Where to look in Maryland
Head east. The Chesapeake Bay's eastern beaches are better than those on the west side, but local collectors have found good pieces where the Potomac River empties into the bay.
Do research. Check with local historical societies to find towns, ports or docks that were active 50-100+ years ago.
Pay attention to prevailing winds. Shorelines that receive those winds will normally produce the best sea glass.
Check nautical charts. Find where shipping channels come close to shore or where small boat traffic is active.
When to look
Between late fall and early spring, when the sun is closer to Earth than it is during hot summer months, which increases gravitational effects and more dramatic tidal changes.
Generally, low tide and especially the first low tide after a storm that has on-shore winds of at least 15-20 knots. When on-shore winds peak during a high tide that coincides with a full moon or new moon, the surface area of the beach covered by water will be at its highest level. This is a "spring tide," and the high tide will be much higher than usual and the low tide much lower than usual. To determine the next spring tide and other lunar influences, go to noaa.gov.
What to bring
Warm clothes. The weather at shoreline can be considerably colder because of wind, so dress in layers.
Containers. Bring something to hold what you find. My sister uses leftover Cool Whip containers because they're sturdy and the white background picks up pastel tints. I use two zipper plastic bags, one for "special" pieces.
Gloves. On cold days, I take thin vinyl gloves, which fit over knit gloves and allow me to sift through sand and pick up pieces without getting my hands wet and sandy.
How to look
Follow a plan. Walk the high-tide line first, then search the low-tide line on your return (or vice versa).
Leave no stone unturned. Stone beds are a great place to find sea glass.
Walk slowly. Small pieces are easily overlooked if you rush.
Focus on color. Sea glass is often white, but keep an eye out for rare colors like turquoise, red, bright yellow or orange.
What to do with sea glass
Make jewelry. Some artists will make necklaces, bracelets and other baubles out of what you find.
Display. Show your collection in jars, bowls or large plates, with colors alike or mixed as you prefer (sea-glass color shows best against a white background).
Events and info
Mid-Atlantic Sea Glass and & Coastal Arts Festival, Lewes, Del., June 25-26. Details at historiclewes.org.
2011 Sea Glass Festival, Long Branch, N.J., Oct. 8-9. Details at westcoastseaglass.com.
North American Sea Glass Association, seaglassassociation.org
Odyssey Sea Glass, odysseyseaglass.com
— Sheila YoungCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun