When we think of paradise, plenty of OL readers (myself included) may think of a deep forest full of wild game, or a tall mountain without another soul in sight. Many folks also think of a lovely beach as the backdrop for their “happy place.” But would a beach still be paradise if you were in survival mode? The lack of fresh water and the constant exposure to wind and water could be a dangerous mix if you became stranded on a remote coastline. But the beach is not without its wealth. The shells of various sizes and shapes that we find there can be a very versatile resource—if we just put them to work in the right way.
1. Rain Catch
The lack of fresh drinking water can be a life-threatening issue in a coastal survival setting. But by finding large shells and setting them out to collect rain, we might just get enough H2O to stay alive.
The shell used to contain an animal, and once vacated, shells can contain things again. Bivalve shells can be fitted together to hold small items or large things (if the shells are big enough).
By chipping a few teeth into the edge of a shell (pushing from the inside toward the outside with a stone), you can make a simple saw that can cut grass and other vegetation.
Lucky enough to get something to eat? A shell can make a great spoon.
5. Bowl or Pot
A really large shell can make a nice bowl, and by adding hot rocks and water, it can become a cooking pot too.
6. Waterproof Box
With some sticky evergreen sap as a gasket, two matching shells can even be a waterproof container (like a tinder box).
7. Bow Drill Sockets
Need to make a friction fire? Shells with large holes or cavities can be used as excellent bow and drill sockets. If the waves and sand have polished the hole to a smooth surface, you may not even need any lubrication.
8. Digging tool
Big shells can act like spades or trowels to move sand and soil as needed.
Sharp-edged shells can scrape soft materials, like soaked animal hides, to remove hair, along with meat and other tissues.
10. Emergency Signal
Write SOS in the sand with a large volume of shells for a ground-to-air signal, or hang the shells from bits of string to make trails through the jungle.
Leave us a comment to share different ideas about the survival uses for shells.