Magnet fishing

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Magnet fishing for windlasses

Magnet fishing, also called magnetic fishing, is searching in outdoor waters for ferromagnetic objects available to pull with a strong neodymium magnet.[1]

The hobby has been adopted by celebrities such as James Haskell, the English rugby player.[2][3]

The hobby is a combination of environmentalism and treasure hunting. The magnets used are strong enough to remove large debris such as discarded bicycles, guns, safes, bombs, coins and car tire rims from bodies of water, but many who engage in the hobby are hoping to find rare and valuable items as well.

It is thought magnet fishing was initially started by boaters using magnets to recover fallen keys from the water.[3] Today magnet retrieval tools are specially designed to retrieve items that are lost at the bottom of bodies of water.[4] There are two main types of magnets used in the hobby: double-sided and single-sided.

Magnet fishing and the law[edit]

There have been no major reports of magnetfishers failing to observe landowners, local authority regulations concerning outdoor waters, or seeking permissions where appropriate.[5][better source needed] However it is illegal, and punishable by a ₤25 fine, to magnetfish, or remove any material from canal or inland navigation under the control of the Canal & River Trust in England or Wales, other than the Lee and Stort Navigation, Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, and River Severn Navigation.[6] Trust spokesperson Fran Read stated, "Magnet fishing can have its dangers, and consequently it is expressly prohibited by the Trust." One such incident, reported by ITV Central, involved a child pulling a sawn-off shotgun out of Titford Canal in Oldbury, West Midlands, on Sunday 26 August. The child's family later contacted the police and the gun was removed and taken for analysis.[7] The Trust refrains from legal action for first-time offenders.[3]

Amateur magnetfishers in Belgium helped the police by recovering new evidence, specifically firearms and ammunition, related to the crimes of the Brabant killers.[8]

In general, police urge those who find weapons or similar items to contact them.[3][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Magnet Fishing". K&J Magnetics. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Magnet Store Blog". Magnet Store. 12 February 2018. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Elliott, Coran (18 August 2018). "Safety warning as rise in magnet fishing hobby sees anglers fish out guns and grenades in UK rivers". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 19 August 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2018. (Registration required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |registration= (help)
  4. ^ "How to Go Fishing With Magnets". Apex Magnets. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Is Magnet Fishing Illegal?". Magnet-Fishing.
  6. ^ "General Canal Bye-laws" (PDF). British Waterways Board. 24 February 1965. p. 16. Retrieved 21 August 2018. 41. No person unless authorised by the Board in that behalf or otherwise legally entitled so to do shall: ... (d) Dredge or remove coal or other material from any canal.
  7. ^ "Family find sawn-off shotgun in canal". ITV News. 28 August 2018. Archived from the original on 29 August 2018.
  8. ^ "'Magneetvissers' bezorgen dozen met munitie en wapens aan speurders Bende van Nijvel". De Standaard (in Dutch). Antwerp, Belgium: Raad voor de journalistiek. 26 October 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  9. ^ "What to do if you find a gun while magnet fishing". Magnet Fishing Pros. 15 September 2018. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2018.