Magnetometers are “must have” equipment for deep-sea researchers exploring shipwrecks.

JW Fishers magnetometer

A small Cape Town, South Africa-based dive club currently use JW Fishers’ Proton 5 magnetometer for their most important searches.

According to one of the founders of the club, Bruce Henderson: “There is an enormous number of shipwrecks off our coast dating from the 1700’s through the early 1900’s and even more recent wrecks.  Many of the exact locations are unknown.  We are very keen to find the more interesting of these wrecks and dive on them to confirm the identify, location and condition.”

Depths of 120m

'The Wreckless Divers’ consists of technical divers operating at depths of around 120m. Some dive on rebreathers while others rely on open circuit scuba.

JW Fishers’ team has already efficiently helped the club navigate technical issues. “We ran into a bit of trouble with the set-up when we first received the magnetometer,” Henderson explained.

“We called the JW Fisher’s office and were put through to the top technical guy who was amazing. He patiently took us through the set-up procedure and we were very soon up and running.  This was amazing to be able to call up the JW Fisher’s team all the way from Africa and have them so helpfully take us through the system.”

Magnetometers detect variations in the Earth’s magnetic field caused by iron or other magnetised material such as brick or rock. The main feature that distinguishes this from the benefits of a side scan sonar is that a magnetometer can detect objects buried under the ground while sonar only portrays what is on the surface.

JW Fishers’ Proton 5 magnetometer is used worldwide to locate sunken wrecks, aircraft, vehicles, and other critical objects.

By Rebecca Jeffrey