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Potential Hazards and Injuries In the Hobby of Metal Detecting
Even in the seemingly benign hobby of metal detecting, injuries can occur. In this article, I would like to discuss some of the potential dangers and injuries as well as some of their solutions.
Although metal detectors are designed by manufacturers to be as light as possible, the body and coils of the detector can weigh several pounds. Continuous coil swings for long periods of time can not only cause fatigue, but also elbow and shoulder injuries. I myself have “tennis elbow” in the elbow of my swinging arm and feel pain all the time. If you find metal in the water, you have additional water resistance against the control box as well as the coil. To avoid elbow and shoulder injuries, slow down your swing, alternate swinging the detector with your other hand, and take frequent breaks from detecting. If possible, place your detector body on your hip or chest. This is especially true if you find yourself primarily in water. Using a chest or hip mount reduces the weight you are swinging as well as water resistance when searching in the water.
No matter where you are known, wearing the right footwear is important. If you encounter rough, uneven ground, good shoes are recommended. Make sure you have adequate ankle support to prevent ankle injuries. When searching for metal in water, make sure you wear water shoes or at least some old tennis shoes. Rusty, jagged metal and glass are often found in swimming areas, so proper footwear can prevent serious cuts and the need to get a tetanus shot. When exploring the ocean, proper footwear can protect you from some of the unsightly critters found on the sea floor. Be aware of potential rip currents.
Using knives and other cutting tools such as trowels can also cause injuries. I recently cut the back of my leg with my long handled water scoop when I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing.
Even if you’re searching on land in the water, be aware of the types of critters you might encounter. In the ocean, this can mean jellyfish, sharks, skates, etc. On land, this can mean poisonous snakes or insects or biting animals.
And while you may not have considered it, some metal detector users have actually been mugged. Since you’re wearing headphones, it’s easy for someone to sneak up on you.
For the most part, metal detecting is a fun hobby. But just in case, you should be prepared for injuries and keep a first aid kit in your car. Keep some bug repellant handy in case of bug bites. But most importantly, just be aware of your surroundings and what you are doing.
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