Magnet Fishing Tag | The Ring Finders

Recovering Lost Keys From Ballard Locks Marina Seattle WA

  • from Mercer Island (Washington, United States)


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I received a txt in the middle of the night from a lady that was requesting help for a set of keys that fell into the marina. Early that next morning I put my magnet fishing kit in my vehicle before heading out for the day. I sent her an early response asking her to call me after getting her day started for a detailed chat. I learned from our conversation that her friend had lost his keys the night before in the early evening. Their dog was walking on the marina dock in a dimly lit area and fell into the water. Mike in his own words attempting to be the super hero tried to grab the dog, lost his balance and as his body went over as he heard a big splash as his feet hit the water. His first reaction was oh crap my cell phone must have gone in but instead it was his ring of keys he had in his hand. He was quick enough to catch the edge of the dock with both hands so only his feet were in the water. As he looked at the dock he remembered staring straight at the dock cleat marking his position precisely. His buddy lifted him safely out of the water, minus all of his important keys.

I agreed to meet up after work around four o’clock that evening for a first attempt with my magnet kit. Mike met me at the dock and we quickly got under way. I deployed my large magnet that was more than sufficient to nab the keys. I even confirmed before arriving on site that his keys had steel split rings. Knowing brass keys are not magnetic its a point of clarification that should always be considered before wasting time with a magnet. I also learned to our advantage he had a small padlock from his sail boat on the keyring as well. I knew the steel shank would be more than enough to stick to my large magnet. Mike was accurate over our phone conversation earlier that morning that the water was around nine to ten feet deep. Knowing this bit of information made since for an attempt to magnet fish the keys. Soon after starting with the magnet I quickly realized there was a lot of structure near this boat slip and it was not an easy flat bottom. Every bit or so I would have to lift the large magnet several feet over an obstacle and let it back down to try to fish is keys out. This was basically a blind search in the fact that we could not see the bottom and don’t know exactly where the keys fell into the water. Everyone heard the splash of the keys but no one eyeballed the exact entry point. Since Mike was not throwing any items from his hands so we felt fairly confident his keys most likely went straight down from where he was dangling from the side of the dock. Even with this drop zone being extensively search with the magnet I was unable to retrieve the keys.

With the darkness of the evening upon us, a bit of Seattle drizzle and cold wind after a full days work we knew we were done for the night. However I reassured Mike I would be out the next morning to do a full SCUBA recovery of his keys. The next morning I was blessed with great weather and calm waters. Watch my video to see all the efforts taken to get Mike’s keys recovered. The whole time wondering if after two days in the Ballard Locks waters will his car key fob function properly?


Jeff Morgan