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Seabotix Rugged, Capable, Compact ROV's.

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JW Fishers - Press Release - August 12, 2004


Over the last 50 years most shipwrecks have been found with the help of a magnetometer. These super sensitive metal detectors, first used in WWII to locate and track submarines, have become one of the primary underwater search tools for both the salvage industry and the scientific community. Magnetometers or "mags" as they are called, have been credited with finding thousands of wrecks, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mags work by sensing changes in the earth's magnetic field. Any object made of iron or steel creates a disturbance in the magnetic field. A mag can detect a major disturbance, like the one created by a steel wreck, at a distance of a quarter mile or more. This makes it the ideal piece of equipment to locate a steel wreck within a large search area. Even wooden ships, like Spanish galleons, have a "magnetic signature" created by the cannons, anchors, chains, stoves, and other iron objects carried on board. A mag is often the only choice to find the remains of ships that wrecked on shallow reefs hundreds of years ago. Their timbers have disintegrated, and the cargo is hidden under the sandy bottom or become encrusted with coral now appearing to be part of the reef. The powerful mag can detect the wreck's iron objects regardless of the material covering it.

Today the Proton magnetometer is the workhorse of any serious marine search operation. It's being used by a diverse group including professional treasure hunters, marine archeologists, commercial diving companies, law enforcement agencies, and military units. The proton mag is a rugged, reliable instrument that is very easy to operate. In addition to finding shipwrecks, mags are often employed to locate pipelines, anchors, sunken automobiles, weapons, and unexploded ordnance.

JW Fishers has specialized in the design and manufacture of magnetometers for over 20 years. Currently they produce two state-of-the-art mags, the Proton 4 boat-towed model and the Diver Mag 1, a hand-held unit carried by a diver. Both mags have visual and audio readouts. The Proton 4 features an easy-to-read LCD display that is backlit for night operations and an audio alarm to alert the operator when a target is encountered. The Diver Mag 1 has an LED display for easy underwater viewing and a waterproof earphone that lets the diver know a target is being detected. Both devices employ a unique triaxial noise-cancelling sensor which allows the mag to move in any direction without heading error or dead zone. A software package is available for the Proton 4 that allows the mag readout data, the boat's GPS position, and the track of the boat over the search area to be displayed and stored on a laptop PC.

To receive a data sheet on Fishers marine magnetometers or a color brochure on all of their quality underwater search products, contact Christopher Combs at JW Fishers Mfg. Inc., 1953 County St., East Taunton, MA 02718, USA. Phone: (800) 822-4744 or (508) 822-7330. Fax: (508) 880-8949. E-mail to or check out the website at


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