Is Magnet Fishing Dangerous? The 5 Risks & how to avoid them

Is Magnet Fishing Dangerous? The 5 Major Risks and how to avoid them

Magnet Fishing as a hobby has attracted criticism from the media recently as being reckless and irresponsible. But is magnet fishing dangerous? While magnet fishing like anything in life has inherent risk, it is my opinion that when done responsibly, magnet fishing is not a dangerous hobby. There are however key risks that you need to be aware of. You also need to know how to deal with these risks responsibly and carefully.


As you go magnet fishing in water, a major risk is drowning. There are a few ways that you can lower the chance of this happening. You should never tie yourself to your magnet. While you might lose the rope and magnet, these are replaceable. You are not.

The risk of drowning can also be massively reduced by going magnet fishing with friends. You are much less likely to be able to get out of the water alone than if you are with friends. It will also make your magnet fishing experience much more enjoyable.

If one of your friends falls into the water and is struggling, you should try and throw them a life buoy or rope rather than going into the water after them. Swimming in after someone who is drowning is almost never a good idea unless you are a trained lifeguard. This is because the person who is drowning will try and climb up whoever is trying to save them, often dragging them down under the surface of the water with them. This is not a conscious decision or something they can control, but a reflex. If you ever find yourself in this situation, you should swim down and then away from the person who is drowning then resurface and attempt to help them again.

Finding a safe spot to fish from is key. You should make sure that there is an easy way out of the water in the event that you fall in. You should also make sure that the ground you are standing on is firm and isn’t crumbling or marshy.


When magnet fishing, you are likely to find dirty, rusty metal and you are going to come into contact with it when removing it from your magnet. Tetanus causing bacteria thrive on rusty metal. Tetanus is a life threatening infection caused by clostridium tetani bacteria. If the metal containing these bacteria pierces your skin, you can become infected and you might have to get a tetanus shot. You should seek professional medical advice if you are ever in this situation.

This is one reason why you should always wear gloves when magnet fishing. You shouldn’t handle the items you catch until you get home and have cleaned them thoroughly. Thick rubber gloves are advisable as you don’t want metal piercing your gloves. You should bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after you take off your gloves, as waterways are often dirty and your finds probably are as well.

Where you fish

You should make sure you are magnet fishing legally. If you are on private property, this means getting the landowner to give you permission to magnet fish. You should never trespass on private property to go magnet fishing. If you are on public property, this means you need to check if magnet fishing is legal in your country/state. If you don’t fish legally you could potentially get in trouble with law enforcement. This adds unnecessary risk to magnet fishing and has a negative impact on how the public see magnet fishing in general.

You should try and avoid fishing late at night or fishing in a very rough neighborhood as you are more likely to get into trouble with other people using the waterways. Be mindful not to fish in an area with heavy boat traffic as it will interrupt your magnet fishing and there is a small chance that your magnet will connect with their boat.

Likewise, if fishing from or under a metal bridge, be careful that your magnet does not come into contact with it. It will be a nightmare trying to remove your magnet without damaging it or you. You should bring a hammer or mallet with you when you go magnet fishing to hit your magnet off a metal bridge or similar if it sticks to it. Other options are bringing a wooden wedge or a long rod to try and lever it off. The best way to do it is probably a combination of all of these methods. This will probably happen to you sooner or later so you may as well be ready for it.

Dangerous finds

When you go magnet fishing there is a very small chance you will find a weapon or explosive. However, it is always good to be prepared in case this ever does happen to you.

If you find a gun, you should report it to the police, using the non-emergency number or by wrapping it up and bringing it to a police station. and see what they want you to do about it. Treat it as if it is loaded, and try not to touch it with your bare hands as there may still be fingerprints present on it. It could have been used in a crime so the police will probably want to look at it. There is a chance that they will contact you in order to give the gun back to you, if it is legal for you to own it and it was not connected with any crimes. Even if you don’t get the gun back, you will still end up with a good story to tell.

If you find explosives while magnet fishing you should place your magnet with the explosives on it on the ground gently and walk away. Do not attempt to move it and don’t stay near it. After years of staying under the water, degrading, you have no idea of how unstable it is. You should then call the police as it might still be live and wait for them to arrive. The bomb squad will likely come and safely detonate your find.

These are two of the most dangerous types of items you can find, but they are not common. You should always be careful when removing finds from your magnet that they are not sharp. If they are take great care when removing them.

The Magnet

Fishing magnets are powerful tools that can be extremely dangerous if handled incorrectly. You need to take care not to keep your magnets close to each other or any electronic devices.

One of the most dangerous things about fishing magnets is how destructive they can be when you place two of them in close proximity. If each magnet has 500lb of pulling force then the combined pulling force of them attracting each other will be immense. This will crush almost anything if it gets stuck in between them. Even if nothing gets damaged, it will be almost impossible to remove the two magnets from each other once attached. Here is a short video showcasing the devastating power of magnets.

When using and transporting magnets, you should also be aware of what their magnet fields can do. Just touching your phone off a magnet could render it completely useless. Magnets are able to wipe and destroy hard drives in seconds. This works as hard drives store information by magnetizing tiny areas and then being read by a tiny magnetic needle. While this is very useful if you are trying to wipe a hard drive, it can also have negative consequences. Your phone or computer could be destroyed, erasing files and memories, as well as being costly to replace or repair. The best way to avoid this is to transport your magnet in a box, like the boxes some magnet fishing kits come in.

These magnets can also be incredibly dangerous in a life threatening way. If you have a pacemaker or an ICD, you should not go magnet fishing. The magnet can interfere with and reprogram it, which could lead to death. This is why you should always keep your distance from walkers when magnet fishing.

Is magnet fishing dangerous?

While there are certain dangers associated with magnet fishing, the benefits far outweigh the risks if you are responsible and careful. To sum up, here are some of the main points to take away from this article. If you want to learn about magnet fishing, head to our definitive magnet fishing guide here.

  • Find a safe place to magnet fish from, on level ground and not too far above the surface of the water
  • Wear gloves to protect from any bacteria on your finds or in the water
  • Make sure it is not illegal to magnet fish in your country/state
  • If you are on private property, ensure you have the permission of the landowner
  • If you find a gun/explosive, place it down carefully and call the police.
  • Bring a mallet or hammer with you when you go fishing to remove your magnet if it gets stuck to a bridge or a flat piece of metal.
  • Never leave two magnets in close proximity
  • Make sure your magnet does not come into contact with any electronics.
  • Never go magnet fishing if you have a pacemaker or ICD

If you are reading this article and are new to magnet fishing, feel free to check out our Ultimate magnet fishing guide.

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