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Thread: Where do land laws end and sea laws begin at the beach?

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  1. #1

    Apr 2013
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Where do land laws end and sea laws begin at the beach?

    Might be a stupid question, but I'm from Puerto Rico and I know there are laws regarding the majority of treasure found in the sea needing to be handed over to the state so I'm wondering where this actually applies, 1 foot of water, 10 foot, 20 foot?
    Do you need a permit to detect in the water off the beach or does no-one care unless you find something and start talking?

  2. #2
    us
    Apr 2013
    San Anselmo, Ca
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    Looks legal according to this thread. Puerto Rico

  3. #3
    us
    Mar 2011
    San Diego
    Equinox 800, Treasure Probe IV, E-Trac, 3 Excal 1000's, White's GM3 V-sat. White's TM808, VibraProbe, 15" NEL Attack, 5X10 Joey, Steath 920ix and 720i, TRX, etc....
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    In most places you can hunt the beaches and water without any problem or permit. Now if there is a salvage claim issued along that section of beach, I believe it's from the mean low tide and out that is off limits. You would have to check with the Puerto Rican laws to see if it the same.
    Dave2 likes this.

  4. #4

    Apr 2013
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Ok thanks for the info.

  5. #5

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
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    meteor-minor, I find your answer interesting, from a psychological perspective. Your answer, that it "looks legal", is based on that thread, right? And reading through that thread, I see that ........ really ...... only a single respondant in that thread, said anything to do with the "legality" of metal detecting the beaches there. The other respondants just chimed in about "watch out for muggers" or airport transportation things, or "good luck and have fun", etc... The single person on that thread that actually said anything pertinent about "legality", was this singular sentence:

    "I live here and have not had any experiences with not being allowed to hunt a beach, (not aware of any laws that prevent MD'ing on the beach either)."

    Thus I presume that, from that, you gathered that it "looked legal". Right?

    But notice that this person who apparently hunts the beaches there with no problems, never said that he's "checked the laws" or "asked anyone". He only says that he does it, and doesn't have a problem. In fact, he even goes so far as to say that he knows of no laws that prevent md'ing". Notice he didn't say that there ISN'T a law that prevents md'ing, but only that he doesn't (personally) KNOW of any law that prevents md'ing.

    Therefore, the average reader reading a post like that, focusses on the fact that a) there's someone there detecting b) they don't have a problem c) they know of no laws saying you can't.

    However NONE of that means that there isn't actually a law that prevents md'ing. What I mean is, there *might* be a law that prevents md'ing, and perhaps this person just doesn't know about it? However, as you can see, it appears to be a non-issue, as apparently ........ no one cares. Which, by the way, can often be the case, where even if you COULD find some "law", morphed to fit cultural heritage and such, yet in actual effect and purpose, they're meant for people raiding shipwrecks, pillaging pyramids, etc... NOT the guy plying the beach for loose change. Thus you and I tend to focus on "actual reality" therefore, not "laws". See what I mean?

    The same psychology came up on a California md'ing forum: Some guy posted a question, wanting to know if he could metal detect on a particular university campus (which has massive sprawling grounds, acreage, etc....). Someone else answered them by saying: "you should go ask campus security, or ask at the front desk, etc...". HOWEVER, a few others who read the post, chimed in to the effect: "I hunt there all the time, and never have a problem" (and then went on to list stuff they'd found, etc....). Humorously, that person who had FIRST answered that the person should "go ask permission", THEN came back on and changed his mind, and said "well, never mind, it looks like you can detect there, and it's ok". Why did he say that? Because he read about the others who detect there, and no one cares, and decided that it must not be an issue. Ie.: must not be illegal, since others seem to be doing it with no problems.

    BUT WAIT! Why does the mere fact of people doing it, and no one caring, "make it ok"? Read my post about the guy detecting a federal beach. Here's a case of someone detecting a place, and having no problems. And of course we all know, that if you looked long enough and hard enough, and asked enough federal rangers, that you would indeed eventually find yourself a "no". And for THAT reason, we therefore say: you can't detect there. But why is it then, that other places, that you might ALSO find yourself a "No" (if you asked long enough and hard enough), that we instinctively give those places the "ok", "simply because others are doing it, and having no problems or issues" ?

    Just a curious psychological nuance that is intriguing to me
    Sandman likes this.

  6. #6

    Apr 2013
    21
    1 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    From what people have said there seems to be no problems on public beaches - if it's a private beach you need to have permission.
    As it's a US territory the laws apply to national parks - no metal detecting. Interestingly St. John which is another US territory fairly close by has a national park which includes 5,650 acres of submerged lands and waters that contain a significant amount of coral reefs, shorelines and marine life. So I'm guessing in that instance you couldn't metal detect either in the water or on the beach if it falls within this area. Puerto Rico just has El Yunque as the national park but as far as I know it doesn't include any beaches or areas of the sea.

  7. #7

    Apr 2013
    21
    1 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Yeah your right Tom in CA, I guess no one is going to pay a lawyer to check through the law and say exactly what is what - you would need a Spanish speaking one that was familiar with that area. I guess I'll find out if I ever get stopped...but it is true that whenever you are stopped it helps to know your rights - especially if your equipment gets confiscated! I might ask a few of the locals if I ever see them out metal detecting, see if any of them know or have had experiences!

  8. #8

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
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    Dave,

    look at what you yourself are saying. In one post, you say:

    "From what people have said there seems to be no problems on public beaches"


    ok, fair enough.

    But then you turn right around and say:

    "I guess I'll find out if I ever get stopped.........especially if your equipment gets confiscated!"


    Huh? Do you see the contradiction?

    In one sentence you are hearing from people "go ahead, no one cares" (of which the average person would conclude as you did, that ...... it's ok). Then in the next sentence, you are right back to to the "what if I get arrested" type fears.

    If I told you that you could detect state of CA beaches, till you're blue-in-the-face, you might be inclined to believe me, since I have hunted them for 35+ yrs. If I told you that there is no shortage of md'rs on our beaches here, who like-wise go un-bothered, you might be inclinded to let that be further proof that no one cares. However, if you read enough state-of-CA verbage you might be inclined to think you can't detect here (and might face "confiscations" and so forth).

    So this is an odd psyschological question: Which takes precedence? If you tried to tell any of the 10000 md'rs on CA beaches that they are "breaking the law", they would look at you, with a dumbfounded stare, and wonder what the h*ck you are talking about? Why? Because it was simply where their mentors detected, and their mentors before them, and so forth. No one has ever cared. But sure, if you asked enough people, far enough up the ladder, in Sacramento, sure, someone would/could morph something to apply to this "pressing question".

  9. #9

    Apr 2013
    21
    1 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Hi Tom,

    You seem to like the psychological side of things but there was no contradiction in what I wrote. I said "from what people have said there seems to be no problems on public beaches" - not that there was no problem, nor even that there might not be a problem. The word seems is not the same as is. Since what people say cannot be taken as what the law actually states I said I would find out if I saw any of the locals out detecting or if I myself was stopped. If my equipment was confiscated (worse case scenario), I would be getting a lawyer anyway to look into it for me (to get my stuff back) and so would find out the exact details of the law then.
    The point of this topic was to find out if anyone knew anything about the law in Puerto Rico with regards to metal detecting - no one did, but no-one including some locals from here has ever encountered any. Odds are high that even if there was a law, it is not being enforced on public beaches...and lets be honest if a law is not being enforced, then it may as well not be a law.

  10. #10

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
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    reply

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave2 View Post
    Hi Tom,

    You seem to like the psychological side of things but there was no contradiction in what I wrote. I said "from what people have said there seems to be no problems on public beaches" - not that there was no problem, nor even that there might not be a problem. The word seems is not the same as is. Since what people say cannot be taken as what the law actually states I said I would find out if I saw any of the locals out detecting or if I myself was stopped. If my equipment was confiscated (worse case scenario), I would be getting a lawyer anyway to look into it for me (to get my stuff back) and so would find out the exact details of the law then.
    The point of this topic was to find out if anyone knew anything about the law in Puerto Rico with regards to metal detecting - no one did, but no-one including some locals from here has ever encountered any. Odds are high that even if there was a law, it is not being enforced on public beaches...and lets be honest if a law is not being enforced, then it may as well not be a law.
    It is certainly true that "just because everyone does it", doesn't mean there "isn't a law". But let's be honest: even the term "law" here, is semi-ambiguous. Because a lot of what people refer to as "laws" (that they say apply to prohibit metal detectors) do not *specifically* say "no metal detectors". INSTEAD, oftime the "laws" they are referring to, are simply cultural heritage wording, or clauses that prohibit "defacement" (which some people could argue means any digging, even if you left no trace). In other words: endless debates of semantics. That ....... sure ...... if you asked enough rangers, cops, or archies, sure, someone's going to tell you: "it forbids detecting".

    Therefore, if there were a place that had a SPECIFIC rule "no detecting", then I might take heed to that. But no, if it's just simply a matter of cultural heritage, antiquities, alterations and defacement, etc... then no, I will automatically assume that detecting violates all of those. Why? Because as we can agree: In ACTUAL PRACTICE there's tons of places where no one cares, and those phrases are not used to forbid detecting. Detecting is seen as innocuous and no one cares. How do we know? Because it goes on all the time.

    But using CA state beaches as an example: you might be inclined to look it up for yourself, if you were about to vacation here. Afterall, as you're saying: the simple fact that detecting is common-place here STILL doesn't mean that there's not a law about it, right? Afterall, every last one of us might be breaking the law, and are/were "just lucky" so far that we haven't faced "confiscations", right? Afterall, you "can't be too careful", right? And upon looking up the CA state park's laws, if you saw things about "cultural heritage", you might wonder: "Does that preclude me from metal detecting on the beach?" So Dave wanders down to an archaeologist's office in Sacramento, seeking clarification. He finds someone to tell him "no you can't detect". Thus Dave leaves the detector at home, and heads off on his vacation to the beach. Imagine his surprise, upon coming out of his beach-front hotel the first morning, to see other md'rs there, without a care in the world. How can that be? How can they be "breaking the law"? And if you talk to them, and alert them, they're going to look at you dumb-founded and wonder "what the h*ck are you talking about? We've detected these beaches for 35+ yrs, right in front of rangers, lifegaurds, etc.... no one cares".

    In fact, quite often when this subject comes up on forums (of "where can I detect when I travel to such & such city ...), a common suggestion is that the person contact local md'rs (like if there's a club there) and ask them. The idea being, that "certainly they know the skinny, since that's where they live and hunt". BUT WAIT!! How do you know for 100% certain, that all those locals (just like in my CA state beach example) aren't simply just "getting away with it"? Thus taken to the umph degree, no one can depend on where it's "simply done". They can't trust anyone's answer, except to go ask or look it up themselves. And if they find something ambiguous and nebulous, even then, they must go "seek clarification". And once they proceed down this road, you can already tell where that's going to go.

    You are probably asking "what the heck does this have to do with Puerto Rico?". Here's what: There have been american tourists, getting ready to vacation to various Mexican or Latin American beach resorts. They inquire ahead "is it legal to metal detect on the beach?". Perhaps they're asking a border consulate. Perhaps they're asking a lawyer or bureucrat from down there. Who knows? They're answer gets couched in terms of federal antiquities, shipwreck salvor things, exporting gold bars, raiding the pyramaids, etc... And they get a "no". But then oddly, when the show up for their vacation imagine their surprise when they see another md'r there, w/o a care in the world. Or when they find out that there's detector dealers there (presumably selling them for lawful purposes).
    Last edited by Tom_in_CA; Apr 24, 2013 at 10:09 AM.

  11. #11
    us
    Mar 2011
    San Diego
    Equinox 800, Treasure Probe IV, E-Trac, 3 Excal 1000's, White's GM3 V-sat. White's TM808, VibraProbe, 15" NEL Attack, 5X10 Joey, Steath 920ix and 720i, TRX, etc....
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    So in short, if there are no specific laws posted prohibiting metal detecting, and in contacting locals they haven't had a problem, then just use good practices and do it.
    Dave2 likes this.

  12. #12

    Oct 2013
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    18 times
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    here on lake erie the land ends at the high water mark.

  13. #13
    us
    Director-Search & Recovery Team of Oakland County.

    Aug 2005
    In Michigan now.
    Excal 1000, Excal II, Sovereign GT, CZ-20, Tiger Shark, Tejon, GTI 1500, Surfmaster Pulse, CZ6a, DFX, AT PRO, Fisher 1235, Surf PI Pro, 1280-X, many more because I enjoy learning them. New Garrett Ca
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudamark View Post
    So in short, if there are no specific laws posted prohibiting metal detecting, and in contacting locals they haven't had a problem, then just use good practices and do it.
    Is best not to dig the holes and leave them call everything up no evidence then anyone was there.
    (C) Sandman, 2005. All Rights Reserved.
    "TIME IS THE ONLY THING YOU NEVER GET BACK, WHY WASTE IT SWINGING A DETECTOR THAT ISN'T UP TO THE TASK."

 

 

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