Clean Ocean Action

Waves of thanks for a fantastic 2023 Fall Beach Sweeps!

Look out for Spring 2024 details and sponsorship opportunities!

Mother Nature was unpredictable, but once again volunteers proved themselves to be true-blue, all weather friends of the ocean and came out to clean the beaches across the state - rain or shine! Waves of thanks to all who were able to make it and to the fabulous 2023 Beach Sweeps sponsors for their support! SEA you again in 2024! 

WAVES OF THANKS for a SEA-rrific Rescheduled Beach Sweeps!

SEA you for the Fall Beach Sweeps on October 21st!

WAVES OF THANKS to all the true-blue ocean advocates who made it out today for the rescheduled Spring Beach Sweeps! Please see our latest press release for highlights and more. The data has been collected and we look forward to sea-ing you all again with buckets in-hand October 21st! 

                                 2023 Beach Sweeps Sponsors

                                                  Statewide Sponsors




                                                     County Sponsors



                           Additional support provided by Enterprise Holdings Foundation

COA's 2022 Beach Sweeps Report

Waves of thanks to the 8,148 volunteers who helped to collect 376,969 items during just 6 hours of sweeping last year. We had some significant changes this report, like Plastic Shopping Bags leaving the "Dirty Dozen" list for the 1st time since 2007 ranking at #14!

Read more about how the data has changed, and if NJ's “Single Use Waste Reduction Act” is working:



About the Beach Sweeps

In 1985, COA launched the region’s first Beach Sweeps program to rid beaches of unsightly and harmful debris.  COA's Beach Sweeps is one of the longest running cleanups of its kind in the world.  The program has grown from 75 people at one site in 1985, to over 10,000 volunteers in 2018.  Volunteers gather from Raritan to Delaware Bays and along the ocean to clean beaches and waterways, as well as underwater sites.  They join as groups (community, school, business, and organization), families, or individuals.  Participants collect and record valuable data about debris, which is presented in annual reports and used to advance federal, state, and local programs to reduce litter.

Fish, whales, birds, and other animals often mistake litter for food.   As a result, animals get entangled in or ingest items, such as plastic bags, cigarette filters, and fishing line, with deadly results.  Cigarette filters mimic fish and have been found in the stomachs of birds and larger fish, blocking and affecting their digestion.  Also, the filters are made of plastic fibers and trap carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals that are introduced into animals’ bloodstreams.  
Moreover, plastic litter takes a few years to several hundred years to break down, thereby threatening wildlife for decades.  Litter in waterways can also foul boat motors and propellers, resulting in costly repairs.  Finally, littered beaches can ruin a day at the beach.  Garbage slicks and wash-ups close beaches to swimming and are detrimental to tourism and the coastal economy.


Who should participate in Beach Sweeps?

Volunteers of all ages. Children age 12 and under must be supervised by an adult. Registration is required. Register here!


How to get involved in Beach Sweeps:

  • To participate in the Beach Sweeps first review the list of Beach Sweeps sites.
  • Once you've selected a site, click here to register to participate! Registration is required.
  • The event runs from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm. Please note when registering that certain sites may be a different day and/or time. Event is rain or shine.
  • Bring gloves and a trash bucket (this helps to reduce the number of plastic bags used).
  • Wear sunscreen and hard-soled shoes.
  • Dress for the weather. Stay off dunes and respect wildlife.
  • Volunteers can click here to learn more about becoming a Beach Captain.

If you have any questions about the Beach Sweeps please contact: 

Clean Ocean Action



49 Avenel Blvd.
Long Branch, NJ 07740

Field Office:

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041

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