Indian River Life Saving Station offers seaside valentines

On Friday, Feb. 8, the Indian River Life Saving Station will be offering a unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

“Sailor valentines are basically a mosaic of usually seashells and other things you might find on the beach. Some people incorporate starfish or sea glass into it,” explained Site Manager Laura Baldwin.

The program will be offered at 7 p.m., to those who are 10 or older, and registration is required. Those who attend will not only get to take home their own sailor valentine but learn a little bit of maritime history, as well.

“They originated probably in the 19th century,” said Baldwin. “Sailors would actually purchase them in various shops around the world. A lot of people are under the impression that the sailors would collect the shells themselves and create the valentines themselves. Actually, they would purchase them. It was usually a souvenir that would bring back as a gift for someone at home.”

Participation costs $15 per person, including the supplies to decorate a treasure box with a unique pattern of shells and other items from the sea.

Sailor valentines are one of programs the Indian River Lifesaving Station — part of the Delaware State Parks system — offers to the public, with an eye toward fun and education.

“The Indian River Life Saving Station was built in 1876. The U.S. Lifesaving Serving was created in the 1870s by the government to respond to the alarming number of shipwrecks that were happening just off our coast,” noted Baldwin. “Indian River was just one of many stations that lined the coast, all up and down the east coast, even a little bit on the west coast and on the great lakes.”

From maritime history to kids’ hikes to squid dissection, the Indian River Life Saving Station offers a variety of programs themed to the unique historical beachside locale.

The Indian River Life-Saving Station is located in Delaware Seashore State Park, 1.5 miles north of the Indian River Inlet and 3.5 miles south of Dewey Beach. Space and materials for many of the classes are limited, so registration is often required and can be made by calling (302) 227-6991.

For more information, visit them online at