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How To Find Sea Glass

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Once you have found a beach that you want to scour for sea glass treasures, are there any tips and tricks to actually finding it?

The answer to this question is a resounding, YES!

Sea glass usually lies on the surface so there is no need to start digging for it.

The gentle or sometimes violent action of the waves has done all the hard work for you, all you have to do is look for tell tale signs.

Timing your search is always a good idea as why wade out into the water if there is no need to. Low tide is the best time to go looking, this occurs twice a day as the waters ebb and flow. As the water rises it brings with it shells, seaweed and sometimes sea glass and pottery shards along with it. Look for natural occurring tidal rows along the stretch of beach. These rows are usually easy to identify with a line of shells and seaweed that the ocean has deposited on the shore. 

Notice also that sometimes a stretch of beach will also have more than one tidal marking. This is due to the fact that tidal movements are effected by the moon and of course onshore and offshore winds.

How to find sea glass becomes easier after a strong storm as it can churn the water up and create onshore waves pushing a tidal mark further up the beach.

tidal marks on frankston beach foreshoreNotice the 2 definite tidal rows on this stretch of beach in Frankston, Victoria

A storm will move the sea glass onto the shore. Don't go looking for sea glass during a storm, though. Wait until it's over, let the action of the waves dig up the treasures that you are looking for.

waves rolling onto the foreshoreWaves rolling onto the foreshore will deposit sea glass pieces among the shells, rocks and seaweed.

Go down to the seashore about an hour before or after low tide as the receeding water exposes the sand, the sea debris and the sea glass that you are looking for.

During a full moon, tides will be stronger, a definite factor in determining how to find sea glass as the wave action becomes heavier and churns up more debris including your sea glass samples.

How to find Sea Glass among the rocks

One tip on how to find sea glass on beaches is to find a 'dirty beach', that is, one that is strewn with rocks. Some of these rocks can be quite large outcrops and other beaches will have a deposit of well word smaller stones or pebbles. You might even be lucky to find agates on some beaches along with sea glass treasures.

It's always a good idea to move the larger rocks around as some pieces of sea glass can be found underneath these. Move the rocks and sand around with a stick or rake. A small tool will help you, using your hands can be quite difficult and sometimes dangerous as you never know what lives under a rock. In Australia, the blue ringed octopus loves to live in this environment. The front and back beaches along the Mornington Peninsular are a known habitat to this venomous creature.  Although a small and pretty little creature, it is quite deadly. They are also found in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

blue ringed octopusBlue ringed octopus

How to find sea glass is easy on beaches with smaller pebbles as the sea glass usually lies on top of the pebbles, exposed for you to find!

Don't just relay on the tidal markings on the beach. King tides can sometimes deposit sea glass samples high up on the sand. Make sure that you look beneath cliff faces, taking care that the cliffs above you are stable.

Sometimes sea glass can be found naturally cemented into the rocks as I found on Factory Beach in Robe, South Australia. These samples were far to embedded to dig out. A chisel would have been needed to remove the well worn samples.

embedded sea glass factory beach robe south australiaSea Glass cemented into rock reef on Factory Beach Robe South Australia

Another tip on how to find sea glass is to take advantage of the sun and search the shoreline with you back to it. That way you will be allowing the sun to strike the glass, letting the shine and glitter attract you. Walking into the sun also obstructs your view. If you can try to search not wearing your sun glasses, makes it easier to pick up the glittering shine.

Always try to look a few feet in front of you not directly downward and try to keep your shadow to the side so as not to hide what's in front of you.

Don't avoid the debris on the beach as great finds can be hidden in it. Drift wood sometimes hides a treasure or two. Use you foot to move the stones, pebbles and rocks around, you never know what may be hidden underneath the surface layer.

sea glass and pottery shardsTypical sea glass and pottery shards haul found on a good sea glass beach

Enjoy the experience and if you are lucky, done your homework, hit the beach at the right time, you could come home with this sort of a collection.

lots of sea glass collectedSamples of sea glass found on Glass Beach in Robe, South Australia

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