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I Found a Bottle!

Congratulations! And thank you for visiting the Message in a Bottle website. As the sender may have explained in their Bottle Log, Message in a Bottle is a fun way to learn about currents, waterways and tides, as well as recycling and the environment.

Please record your found bottle’s information in the online bottle log and send the bottle sender a message. First, you’ll need to sign in.

In your message, tell the sender about how you discovered their bottle and ask what you should do next. They’ll likely request that you mark the discovery location and date on the Log Book found within the bottle. Then, they’ll tell you to seal the bottle to make it as watertight as you can before tossing it back out to sea. Ask them for some tips on how to launch the bottle. Just in case, here are some additional resources.

Location Tips

Oceanographer Philip Richardson recommends these helpful tips for choosing a location:

  • When you're at the shore, make sure that you throw your bottle into an offshore wind. This type of wind will carry the bottle away from the coast.
  • When picking a location, look for a strong current. Remember that currents move objects across the water. You can launch it off a bridge which runs over outgoing currents.
  • Drop your bottle upstream. You can go to the mouth of the river.
  • A breakwater is another great spot. This is a manmade structure that goes out from the shore into the water. A breakwater lessens the impact of water waves against the harbour. 
  • You can also launch for bottle from a fishing boat. Ask local fishermen, lobstermen, or boat captains for tips on the areas with the strongest currents. Or maybe one of them would be kind enough to drop your bottle over the side of his boat.
  • The next time you're on a ferry boat or ocean liner, you can throw it overboard.

Tide Chart

When you throw your bottle into the ocean, wait until there is an ebb or outgoing tide. You can look at a tide chart for your area: here's how you read the chart:

The point at the top bump is high tide and the point at the low "U" shape is low tide. You want to throw the bottle during the time between high tide and the next low tide. The times are on the horizontal part of the chart. Match the time up with the high and low tides. The times are in military time, for example, 17:00 is 5:00 pm. Just subtract 12:00 to figure out what time it is. When you get back from your launch, if you haven't already registered your bottle, do so here and type in the date and location of your launch.