How to Move Sand & Gravel Underwater

There are many reasons to move sand and gravel underwater, whether you mine it or other minerals in a quarry, you prospect for gold or you are trying to reform a river bank or the beach of a lake to make it better for swimming.

On a smaller scale, most people who need to move sand or gravel from underwater only need to move a little bit to clear a small area, level a place or prospect for gold. Dredging sand or gravel is a common need that requires some special equipment and a little practice, but within a few hours, just about anyone can get it right.

Float the suction dredge onto the river or lake you want to dredge. Insert the hose leading into the jet next to the pump in the water on the floor of the body of water.

Turn on the air compressor, and the pump. Run the pump and drag the hose along the bottom of the body of water so that sand and gravel move up the hose through the jet and into the sluice box.

Set a bucket at the bottom of the sluice box, so the sand and gravel can fall into the bucket and the water just overflows back into the body of water.

Float the bucket of sand and gravel where you want to move it on the floating dredge, and shovel it out where you moved it. Rinse out the bucket with water to get all of the sand and gravel into the new spot and repeat the whole process with the next load until you have moved everything you wanted to move.

Things You Will Need

  • Floating suction dredge
  • Sluice box
  • Buckets
  • Shovel


  • This way of dredging works well for small amounts of sand and gravel, especially if you are looking for gold or only need a little bit. But if you want to move larger quantities of sand and gravel--say, to clear a beach or set pylons for a dock--try a clam and dragline dredge set up on a crane. You might want to hire someone for this, since using heavy equipment may require an operator's permit in your area.

About the Author

Marissa Robert graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English language and literature. She has extensive experience writing marketing campaigns and business handbooks and manuals, as well as doing freelance writing, proofreading and editing. While living in France she translated manuscripts into English. She has published articles on various websites and also periodically maintains two blogs.