Unknowns around the environmental effects of marine renewable energy have slowed the deployment of this emerging technology worldwide. Established testing methods are necessary to safely permit and develop marine energy devices. Magnetic fields are one potential cause of environmental effects and are created when electricity is generated and transmitted to shore. Further, the existing variation of the background magnetic field at sites that may be developed for marine energy is largely unknown, making it difficult to assess how much additional stress or impact the anthropogenic magnetic field may have. This study investigates two instruments for their ability to characterize the background magnetic fields at a potential marine energy site in Sequim Bay, WA. Based on this evaluation, this study recommends an Overhauser magnetomer for assessing the background magnetic field and demonstrates the use of this sensor at a potential marine energy site.