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Metal Detecting In Florida?
You Should Know The Law


If you are metal detecting in Florida,there is a federal law you need to be aware of.

The ARPA law, which I will cover on this page is the law that most in the hobby are not aware of.

Florida town, and municipalities may also have their own laws regarding digging for artifacts. You should know what those laws are as well.


The ARPA law, "The Archaeological Resource Preservation" Act, is the grand daddy of all of the laws that have to do with the digging and removal of artifacts.

The Federal ARPA law, (Archaelogical Resource Preservation Act)

Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA)ARPA was enacted by Congress in 1979 to protect our nation's archaeological resources located on public lands. This law provides for punishment of individuals who knowingly loot or vandalize archaeological sites by imposing stiff fines, imprisonment, and confiscation of artifacts as well as tools and vehicles used in the violation. Although ARPA does not apply to state lands, the passage of this law paved the way for states, including Florida, to enact similar laws for the protection of cultural resources located on state lands.


For more information regarding ARPA,  please visit my page here.

Here’s A Story That Was Told To Me

I received an email from a man who was metal detecting in Florida and was arrested for metal detecting on property that was not posted. He has asked me not to mention his name or where he lives because of the embarrassment for his family.

This individual was treated like a criminal, handcuffed, and hauled off to jail. His detector was confiscated as well.

The local law enforcement officer who arrested him, I won’t divulge what jurisdiction in Florida the officer worked for, but he had no idea who the property belonged to either. He just figured this guy was breaking a law and arrested him.

Apparently, the metal detectorist was detecting in a parking lot that was used for fisherman who parked there.

The only sign in the entire area read “ Fisherman Park Here”.

When the detectorist asked the law enforcement officer to produce the law that says he could not detect that parking lot, the officer handcuffed him.

As it stands now, the case is going to court. The gentleman who was arrested had to hire an attorney and pay $5000 as a bail/bond to get out of jail.

He still has not got his detector back.

Oh, by the way. This poor man was not caught digging anything, and, it was his first day in the hobby of metal detecting.

Remember, if you are going to metal detect in Florida, you better know the law.

Remember, you can metal detect in Florida, however, you just can’t dig any artifact that is one hundred years old.

Detecting on State beaches is allowed if you get a permit. Be careful. You need to ask if your permit is just for the beach area. Some States do not allow detecting outside of the beaches even with a permit.

Metal Detecting In Florida

Metal detecting in Florida can bring you some great finds. But pay attention to those laws.

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