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Can You Go Scalloping with a Boat?

Fresh open and closed scallops.

There are different ways to go scalloping, but typically the most common way to do so is by boat, even if it’s a smaller one. You can find companies that will take you out on their boats if you have one available, or if you don’t have one, you can charter a boat to get out there and go scalloping with your friends and family. But either way, it’s easy to go scalloping with a boat.

What Exactly are Scallops?

Clean scallops above the ice.

Scallops are shellfish with shells that can be either thick or thin. There are two main types of scallops: bay and sea.

Bay scallops come from shallow water, while sea scallops come from deep water and have a brownish-orange shell because they feed on deep-water plants.

Sea scallops tend to be bigger than bay ones—the average sea scallop is around four inches across, while a bay one averages about an inch or so. Scallops move freely around in their shells as they search for food and reproduce (which is what makes them tricky to catch).

Where to Catch Scallops?

They are easiest to find in shallow water that has a sandy bottom covered in seagrass. The shell of a fresh scallop is closed, and it should feel slightly firm to touch. Scallops will either be sold live or flash-frozen.

While they’re alive, they should feel very active—any dead ones will sink straight to the bottom of your bucket. Just like other shellfish, keep them iced down until ready to cook; otherwise, spoilage can occur quickly in warm weather.

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What Type of Boat Do You Need to Go Scalloping?

Small boats tied in a dock.

If you’re hoping to catch some scallops of your own, then you’ll need a boat. Many people ask if they can simply use their own boat, but if it doesn’t have a special type of bow that allows it to get up close and personal in shallow waters, then it won’t be very effective for scalloping.

Essentially, what is required is a boat that has a rounded front end in order to enable it to approach sand bars without getting stuck. Some boats have already been designed specifically for hunting sea treasures and local services can help determine which model will work best for your needs.

Do I Need to Get Out of the Boat to Catch Scallops?

Scallops are typically found near seagrass, a plant that can grow in shallow waters. This means you’ll need to get out of your boat to catch them!

Put on your snorkel and jump in the water. As you swim to the bottom, you will see scallops among the beds of seagrass.

Scallops are typically found around 2-3 feet below sea level, but can be found at depths up to 40 feet! Once you find some, grab them with your hands and throw them in a mesh bag.

When you get back to your boat you can ice them until you get back to shore.

What Gear Do You Need to Bring When Scalloping?

A woman snorkeling underwater with webbed foot.

Gear requirements for going scalloping are minimal. Aside from snorkel, mask, fins, and mesh bag, it’s also a good idea to bring gloves and a dive flag.

Dive Flag

buoyant flag in the middle of the ocean.

If you’re going scalloping on your own, be sure you check out your state’s regulations regarding diving flags and dive lights. These are used to alert others of your presence and make sure they don’t accidentally run into or over top of you while in open water.

The dive flag should be raised before you get in and put away upon exiting.  Your dive flag can be used to let others know you are diving within 300 feet of your boat, so make sure it’s displayed at all times. Keep in mind that other boaters may not see your dive flag, so don’t rely on it as a means of protection—make sure you’re visible to others with a bright light.

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Put it at the top of your boat and use a stiffener to make sure that it stays up and visible.

How Do Harvesters Catch Scallops On a Boat?

An old rustic boat in the middle of the ocean.

To catch them, boaters will lower a large scoop into the water and drag it along to scrape up their quarry. Once they have collected a number of scallops, they bring them back to land and sell them fresh or pack them on ice and send them off to be sold at markets or restaurants.

How Do You Keep Scallops on a Boat?

Fresh scallops covered with ice.

There are many ways to keep your scallops fresh. Some of these include having an ice cooler on board and using special containers to hold them in so that your catch doesn’t spoil before it gets to your home.

In order to keep them in your mesh bag, you must use heavy objects like rocks or weights. These things should be placed in your mesh bag so that it keeps your scallops still and safe.

Whatever method you use, it’s important that you handle your catch with care.

Visibility is Key

To get your hands on those succulent little sea creatures, you need to be able to spot them. Think of it like treasure hunting, but instead of buried coins and rings under a layer of mud, your booty is bivalves caught in colorful clusters all along a muddy bank.  The best way to see these delicate mollusks (and avoid stepping on them) is in clear water.

Water clarity can vary greatly from one place to another depending on factors such as tides, weather conditions, and time of year. If you’re hoping for clear waters, plan ahead with your local fishing/scalloping guides or check with local marinas for advice about where to find good visibility.

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How Deep Do Scallops Live?

Group of scallops caught in a fish net.

Most people assume that scallops are exclusively shallow-water inhabitants. This is not true, however, as there are species of scallop that live at depths of up to 1,000 feet below sea level.

The most common type of scallop found in commercial fisheries lives between 50 and 100 feet below sea level, though some will venture as deep as 300 feet down in search of food. Scallops tend to live on or near rocky bottoms where they can find a variety of small creatures to eat and places to hide from predators like codfish and octopus.

Is it Possible to Take Kids Scalloping?

5 kids lying on the seashore and broken seashells.

Scalloping is a popular summer activity. However, many people mistakenly believe that kids cannot take part in it.

The fact is that children as young as four years old can enjoy an afternoon at sea if they are prepared for it. Scalloping, like many water sports, requires a few safety precautions to keep kids safe and comfortable.

The most important thing to remember when taking kids scalloping is that they must be properly supervised. This means being within arm’s reach of them at all times and keeping your eyes on them every second you’re in or near water.

You should also choose a calm body of water to ensure smooth sailing and avoid hazards such as strong currents or big waves. If your child has never been swimming before, make sure he or she knows how to swim before attempting any water sports with him or her.