I dropped my camera in the ocean (Don't care about the camera and shame on me). I'm trying to get a scuba diver now. It's been in there for 24 hours, as of this post.

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    Welcome to Photography.SE. What make and model was the camera? Some have better weather sealing than others. What is the depth of the water? What type of memory is it (more than SD) ? – Cascabel Sep 1 '19 at 23:48
  • I know it's not the same thing, but o have washed a USB memory stick twice in the washing machine and it still works fine. – Andreas Sep 2 '19 at 7:13
  • Washing machines rinse stuff for a reason :) Salt residue buildup would probably not be good for your clothes either. And the laundry softener might actually act as a conformal coating :) – rackandboneman Sep 2 '19 at 8:14

Thanks to everyone who responded.

I hired a scuba diver and he found the camera (almost one week to the day in 20' of water). He rinsed the SD card for me before I picked it up.

Put SD card I my laptop and it's like it never happened.

My photos have been rescued.

EDIT: I was asked to post a photo of the submerged/rescued card... enter image description here

enter image description here

  • How was the camera? – Dave Gremlin Sep 7 '19 at 9:05
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    Glad you were able to recover the photos. Whatever you do, don't keep using the flash card. :-D – dgatwood Sep 9 '19 at 22:44
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    @Dave Gremlin Camera is a total loss – Marinaio Sep 10 '19 at 19:03
  • And interesting info :o) – Rafael Sep 10 '19 at 20:54

The chip is not likely to get damaged easily but the contacts and connections will corrode: apart from this kind of corrosion being able to damage the chip mechanically eventually, having to disassemble stuff (once the connections are broken) will end up making professional recovery a lot more expensive. My personal best guess would be to drop the card in copious amounts of pure ethyl alcohol (should be harmless for the plastics) for a day to get the salt out (probably change the solution a few times), then dry for two days and then try the card. However, I am not sure about this being the best solvent. With distilled water as solvent, I'd fear more corrosion while the salt is not yet out. But I have no experience with salt water damage.

The most frequent cause of terminal liquid damage is electrolysis by not waiting for everything to dry completely before attempting to access. Avoid that mistake.

Also don't do anything with that card (once you can access it or parts) but create a lowlevel copy of it. If you don't know how to do this, get a hold of someone who does.

Good luck. And in future, learn to back up. Memory cards die eventually, and due to their wear balancing controller, the failure mode can be pretty catastrophic when they reach end of life.

  • Back in the old days, we used to recommend leaving the camera in a bucket of pure water for at least 24 hours to dilute the salt. That was before the AE cameras. I actually saved a Nikon FM that way, after my ex-wife "dropped" it in the ocean. The meter stopped working, but the mechanics continued strong. – Cascabel Sep 1 '19 at 23:56
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    Put the chip in distilled water briefly first, stirring occasionally. Using water first will move the salt from the chip better than ethyl alcohol. Then the alcohol will be quite effective at pulling out the remaining water. Then dry the chip at 50C for an hour. – doug Sep 2 '19 at 7:17

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