I a metal detectorist beach enthusiast just received this message today from the Turk’s & Caicos Government Officials regarding the use of hand-held metal detectors on the islands and beaches, not promising am afraid:
It doesn’t look like you’ll be able to do any metal detecting in any of the places that you’d most likely want to:Grace Bay in Providenciales or Town
Beaches in Grand Turk. These would be the best places for the activity you describe. Both of these beaches are parts of National Parks. And Park regulations forbid the collecting of anything within their borders.
This applies to animals live or dead, shells or artifacts, anything. The regs re; artifacts are there to protect cultural objects of course, but they make no
distinction between modern, colonial or pre-Columbian. So, I’m afraid, nothing in a National Park is collectible at this point, except with a scientific research permit.
It may be possible to use your detectors on beach areas outside of National Parks, but tourists are not attracted to those areas so there would be
nothing to find except the odd bottle cap.
Another point here is that all beach areas, in or out of Parks are Crown Land, and Turks & Caicos Law follows UK law as regards “Treasure Trove”, found objects of value. Finds belong to the Crown, not the finder. The
finder may be entitled to a finder’s fee or a share, but that is negotiable.
No beaches are private property in the TCI. All are crown property.(The fine for removing any artifact from a National Park is as much as $15,000.)
Another concern is that the Customs department tends to look rather suspiciously on folks who attempt to bring in metal detecting equipment.
This is the result of having several bad experiences in the past with treasure hunters. If you showed up with your gear at the airport here, you’d probably have a few questions to answer.
Sorry it looks like bad news for you, but it took a few phone calls and conversations with other departments to get you all the right answers.
This is the first time this question has come up as far as any of us can remember. Maybe a modification of regulations will come in the future now that it has.
for M. F-G