This Is How to Send a Message in a Bottle (That Might Be Found)
by Owen James Burke
Photo: International Maritime Museum, Hamburg.
Last year in the Baltic Sea, a fisherman discovered a 101-year-old message in a beer bottle. This boat consecutively found the last two records for oldest message in a bottle found. Some boats have all the luck, but how does it happen? Popular Mechanics asked ocean scientists to help find out.
Most of the chance errs on the size of the body of water it’s dropped into. If you happen to be stranded or adrift in the Atlantic or the Pacific, good luck. Being such large bodies of water with so many different currents going different directions, chances are that your message will sink, and even if it does stay afloat, the chances of it crossing paths with another vessel AND being spotted are still slim. At best.
Small, mostly enclosed bodies of water like bays and sounds promise much better odds. Having only so many currents, the bottle is likely to make the rounds. In the case of the 101-year-old bottle, scientists estimated that it had circled the sea some 30 times before it was discovered.
Tips for the weary and stranded:
1) Use dark glass. The sun won’t penetrate it (as much), and your words will be preserved.
2) Fold your message inward, so that the blank side (if there is one) is exposed to the sun and not the ink, or whatever you may have scratched together to use for a writing utensil.
3) Barnacles will drag a bottle down, seaweed will keep it afloat. In all likelihood, this’ll be beyond out of your hands.
Read more at Popular Mechanics. — OJB