Flotsam and jetsam boats

As part of the Natural Wight project, people have been out and about exploring the Isle of Wight’s beautiful beaches in all sorts of ways, from rockpooling and beach art to our kite festival and coastal wild food walks. We also helped in the Isle of Wight’s efforts to make sure our beaches stayed beautiful!

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Residents from Southern Housing Group joined us one summer on one of the Island’s most stunning and most secret beaches *Shepherd’s Chine for a big beach clean and explorer day.  After learning about the Chine’s unique wildlife and spotting Glanville Fritillary butterflies, we cleared the whole shore of litter and spent the sunny afternoon boat-building and dam-busting…

With the help of the inventor Dan Roberts (www.ecclestongeorge.com), we selected the most sea-worthy of our flotsam and jetsam findings and each of us built our own very unique boat!  Next up, we constructed a dam at the mouth of the Chine’s river and launched our ships, busting our dam and watching them race wonkily into the sea!


What you will need

Nothing! The rule is not to use anything except for what you find on the beach (that said, a hand-drill may come in useful!)


What to do

First you have to do a beach clean.  Next select the most boat-likely bits of flotsam and jetsam (tip: seaweed makes good string!) and set to work…
It’s easy to make flotsam and jetsam boat with a bit of imagination and a gull-feather; for us, a straw flip-flop became a galleon for example.  Cuttlefish bones make excellent hulls for your yacht too.   If you brought that hand-drill, make a hole in your hull with it for your mast to go in and attach a sail.
Once you’ve built your boats, line them up and watch them race into the waves!
Make sure to collect your boats back up afterwards – natural materials can stay on the beach but pop the rest in your rubbish bags.

Find out more!

Chines are steep-sided valleys formed by rivers travelling through soft sandstone to the sea.  They are rich with wildlife and each is different – a great excuse to explore as many as possible!
To find out more about these fascinating coastal features, visit Isle of Wight Chines
(*Shepherd’s Chine is only safely accessible at low tide so make sure to check the tide times before you go).

Litter has become a common sight along our coastline and as you know has an extremely detrimental effects on our oceans.
Visit www.mcsuk.org to learn more about how to protect marine wildlife.