A 65-year-old Florida man has spent his life searching for treasure off the coast—and Rick Schmitt and his family have just made their biggest-ever discovery.
Some 150 yards off the coast of Fort Pierce, and about 15 feet underwater, the Schmitt family found 64 feet of gold chain, five gold coins, and a gold ring; the haul has been valued at an estimated $300,000, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
The gold is about 300 years old, leftover from 11 Spanish ships that went down in a hurricane in 1715, earning the area the nickname "Treasure Coast."
It's a huge find for Schmitt, whose 20-year-old daughter recounts summers aboard the family's boats (first the Booty Quest, now the AARRR Booty) spent recovering undersea treasure like … beer cans. Last Labor Day, the family dredged up just one gold coin. But there have been some big finds in the past. In 2002, Schmitt's son found a three-centuries-old silver platter worth $25,000.
As for the newest haul, the state of Florida gets to keep up to 20% of the treasure for museum display; the Schmitt family and the company that holds local diving rights will share the rest. It's the second coup of the summer for that company, which announced a big find in July.