Have you ever been super excited for a boat or beach day, only to have your expectations of a pristine beach crushed by littered water and sand? That’s the worst—and it’s a global problem. The National Geographic Society informs us that ocean trash is one of the world’s biggest pollution problems.
Researchers estimate that nearly 10 million metric tons of plastic trash alone enter the oceans annually (yikes!). While that’s disheartening, there are several beach clean-up organizations working hard to set things right.
As a growing boating community—which includes our Boatsetter team, as well as our owners and renters all across the country—we want to do our part to #MindYourWake, promoting and advocating for ocean and waterway conservation for generations to come (also be sure to read Green Boating: 6 Sustainable Best Practices for Boaters).
Listed in alphabetical order, here are five beach clean-up organizations where you can volunteer to protect and conserve our waterways:
- Blue Ocean Society
- Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup
- Ocean Bleu Project
- Pacific Beach Coalition
- Surfrider Foundation
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1. Blue Ocean Society (BOS) for Marine Conservation
Beach clean-up organizations come in all shapes and sizes, some being regional. BOS is a great example. The Gulf of Maine, stretching from Maine to Massachusetts, is its focus. BOS traces its roots to 2001 thanks to two whale-watch naturalists and organizes seasonal beach clean-ups, primarily from June through September.
It also has the Adopt-a-Beach program, through which volunteers like you gather a group and clean your local shore once a month. You provide BOS with helpful data on the marine debris you collect, too.
To learn more or volunteer, visit the Blue Ocean Society.
2. Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC)
This 35-year-old program is an initiative of the Ocean Conservancy, a well-respected non-profit. The International Coastal Cleanup unites other non-profits, volunteer organizations, and individuals around the world to pick up trash.
Collectively, they’ve removed upwards of 348 million pounds of garbage. The ICC’s Good Mates program enlists boaters and marina operators to take action against marine debris.
To learn more or volunteer, visit Ocean Conservancy.
3. Ocean Blue Project
Among beach clean-up organizations, this one particular has an interesting history. A father and son belonging to the Choctaw Nation tribe in Oregon started it. It’s now a national group. The Ocean Blue Project has removed more than 244,000 pounds with the help of more than 5,800 volunteers already! Additionally, organizers and volunteers have planted nearly 10,000 shrubs and trees along riverbanks.
They also help individuals organize their own beach clean-ups, which is as easy as picking up three pieces of trash. Like all beach clean-up organizations, it aims for the gold, striving to eliminate 1 million pounds of ocean plastic.
To learn more or volunteer, visit the Ocean Blue Project.
4. Pacific Beach Coalition
The ocean, coastal habitat, and wildlife in California’s Bay Area are of prime importance to this volunteer-driven organization. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Pacific Beach Coalition organizes monthly beach clean-up events.
Interestingly, it also partners with companies looking to provide employees with volunteer opportunities and team-building programs. For example, this past spring it helped Salesforce employees organize, with them picking up 405 cigarette butts, among other trash, in just one day. Their new School Gives Back program brings students to the beach to learn about marine debris, plus of course, participate in a beach clean-up.
To learn more or volunteer, visit the Pacific Beach Coalition.
5. Surfrider Foundation
With nearly 200 nationwide chapters and school clubs, the Surfrider Foundation makes a strong impact. It reduces ocean plastic pollution, champions policies protecting coasts, and more. Each club and chapter organizes its own beach clean-up event. The entire Surfrider Foundation network also participates in the International Coastal Cleanup events held annually.
To learn more or volunteer, visit the Surfrider Foundation.
Giving back to the waterways we love is a big part of being a good boater. By spending just one hour of your time assisting these great groups, you can help to #MindYourWake. Connect with your local boating community and volunteer at a Boatsetter Waterway Clean-Up event!
Read other stories within our #MindYourWake Series:
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