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TOPIC: Boardwalk rebuild lures treasure hunters

Boardwalk rebuild lures treasure hunters 6 years 8 months ago #10395

  • wreckdiver
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Boardwalk rebuild lures treasure hunters

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 November 2012 06:14


Written by Brian Shane

OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND — As crews demolish Ocean City’s Boardwalk to its sandy base this winter, treasure hunters armed with metal detectors are arriving in droves, seeking valuables lost between the planks over decades.

“This year, there’s a lot of people coming down,” said Roland, 64, who declined to give his last name. “I guess they heard the finds that were occurring last year, so they’re all hoping to strike it rich.”

Last winter, the town had its Boardwalk rebuilt from the midpoint to the northern end. This year, in phase II of the project, they’re downtown. Working about a tenth of a mile at a time, crews laying new boards on one end of the job site while tearing up the substructure at the other, leaving nothing but sand in the middle.

Standing outside The Dough Roller at Second Street, Roland scours that sand using his White’s brand Spectra V3 model metal detector in one hand, and a pole-mounted sand scooper in the other. Its display shows him how deep an object is, and at what frequency it’s responding to his machine.

A retired postman from Ocean Pines, Roland has been on the prowl here almost every night for the last six weeks. He wants to pay off his $1,299 machine and its $140 specialized head, as well as the $110 scoop. Last year, he found about $185 in coins. This year, so far, he’s up to $250.

He wears a 14-carat men’s gold chain he found, as well as an oversized ring that only fits on his thumb. He’s also found pieces from charm bracelets, lapel pins, small silver rings, and other “curious junk” like a Betty Boop pendant or a Maltese cross.

“It gets me off the couch. That’s the main reason I’m down here. Even though it’s cold in the winter, it’s good exercise. I’m swinging the arm and I’m walking,” he said.

But this romantic endeavor is a headache for the contractors tasked with rebuilding the iconic wooden walkway. They’re steamed that strangers are nosing around their job site.

“I did the job last year and it’s a liability for them to be out here if they get hurt,” said Stephen Rose, part of a crew from Rehak Contracting that’s now building the new Boardwalk substructure. “They’re out here every night. As soon as we shut down as 5 o’clock, they’re out here metal detecting, all weekend.”

When he tries to shoo them away, Rose said “they look at you like you don’t even exist. They don’t care. No common courtesy.”

Roland admits that he’s probably trespassing somehow. But when the contractors leave, “there’s nobody to call the police, so then we’re down here and we’re searching,” he said.

“You’re not stealing anything that’s of interest to the contractor. You’re finding something that’s lost, that nobody would ever find. Nobody’s going to miss it at this point,” he added.

Ocean City Police have been asked to keep an eye on the area, according to spokesman Pfc. Mike Levy. Folks caught there could be charged with trespassing or malicious destruction of property, he said.

“Obviously, we would appreciate the consideration of folks not to go in there and mess it up so it has to be re-worked,” he said. “It’s no different than somebody pouring concrete and you walking across with the intent to do damage. I know the folks are out there trying to find hidden treasures. However, we have to be reasonable.

Metal detecting has become extremely popular in the last few years because the market value of gold and silver has skyrocketed in recent years, according to metal-detecting aficionado Bill Winkler, owner of The TreasureQuest Shoppe in Ocean View, Del.

Some metal detectors are pulse detectors that pick up just about everything. Winkler sells a base level metal detector for $150. For serious hobbyists, high-end metal detectors use GPS and Google Maps to show scavengers on a computer where they’ve been, and also work in salt water. Those starts at $1,000.

“I tell people, if you’re unemployed, if you’ve got the time? Get on the beach. After the hurricanes, the nor’easters, there’s all kind of stuff found,” he said

Winkler said he did check out the Boardwalk rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, but “there was so much trash in there that you would have to be pretty desperate to jump in there and find some coins. Not worth the time.”



Courtesy; Delmarva Now
“Treasure – If it’s out there, we’re going to find it!” (Tommy Vawter)
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Re: Boardwalk rebuild lures treasure hunters 6 years 8 months ago #10421

  • WhiteFeather
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B) When I was young our family would go to Ocean City MD, Bethany Beach DEL, Rehobeth Beach DEL, Wildwood NJ, Atlantic City, NJ and Ocean City NJ several times a year. As I grew up and started a family of my own I would take my kids over to the beaches several times a summer. One of the things we all did as children was to go under the bordwalks with those little round sand sifters and search for dropped coins under any concession stand where there was a coin opperated machine sitting out front on the boards. The boards had a gap between them and if you dropped a coin puting it in the machine it usually rolled into the space between the boards. Sometimes we really found a lot of coins if you found a spot where the clearance was very low. Most of the kids didn't want to go where the boardwalk was pressing their chest into the sand to hunt for coins. I guess that was what separated us future detectorists from the rest of the gang. :laugh: With the boardwalk gone it would seem that the most productive areas would be very close to the buildings where the boardwalk was to low for even the most determined of us to get to. My kids still take their kids to the shore. My Dad has a house near Bethany Beach and whenever we go up north we run up to the shore. A few miles to the north is the Indian River Inlet. Just to the north side of the inlet is a great coin beach that produces a wide varity of coins from some of the wrecks offshore. A great place to hunt is all along the shorelines of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. :woohoo:

After storms that damaged the boardwalks we would have to sneak in to search the sand because the police would cordon off the area with ropes and barriers and run you off if they caught you. Luckilly, I was very quick. I learned very fast to be a pirate. Find it, recover it and run fast with your mouth shut! Cops were out of shape and didn't try very hard to catch a kid who could really run fast. :woohoo:
Count your Blessings but Remember your Dreams!
Last Edit: 6 years 8 months ago by WhiteFeather.
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