Nightly News | September 07, 2013
>>> finally tonight, it is called florida 's treasure coast , and, as you are about to see, there's a really good reason for that. the discovery of a nice little haul this week so close to the shore you could almost swim to it. we get the story from nbc's agait gabe future ayers.
>> reporter: for the schmidt family, the hunt is a way of life . they've been in the diving salvage business for 16 years.
>> five seasons at least, and we've found i believe three gold coins .
>> reporter: so captain eric schmidt and his father never expected much this week, yet just 150 yards off the coast of ft. pierce and in only 15 feet of water, there it was.
>> ready for this?
>> reporter: not just this porcelain believed to be from the ching dynasty but 64 feet of gold chains , three gold coins , and a gold ring. a haul they estimate may be worth $300,000.
>> you hate to say it's a dream come true, but it's a dream come true.
>> reporter: the bounty came from a fleet of spanish ships ripped apart from a hurricane in 1715 . more than 1,000 were killed and gold and silver spilled across the ocean floor . that's why this part of florida is known as the treasure coast .
>> spanish out here littering all over the place.
>> reporter: the schmidt family will have to share the loot with the company that owns the salvage rights to this part of the atlantic. some will also go to the state of florida for museums.
>> for me, it's not only finding the material, but it's the history part.
>> reporter: but these modern-day treasure hunters say the find is about something else worth more than gold. family.
>> so every summer we come out here and work together and sweat together and do stuff together, which isn't something you get to do the way we live much anymore. it's very special.
>> reporter: the discovery of a lifetime, three sentries in the making. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, ft. pierce, florida .