How Seashells Can be an Invaluable Survival Resource


Seashells, by nature, are functional because they offer protection and provide shelter for a variety of creatures.  They can also be very useful to us in survival situations, and it’s really easy to overlook their benefits.  Let’s look at a few examples of how you can take advantage of seashells, and why you may want to think twice before passing some up as you forage along the shore.


If you can collect enough shells that have colors that contrast with the surrounding sand, you can arrange them to spell out an SOS or other emergency signals.  This is a better alternative to using a stick to trace a message in the sand, because wind or water can erase what you’ve written.  Shells are more-likely to remain in place and be visible for longer periods of time.


You can fashion all kinds of sharp weapons out of shells, from arrows or spearheads to an improvised knife.  This can give you more options as you try to hunt, but you can also have an additional means to protect yourself against threats.


Shells come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and they can easily be re-purposed for use around the survival kitchen.  You can take some smaller, oval shaped shells and use them as spoons.  Larger, rounder ones can be used as cups or bowls.  You can even experiment with using shells for cooking small portions of food.


You can chip away at the walls of shells in order to create sharp edges that can slice through all kinds of items.  You can also cut some teeth into the shell and use it as serrated tool to cut meat, vegetation, branches or even some fabrics.  While it may not be as efficient as a knife, it can get the job done with a little bit of elbow-grease and persistence.


You can use shells to hide valuables or hold small items.  You can also smear some pine pitch, or similar material, around the edges of two shells in order to create a sealed and water-resistant container. Large shells can also be used to collect and store water.

Digging and Scraping

There are a lot of projects in survival situations that will require digging and scraping.  From tanning hides to preparing meat or digging a trench, shells can be the perfect tool to help you to get the job done.

Friction Fire Starter

You can use the inside of a shell as the base for a friction fire starter, and the curved edges will help you to keep your tinder in place.  Along those lines, you may also be able to use the inside of a shell as a socket for your bow drill as well.

These are just a few random ideas that illustrate how shells can be so useful during a survival situation. Grab a few shells, try these tips for yourself, and chances are that you’ll start coming up some ideas of your own once you start tinkering around.

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