Viewers Hang on Every Swing of Gary Drayton’s Metal Detector

Is Oak Island treasure eminent? Nobody wants to find gold more than Minelab Detexpert, Gary Drayton

Chicago, IL (July 19, 2022) – A fan-favorite cast member of the hit History Channel program, The Curse of Oak Island, Gary Drayton started his metal-detecting career in the fields of England, locating and recovering hammered coins and assorted relics and other valuables. He moved to the east coast of Florida in 1989 to further his search for lost treasure. Here, he made some of his greatest finds, including the one he calls “Precious”, a 22.5K gold ring with nine flawless emeralds. Considered one of the most valuable treasure rings ever recovered from the wreckage of the famed Spanish 1715 fleet, it appraised for a cool half-million dollars shortly after it was found – and that was over 15 years ago.

The significant finds Drayton regularly makes with his Minelab metal detectors have always attracted attention. About ten years ago, a Minelab dealer in Florida introduced him to the Oak Island team. Photos of his impressive finds and his pleasant, outgoing personality would eventually open the door to Drayton working on the Curse of Oak Island with brothers Rick and Marty Lagina, Craig Tester, and the rest of the Fellowship of the Dig – continuing the world’s longest-running and most expensive treasure hunt on the tiny Nova Scotia island.

The worldwide following of the Oak Island treasure hunt has been going on almost a decade, and The Curse of Oak Island is currently in its ninth season. When asked when he got his start, Drayton responded: “I became a regular cast member on season four, although I was on the island for a short time during season two. Unfortunately, those scenes never made the cut. I also helped train the metal-detecting guy from the first season on how to use the Minelab CTX 3030. Surface detecting wasn’t an important aspect of the treasure hunt back in those early days of production, which is understandable as the real story of Oak Island is about a booby-trapped money pit constructed deep underground.” As the Fellowship expanded its search for truth – and its methods – on the island in the years since, however, surface detecting has become an indispensable practice that’s resulted in many significant discoveries and clues.

Regular followers of the show will see Drayton using a wide variety of Minelab equipment. While his CTX 3030 is his usual machine for searching on the island, he also uses other Minelab detecting equipment depending on the situation. Occasionally, he will use a Minelab GPX 5000 with a 32-inch coil when he is searching for deeper targets outside the detection range of normal detectors. Detectorists watching the show will also sometimes see Drayton swinging an EQUINOX 800, which enjoys the distinction of being the world’s best-selling metal detector.

“The things I like the most about my Minelab detectors are their outstanding performance over tough ground and target ID’s,” Drayton says. “Both are important features that help me make the most of my valuable detecting time. Minelab detectors just thrive in the conditions and environments that challenge or cause other detectors to fail.”

Drayton searches many different areas while working on Oak Island. He can be found on the beaches, detecting on assorted inland lots of historical significance, and working through piles of spoils – tons of earth brought up from deep in the ground. These spoils often contain massive timbers from Oak Island’s numerous underground tunnels and shafts, as well as different artifacts dating back many centuries. The Oak Island Team – along with viewers from around the world – hope that soon these spoils will also reveal buried gold and silver coins. The wooded lots Drayton detects on the island have given up ox shoes, ancient jewelry, small cannonballs and other important clues about the island’s mysterious history. Drayton has also made important finds along the beach – the most significant to date being a small, lead cross recovered from Smith’s Cove. Testing of the cross showed the lead material to be from southern France. Its design and materials – along with the fact that science has dated the artifact to the 1300s or 1400s – supports the theory that the Knights Templar may have been on Oak Island in the past.

Oak Island is not the only place Drayton has been asked to display his metal detecting skills with the world watching. Beyond Oak Island is a spinoff series on History Channel that has allowed Drayton to visit other sites where treasure has been thought to be lost or hidden.

“I got to hang with Butch Cassidy’s great grandson at Robbers Roost in Utah, pan for gold in the Superstition Mountains and of course, search for Spanish 1715 Fleet treasure in my own back yard in Florida,” Drayton says. “I’m always hoping to get another call from Rick and Marty to go on more exciting metal detecting adventures.”

Compared to some of the technologies and heavy equipment used on The Curse of Oak Island to identify targets and then dig – almost 200 feet in some cases – those areas, metal detecting is low-cost high-reward endeavor. Even though a metal detector can only discover items as deep as several feet, many critical items have been discovered with the method. Some finds may lack high monetary value but have proven invaluable in piecing together clues about past activity on the island, the people who were there, and when they were present. Metal detectors are also extremely efficient in searching through the piles of dirt brought to the surface and finding any metal objects they contain.

Dowsing is another low-tech method which has been used to search for the treasure thought to be hidden on Oak Island. Dan Blankenship, one of the island’s earlier treasure hunters, used dowsing to find his famous 10X location, thought to be one of the closest known areas to where the treasure is believed to be buried.

Season nine of The Curse of Oak Island has come to an end. The Fellowship of the Dig and viewers alike were both excited by the significant discovery of trace gold and silver in the groundwater near the believed location of the famed Money Pit. Each new episode moving forward will bring the search team ever closer to discovering what was buried, when it was buried, and who buried it.

Will Drayton’s Minelab detector soon ring out before a global audience, bringing actual gold or silver coins or other priceless artifacts to the light of day?

Only time will tell, but if and when season ten happens, Gary Drayton will surely be there, continuing to use his Minelab detectors to aid in revealing answers to mounting questions brought forth in an ongoing search spanning two centuries.

Story by Rich Creason




Minelab is an Australian, multi-award-winning business that has successfully scaled world markets to command global leadership in its key areas of operation. Based in Mawson Lakes, South Australia, with regional offices in Cork, Ireland; Dubai, UAE; Monterrey, Mexico; Itajai, Brazil; and Chicago, U.S.A., the company specializes in advanced electronic technologies. Since its origins in 1985, Minelab has been the world leader in providing metal-detecting technologies for gold prospecting, treasure hunting and landmine clearance. Through devotion to research and development and innovative design, Minelab is today the major world manufacturer of handheld metal detector products. Over the past 30 years, Minelab has introduced more innovative and practical technology than any of its competitors and has taken the metal detecting industry to new levels of excellence. Minelab is a Codan Limited company (ASX: “CDA”). To learn more about Minelab, visit


Josh Lantz

Traditions Media