By Sara Caruso
Beginning a sea glass collection is not always easy. Time and time again, at sea glass festivals and on social media, I learn of people who have “been searching for years and never found much.” Many believe this is because so many people are now searching for sea glass. But I have some tips and tricks that may help you find your first or best piece of sea glass.
Start checking the tides. With the internet quite literally at our fingertips, tide charts are now at the ready. The best time to search for sea glass, contrary to widely held belief, is not always at low tide. In my experience, more can be found on the outgoing high tide and vice versa. At these times, the waves are still churning and revealing new finds. Also, watch closely for blowout tides, which occur when west-northwest winds blow water out of a waterway, producing unusually low tides and revealing areas below the normal low tide line. The weather can also influence the chances of finding sea glass.
High winds and storms help stir the sea. If possible, get to the beach right before the first low tide after a storm. Once on the beach, do not go to the water’s edge first. Instead, check the wrack line, or where the highest waves broke during the storm. Often, treasures are deposited there, and it is an area many hunters do not think about. Sometimes treasures can even be washed to the dunes. If you still have a tough time finding sea glass, then a change of location may be necessary.
Some beaches become dead zones for finding sea glass, especially after beach replenishment projects. Researching the history of areas along the coast may reveal a new hunting spot. Local libraries, historical societies, and museums are great resources. Many can be accessed online. Old maps are a great resource. Check for sites that had high activity, like hotels, theatres, shipyards, and factories. Also look for locations that have less foot traffic than ocean beaches, such as bays, rivers, creeks, and lakes. Many times, in the past, those beaches were the town landfill, and thus may yield more historical finds.
Many social media sea glass groups and online sources can help you find new places to hunt. Sea glass has been known to be the basis for forming friendships all over the world. Understandingly, most sea glass hunters do not divulge the location of their favorite spot, and some sea glass social media sites prohibit members from asking. So, don’t ask for specifics. Instead, ask politely about new locations you plan to visit. This can help you build a travel plan. It is important when asking for help to be courteous and never pushy. Who knows, a new sea glass friend could be right around the corner or on the other side of the world.
Finding sea glass takes time, patience, and a little bit of luck. But learning when and where to hunt is key. Don’t become discouraged or think all the sea glass is gone. There may be a new honey hole waiting to be discovered in your own backyard.
Tomorrow is a new day; every tide is a new opportunity. Any day spent on the beach is a good one. So, enjoy the hunt. You never know what you might find.