Clean Ocean Action

Celebrating 35 Years of Beach Sweeps – Virtually!

Though we couldn’t sweep the beaches together this April due to the pandemic, COA held a fun-filled Virtual Vintage Beach Sweeps to celebrate 35 years of Beach Sweeps! The celebration kicked off via social media on April 22, Earth Day, and continued through 2020 Spring Beach Sweep’s Day on April 25. Each day presented a new challenge with a chance to win a cool limited edition Beach Sweeps T-shirt. Over the four-day celebration, participants tested their beach litter knowledge, recalled their most ridiculous finds, donned their vintage Beach Sweeps apparel, and shared their favorite Sweeps story and memories.

View Vintage Virtual Beach Sweeps submissions


 Over 7 Million Reasons to Salute Beach Sweeps

COA's 2019 Beach Sweeps Report highlights: the cumulative items removed over the past 34 years of Beach Sweeps -- an astonishing 7,239,232!

View and Download the 2019 Beach Sweeps Report


Save the date for the Fall Beach Sweeps on

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Beach Sweeps are held at over 70 locations throughout New Jersey. View the list of sites for the 2020 Beach Sweeps.

Learn more about the Beach Sweeps below, and on our Beach Sweeps FAQ Page.


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. Both walk-ons and registered volunteers are welcome. Groups of 10 or more are encouraged to pre-register by completing the online form, or by calling COA's Sandy Hook office at 732-872-0111.  

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, register to participate! Registration for the Beach Sweeps is encouraged, but not required.
  • Check-in starts at 9:00 am.  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.
  • Volunteers age 15-18 can click here to learn more about becoming a Junior Beach Captain.

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

Clean Ocean Action

732-872-0111

outreach@(Spam protected email address)cleanoceanaction.org

Headquarters:

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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