hookah system with no training.
     
  2. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

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    There are no scuba police waiting to ticket or arrest you underwater. While it would be prudent to take a training course that focuses on solo diving, there is no law against doing what you want to do. If you feel comfortable with your competence and skill level then why should opinions of the faceless masses of the internet have any bearing on your decision?

    My recommendation is to, at a minimum, do some reading on solo diving practices...perhaps obtain a solo diving course manual. Think of those who pioneered solo diving as having put together hard learned best practices....there is not reason for you to figure this all out on your own because the trial and error has been done already for you, and the errors may be final.

    That being said...if I was weighing the options you presented above, I would choose to have my air supply on my back as opposed to a hookah system. Nothing changes though from a breathing compressed air at depth standpoint...the fact that the air is surface fed from a hookah makes no difference physiologically. And the scuba training you do by redoing your OW certification would be more versatile as your needs and desires expand.

    -Z
     
    markmud, RVA_Diver and Barnaby'sDad like this.
  3. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Largo, FL USA
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    I've often considered metal detecting underwater myself as there's lots of touristy beaches in my hometown. I have several friends who have lost wedding rings. Given all the tourists, I bet the water near shore is just covered with treasures. I've never actually rented an u/w metal detector to try it. My understanding is that dive rated metal detectors worth a flip are pretty expensive. If you're ready to drop $2500 on a hookah, maybe you've already got that covered? If you haven't looked into it, my understanding is that land based detectors aren't suitable for u/w detecting.

    Hookah systems are kind of interesting, but I've always been a bit leery of gas powered hookah units due to the potential to get some of the exhaust into your lungs. The electric units are kind of appealing, but I've heard that battery life on those can be a problem. I don't know anyone with either gas or electric hookahs myself.

    Training is an interesting question here. Any shop that sells u/w metal detecting training is likely to be near beaches that are completely picked clean of anything valuable. Given what you're thinking of spending on the hookah, the cost of a solo course should be a small thing. I'd do that if I were you. You'll end up buying some redundant gear, I'm sure. As with any technical course, they'll teach you about redundancy and self-rescue.

    Having spent a fair amount of time searching for fossils underwater, I can tell you that you'll be needing a lot of lead. Especially near shore when waves will be an issue. Normally, I don't carry much ditchable weight when diving. I weight myself at least double what I normally would when I'm searching for fossils. Also, you'll have some digging tools to manage/store when you're not using them.
     
  4. northernone

    northernone Great White Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Currently: Cozumel, from Canada
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    A few considerations:

    1. There is specific training for solo diving, but it's generally recognized experience is also needed to do it safely. We often don't know how to assess risk when there are unknowns our training and experience haven't made obvious yet.

    2. It's nearly as easy to drown in 1ft of water as 100ft down. There are many people who die in the shallows, thinking it's a safer depth.


    3. Solo diving is my favorite sort of diving and can be done with sufficient risk mitigations to be an enjoyable hobby.

    4. Hookah like you mentioned has many of the same risks as scuba and with less flexibility and added risk factors. But if you do drown at least your tied to a hose so they can haul up the body without getting wet.

    Well, those are my thoughts, glad you're back to diving and metal detecting in a new area.

    ... Watch out for swimmers who think you are a shark... I've
    been kicked vigorously by a parent trying to defend their child.
     
    JamesBon92007, Zef and Dark Wolf like this.
  5. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Largo, FL USA
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    ...talk about kicking a guy while he's down.
     
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  6. Geobound

    Geobound Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Ontario
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    As a detectorist myself I feel I can answer this with confidence..........for whatever that may be worth?? :D

    You said all of the good stuff about staying shallow, hunting in calm waters, daylight hours and such, so that's all good and positive. You likely won't be out much more than 12' -15' of water, and as such can easily hit the surface without any issues if you needed to do so. That is of course counting on you not being caught up in anything. That's where your cutting implement comment comes into play.

    Although if you are hunting beaches and public swimming areas, there is likely to be none of those things to worry about.

    What type of metal detector are you thinking of getting?

    Most of the land/water machines are only rated for 10' depths (but that could be good enough), the other "scuba" type detectors are good up to 250'. Things like the Minelab Excal II and the Fisher CZ-21 both reach those depths, and are similarly priced.

    Never attach the control box to your body (as can be done with the CZ-21), due to the possibility of getting snagged on something from the headphone wire to the control box. Always leave it attached to the machine.

    If I were you I would start off in "shallow" waters until you get the feel of your equipment. Most people play within the 4' - 6' range so scuba equipment may not even be necessary, but I get the idea of wanting to dive to do it.

    I have a very good friend of mine who dives both scuba and hookah, and finds benefits to both. It all comes down to how much you want to spend, and how much time you want to invest in finding things?

    There is less junk in the water to detect, but don't be thinking that you won't find any. The amount of crap that's in our lakes, rivers, streams and oceans are simply staggering. We are pigs and there is no two ways about it!

    Lost of nails, bottle caps, tin foil, hair pins and on and on.

    I never beach detect during the busy hours as people often think you are trying to steal from them, but when you show them all the metal bits of cut up cans and other sharp objects that I remove so they don't step on them..........well they still look at you disapprovingly, but they become a little more relaxed about the whole process.

    Just remember to think about your kit, where do you have things tied off (or dangling) that could get caught on something, do you need a dive flag to indicate diver below, do you have gloves to protect you from sharp objects like glass and fish hooks and stuff.

    Do the safety checks in your head first, then at the beach, then get into the water.

    Have fun out there, it's a blast!
     
  7. JamesBon92007

    JamesBon92007 Great White

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
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    Personally I'd be concerned about ascending unintentionally while absorbed in some newly-found treasure and would prefer to be negatively weighted. This is assuming that wherever you are diving it's OK to touch the bottom, which may not be the case on an "island." But if it's OK to dig up the sand then it's probably OK to kneel on it.
     
  8. Anonymous_Diver

    Anonymous_Diver Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: USA
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    Hello everyone again. Thank you for your thoughts about this as it is appreciated. Without having dived in a decade things are a bit fuzzy.

    I wan't really thinking about hookah just because of the weight, fuel/battery risks, maintenance, and the upfront large costs. This is really about if I can slide into SCUBA gear and hit hot areas I can't get from normal means of using water waders. I hope to use the hobby to eventually pay for itself as it has on land by the finds (found several pieces of gold & silver) and also the time I not spent elsewhere doing more expensive hobbies.

    I already own a high-end detector with over 1000 hours of use (CTX-3030) which is rated for mild underwater use at shallow depths. I have pair of Gray Ghost Amphibian underwater headphones which came with the detector package I bought many years ago. I also happen to own a pair of scuba reef gloves from just giving up on trying to keep my hands dry when detecting in the rain. I also still have my old mask, fins, snorkel, and boots so that isn't a factor either. Overall the

    As for the diver down flag, some of the areas for the island may be netted for swimmers only thus no need (?) for a flag. If it isn't netted, I use a diver down flag for sure. Once I get official word on where I will be going I'll dig into the rules and areas for sure.

    I know touching reef's and such are a no-no and I really have no business in reef areas or areas where there isn't sand/small stone/silt where objects and be easily found. I also know enough from years of detecting what to do and not to do in a lot of situations, such as finding unexploded military ordinances and archaeological items; I have had my fair share of training from the military and archaeological institutions for these situations.
     
  9. Geobound

    Geobound Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Ontario
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    I too have the CTX and use often in the water for shallow hunts, it's a great machine.

    I don't know about the hobby ever paying itself off or not though?? Every time I think I've got there, I go and add more equipment or another machine to the mix?!? :rofl3:
     
  10. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Largo, FL USA
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    This depends entirely on where you'll be diving. Unless I missed it, I haven't seen you mention specifically where you'll be (probably wise, to keep that beach from getting picked over :wink: )

    I know the rules for Florida as that's where I dive most of the time.

    Technically, you need a flag anytime you're underwater in Florida. I have seen some marked swimming areas like you're talking about where diving is not allowed. Blue Heron Bridge comes to mind. In that case, you're required to surface swim until you leave the swimming area at which point you can descend on scuba. I don't know if that was a local rule or a statewide rule.

    I do know that the laws covering diver's down flags do not make any exceptions for designated swimming areas. That said, it doesn't make sense to me to carry one in a swimming area. The penalty for violation is tiny, therefore I probably would risk a ticket and not carry one.

    Here's the law: Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine

    Here's where the FWC translates the law into English: Regulationsaaa
     

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