Is magnet fishing legal in the US? (updated 2020)

Is magnet fishing legal in the US?

Magnet fishing has quickly become a popular hobby all around the world. But is magnet fishing legal in the US? The answer is both yes and no depending on where you live. The rise of magnet fishing has been both a blessing and a curse for the hobby. For example in the UK magnet fishing has been banned on canals and rivers. This is because officials view it as a dangerous and irresponsible hobby. However, in my opinion, magnet fishing is not a dangerous hobby, as long as you do it responsibly and safely. If you want to find out more about the dangers of magnet fishing, you can visit an article where I covered them in detail here.

Is magnet fishing legal in the US?

In the US, states make their own laws about magnet fishing. 49 of the 50 US states have no laws against magnet fishing, therefore magnet fishing is legal in almost all of the states in the US. The state in which magnet fishing is illegal is South Carolina.

So what are the magnet fishing laws in South Carolina? The South Carolina Underwater Antiquities act (SCUAA) states:

“All submerged archaeological historic property and artifacts and all submerged paleontological property located on or recovered from submerged lands over which the State has sovereign control, are declared to be the property of the State.”

The South Carolina State Legislature later clarified that this law does indeed refer to and prohibit magnet fishing. This means that magnet fishing is illegal in South Carolina However, all hope is not lost for magnet fishing in South Carolina.

Is magnet fishing illegal in South Carolina?

You might now be thinking that all magnet fishing in South Carolina is illegal. However you would be wrong. The SCUAA only prohibits magnet fishing on public land and publicly owned waters. This means that magnet fishing is legal on private property in South Carolina. This is great news for people who want to go magnet fishing in South Carolina.

If you are going magnet fishing on private property you should always ask the landowner for permission and chances are they will say yes. You should mention how magnet fishing clears out the waters, benefitting the environment, the fish and anyone swimming in the river. The situation in South Carolina is very similar to the UK, as magnet fishing in the UK is banned on public canals and rivers, but is legal everywhere else.

Conclusion

So if you live in 49 of the 50 US states you have just found out that magnet fishing is indeed fully legal in your state. If you want to start magnet fishing, you can check out our Ultimate Magnet Fishing guide. We also have a list of the 4 Best Magnet Fishing kits for all budgets if you want to check it out.