Collecting driftwood at the beach should be a fun activity, whether you’re collecting driftwood for yourself or for selling purposes.
10 Tips for collecting driftwood at the beach, to help ensure that it’s a fun activity, rather than a task:
Wear shoes when collecting driftwood.
Not all driftwood pieces are just lying there on the sandy beach.
Some lovely driftwood pieces may be lying on sharp rocks or on wobbly stones, or may be lying in the middle of a pile of sharp-edged driftwood pieces.
Collect driftwood only on public beaches. Make sure you don’t collect driftwood in a nature reserve, in a protected area, or on somebody’s private property.
Even if you plan to stay on the beach collecting driftwood for just 30 minutes, take some drinking water and a snack with you.
If your dog is going to be with you, take some water and a snack for your dog too. You may find yourself saying “Just one more piece” and then again after that one “Just one more piece” and you may end up staying on the beach for 3 or 4 hours instead of just 30 minutes. Your dog may get hot and thirsty too.
Be alert. Try to collect driftwood with at least one other person, especially if the beach is quiet or there is hardly anyone else or nobody at all around. Do not be so busy with your eyes peeled to the ground (or sand or rocks) looking for driftwood that you don’t notice a stranger approaching you – who may not be a friendly stranger. If dogs are allowed on that beach, take your dog with you – hopefully it’s quite a small dog that doesn’t take up too much space in the car, so you still have plenty of space over in your car for all your precious driftwood finds. Also, watch that ocean! If you’re collecting driftwood close to the edge of the ocean, do not turn your back on the ocean.
This tip is mostly for if there are at least 2 or more of you collecting driftwood, but can also be done if you’re alone, in case you come back to that beach to collect more driftwood on another day.
If you come across what you think is a super piece of driftwood, but upon picking it up you notice that it’s a really awful piece due to it being pretty ruined or cracked on its other side, toss it far from the main area of driftwood. This is done so that your fellow driftwood collectors don’t waste time picking up that deceptive piece of driftwood too.
Of course high tides may shift the position of the driftwood piece you tossed, as well as shift all the driftwood pieces on the beach, before you come to that beach again, but as a temporary measure to help save time, toss those deceptive pieces of driftwood far from the rest. Of course if you’re specifically looking for pieces that have a crack down one side – for yourself or for a customer, then add the piece to your bag or packet.
When you go driftwood collecting, take bags or packets with you that have long handles on them.
Instead of trying to cram both small and long pieces of driftwood into the same bag or packet, you can “thread” three or four longer pieces through both handles of the bag or packet, or even through the handles of two packets or bags, and then hold onto one of those longer driftwood pieces rather than onto the actual handles of the bag or packet. You get to carry more driftwood pieces from the beach to your car like this too (make one trip to your car from the beach, rather than two).
Line your car’s boot and back seat (maybe the front passenger seat too if you’re alone and have really picked up many pieces of driftwood) with some large plastic bags or at least something that can help protect your car from damp, salty and sandy driftwood pieces.
Even if no dampness, salt or sand is leaking from your bags, there may be a few pieces of driftwood that stick out the top of your bags (or may have been thread through the handles), and driving along is likely to shake loose some of that salt and sand into your car.
Although it takes a bit of time, do your selecting of the best pieces right there at the beach, before going home. If you go collect driftwood fairly often, there’s usually a much greater chance of an ever-growing pile of junk pieces at home, than a chance of regretting leaving some pieces at the beach.
To help protect the insides of your car, and to have less of a driftwood cleaning job to do at home, while still on the beach shake off as much excess sand and salt and other debris that you can. As you pick up each driftwood piece that you’re considering taking home, give it a shake, turning it all around between shakes, and also whack it a few times against a larger piece of driftwood that you’re not taking home – turning the piece in your hands at least 4 times between each session of whacking.
Take your camera with to the beach.
It’s nice for potential buyers of your driftwood pieces (or items you’ve made with the pieces) to see the driftwood pieces in their natural environment.
Even if the driftwood is only for your own use, you can take pleasure in looking through photos you’ve taken at the beach, making the driftwood pieces in your home or garden have more of a history to them, and making them much more special.
Collecting driftwood is a fun activity. Following these tips will help ensure you have fun next time you head down to the beach to find your treasures.
© Copyright Teresa Schultz 2014