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Dredging Laws Every Treasure Hunter Should Know

Dredging Laws Every Treasure Hunter Should Know

Finding treasure can be exciting, but you need to know some things to ensure your activities are legal. When dredging, you should be aware of local regulations. You don’t want to do all that work only to find out you don’t have the rights to your discoveries. Here are the most crucial dredging laws every treasure hunter should know.

The Original Owner Can Still Claim the Property

Treasure hunters can keep any items they find when dredging. However, if the original owner makes a claim within 28 days of your discovery, the property legally belongs to them. Lost, abandoned, and purposefully buried items are considered fair game.

You must report found treasure on your taxes. List it for the year you found it and ensure the financial gains you list are also accurate. Ownership rights can also depend on where you found the treasure. If you found something on someone’s property, they have a legal claim to it.

Historical Artifacts Are Off Limits

Your rights to treasure also depend on its historical importance. Most U.S. states have laws protecting relics and artifacts. You should have a good idea of what you’ve found before deciding to keep it. This ensures you don’t have a run-in with the law.

Many treasure hunters dredge offshore for items in lakes, rivers, oceans, and other bodies of water. The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 outlines protections for historical marine sites. You aren’t allowed to disturb these sites or take artifacts without permission.

You May Need a Special Permit

It’s also important to get a permit if you’re dredging on public property. You are subject to stiff penalties and fines if you fail to secure the correct paperwork. Reading up on local laws and regulations will ensure you’re prepared for any legal challenges that come your way. If you’re on private property, know who owns it before starting a dredging operation.

When permit costs get in the way, try taking advantage of a 2-inch gold dredge for sale to save money. These machines are priced well, efficient, and offer ultimate portability. 

Be Prepared Before Starting Your Search

Metal detecting, dredging, and other types of treasure hunting can pay dividends. However, you must understand the legal framework surrounding found items so you don’t have to give them up. Every treasure hunter should know these dredging laws. Abiding by local rules and regulations will ensure you can cherish your hard-earned cache.

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