Magnet Fishing UK Law- Is Magnet Fishing legal 2021

A gavel used by a judge

What is the magnet fishing UK law?

We all love magnet fishing here but it has received its fair share of criticism. The news and press often focus on magnet fishing when something goes wrong. Some of the waterways boards have banned it but what is the magnet fishing UK law? Is magnet fishing illegal or is it legal?

In our magnet fishing guide we touched up on this subject briefly but this post with go a bit more in depth.

Is magnet fishing legal?

Put simply, yes. Magnet fishing is not illegal. That does not mean that there are not some things we must do to stay within the law though.

There is no single law that says magnet fishing is illegal. However, it is a bit of a grey area as all land in the UK is owned by somebody. This includes river, streams, canals and lakes!

So how do you go about magnet fishing and not end up in a pair of handcuffs?

A picture of a pair of handcuffs, is magnet fishing illegal

Ok so maybe the handcuffs are a little bit extreme. But you could get in trouble if you just go around lobbing your magnet in any water-filled hole!

How to stay within the law when magnet fishing.

The best thing to do if you want to stay within the law when magnet fishing is to ask permission. If you are planning on magnet fishing in a lake in the middle of a farmers field then it is essential. Without strict permission, you could find yourself charged with trespass and also going equip to steal! Most of the time a quick call or knock on the door to ask permission is all that is needed. However, you may have to promise to share the value of anything good with the landowner.

When it comes to magnet fishing in a canal it is also best to ring the waterways board of that area. Most will not mind you magnet fishing there as long as you do not cause a nuisance and obstruct boat users. However lately with some of the tragic stories that are being reported in the press some waterways are trying to ban magnet fishing.

In a recent web page the Canal and River trust had their say on magnet fishing. Whilst they are happy that people are trying to clear rubbish from canals and rivers they are not happy that people are putting themselves in dangers way. This refers to the dangers of WW2 munitions that are in the waters. However, there is no mention of magnet fishing being illegal and also no mention of a ban.

The reality is that in general as long as you are not being a nuisance you will not be challenged for magnet fishing on public land. Many people enjoy this hobby trouble free with just the odd question from curious members of the public.

Magnet fishing law- in conclusion…

I feel it’s best to say that I am not qualified in law but have experience in magnet fishing and have participated for a number of years. With that being said here is a brief summary of what you can and can’t do to stay within the magnet fishing UK law.

  • On public land seek permission if possible.
  • When magnet fishing private land always seek permission.
  • Keep an eye out for signs and notices regarding magnet fishing.
  • Do not cause obstruction to other waterways users.
  • If told to stop by someone in authority do so.
  • Above all just use some common sense. If something does not seem right steer clear.

Hopefully, this post has cleared up some of the misconceptions about the magnet fishing law. As said magnet fishing is not illegal. Generally, you will find most people are ok with it although a little curious. Some people object to it but as long as we go about the hobby in a safe way then it is all fine.

Above all, go out and have fun magnet fishing!




About Andy 18 Articles
Andy has been a prominent figure in the treasure hunting world for coming up to a decade on various platforms such as YouTube and blogger. On Magnet Fishing Pro he has shared his wealth of knowledge and experience in the form of guides and blog posts to help you progress in the hobbies of magnet fishing and metal detecting. You can read more about Andy's treasure hunting journey on the About Me page