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MontAmmie

1715 Spanish Fleet Lease Areas

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Hi Ya'll and Happy Saturday!

In anticipation of my Garrett Infinium being ordered (maybe), I decided to have a look at Google maps and see where I could go water hunt nearby.  As some of you may know, there are areas where it is illegal to detect in the water just south of my area, from about Sebastian inlet south to Ft Pierce.  I thought it might not be a bad idea to know exactly where these areas are, so that I could avoid getting into trouble.  So I googled this search to death and found that information about these lease areas is pretty scarce.  

In my Google search I did find the Facebook page for Queen's Jewels Salvage Co, which leases the salvage rights from the state.  These salvage areas presumably include the wreck sites and a 3000 ft radius around each one, excluding the beach area from the low tide line up to the dunes.  So, law abiding citizen that I am, I pm'd whoever is in charge of the FB page and politely asked them what areas the leases cover and if Melbourne beach is ok to metal detect in the water.  Here is the answer I got:

"It is illegal to detect anywhere in the water. A permit from the FLA Department of Historical Resources is required to search for any historical artifact. The only detecting permitted I. The State is on the beach."

That didn't sound quite right to me.  I've seen lots of people in the water with detectors on the beaches all over the state and nobody was hauling them off in handcuffs.   So I asked nicely if it is ok to just search for modern jewelry and does this mean that the whole state is off limits to water detecting.  

Well, apparently, it technically is.

"Obviously that's not what you're looking for or you wouldn't have asked us. Do as you wish, I'm just telling you what the law says"

Whoa there, Smeagol!  I wasn't trying to steal your One Ring from you!  

So does this mean that all the guys detecting ankle-deep in the water at South Beach and Ft. Lauderdale are desperate fugitive criminals just waiting to be caught by the long arm of the law?  Apparently so.

From MDHTalk website: "As for metal detecting in the water, all lands that are below the mean high water line are considered state sovereignty submerged lands and, while it is not against the law to possess a metal detector in the water, it IS against the law to disturb the bottom sediments. So, if something is detected, it would be illegal to dig for it. "

Yeah, if it's fun, somebody, somewhere has probably passed a law making it illegal.
 

I'm beginning to wonder if detecting in the water here is a good idea.  Do any of you Florida guys do it and have you ever been harassed for it?  

Thanks!

Ammie

 

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Don't ask anymore......just go have fun. Technically speaking you are looking for a ring YOU lost. And any ancient treasures you find you just discard. There are times when even law enforcement officials don't know the law. And I will add one more thing...some laws are no better then the toilet paper they are written on.  

strick 

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I have to admit when it come to urban metal detecting that I tend to think it is better to ask forgiveness than permission. There are various little rules on the books that can be interpreted by almost any government type person as prohibiting metal detectors, even though that was never the intent of the rule. What park does not have a rule about "defacing the grounds"? Many of these government people don't know the rules for sure, and the knee jerk reaction from anyone who is unsure is to just deny permission.

I try to apply good common sense about where to dig or not and where the law is clear I abide by the law. Like no detecting in National Parks - the law is very clear on that. The most important thing is I try to be invisible. Detect oddball hours, detect on rainy days, detect on holidays, but whenever possible detect when you are going to be observed by a few eyeballs as possible. A little discretion goes a long way.

We all tend to worry about it but the reality is that anyone actually being cited, fined, or punished in any way for normal casual metal detecting is incredibly rare. You are far more likely in a worst case scenario to simply be warned. This really is a situation where law enforcement had better things to do than chase around seniors with metal detectors. However, if a member of the public complains for any reason, they are duty bound to investigate. Again, a good reason to avoid people if at all possible.

A visit to the local club nearest the location you wish to hunt and some low key inquiries about law enforcement actions against detectorists can give you clues about just how hot the water may or may not be.

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Years ago, I went to a federal office at a local lake, asked the man in charge if I could metal detect around within the federal property.  His answer was, that I was the first to ask that question, and would have to check on the rules so he could give me an answer.  Two weeks later he called back, saying, you can metal detect on the beach areas, and anywhere below the high water line, but nowhere else.  Period.  Bottom line, I think Steve is correct, the law enforcement have more important fish to fry, than hassling seniors w/metal detectors...well, I hope so...

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Steve got my like at the first and second sentence.

It's easier to ask forgiveness than ask permission. And for the lock - intent.

I've been investigated and prevailed. :angry: :biggrin:

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The government has everybody walking on pins and needles...I was in Santa Cruz last year and a nice couple walk by and watch me dig a target. The husband asks if it's legal to do this type of activity on the beach? like I was destroying the beach or something? I looked at him smiled and said yes this is the United states of America...He nodded in agreement. 5 seconds later the hole was covered by my foot and the next wave that came in. Good hunting out there!

strick

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I was asked a similar question once.

A guy storms across the park right to me...

"Is that legal?"

I laughed in reply, "Everything is legal unless prohibited by law!"

I don't think he understood, but he went away.

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3 hours ago, strick said:

 ...watch me dig a target. The husband asks if it's legal to do this type of activity on the beach?...

strick

My favorite reply is hopefully being able to point toward a dad who's helping his two kids who're busily digging out a sub-basement n saying "go ask him.." If one of those isn't right there handy the answer is always "absolutely..!"

The big tweak with this one is my holes get filled in; their holes get fallen into..
Beaches can be dangerous places, especially on moonless nights..

Swamp

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"Not only is removing trash from the beach legal - it's encouraged!"

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Update:

Well, I emailed  the Treasure Coast Archaeological Society (metal detecting club in Sebastian).  I figured if anyone knew about it, they would.  They emailed me back and said water detecting around Melbourne was fine.  

So I'll just leave this here for ya'lll.  You know....just in case.  Thanks for all the input!

wanted (724x1024).jpg

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