California Coastal Cleanup Day

Fifteen people widely scattered across a beach carrying buckets search for marine debris. Tan bluffs rise from the beach on the left, waves wash ashore in the center far right.
Volunteers search for marine debris on Drakes Beach on September 15, 2018.

Please join us on Saturday, September 21, 2019
Time: 11 am to 2 pm (tentative)
Location: Drakes Beach (Directions)
Meet in front of the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center

Point Reyes National Seashore, in conjunction with the California Coastal Commission and Point Reyes National Seashore Association, will be sponsoring a Beach cleanup at Drakes Beach on Saturday, September 21, 2019. The cleanup will take place from 11 am to 2 pm. This is an annual effort in California, when citizens come out to help collect data and clean up our beaches. This is a family friendly event. Participants are encouraged to bring sunscreen, work gloves, lunch and/or snacks, and their own water bottles. The PRNSA Bookstore at Drakes Beach sells merchandise and some pre-packaged food and drinks.

Five volunteers sign forms at a folding table while a ranger on the left prepares bags and buckets for the volunteers to use as they collect marine debris from the beach.
Volunteers signing up to participate in the California Coastal Beach Cleanup.

Safety First

Safety is our first priority for any beach cleanup. Even the cleanest-looking beach can hide dangers under the sand. Nails, broken glass, hypodermic needles…even an unexploded grenade have been found during Coastal Cleanup Days.

  • Gloves are required for the Coastal Cleanup and will not be provided.
  • Anyone planning to eat snacks during or shortly after the cleanup should bring antibiotic hand cleaner.
  • Everybody that joins a beach cleanup is required to sign the California Coastal Commission's waiver form. [Available for download in English (71 KB PDF) and Spanish (72 KB PDF)]. Members of school groups, scout troops, and any person under the age of 18 will need a signature from a parent or guardian to participate in the cleanup. Forms are also available at cleanup sites on Coastal Cleanup Day.
Garbage that was collected from Drakes Beach included (from left to right, some of which are in dark green garbage cans): ropes, a large white cutting board, wood, a pair of sneakers, foam, a three-foot diameter tire, and a light blue garbage can.
Some of the garbage that was collected on September 15, 2018.

Thank You & Results from 2018

Point Reyes National Seashore thanks the 73 volunteers who helped collect approximately 635 pounds of garbage and marine debris from Drakes Beach on September 15, 2018, eight pounds of which were sorted for recycling. The most interesting pieces of trash gathered were radar equipment from a boat, a tractor tire, and a one-ounce plastic to-go condiment container still filled with ketchup! The most common pieces of trash were broken pieces of plastic, cigarette butts.

Contact Information

Fiona O'Kelly will be the beach captain for Drakes Beach. Feel free to contact Fiona O'Kelly by email if you have any questions. If you plan on bringing a school class, a Scout Troop, or other group of 10 or more people, please contact Fiona O'Kelly at least 2 weeks in advance.

Other Opportunities

Visit the California Coastal Commission's California Coastal Cleanup Day page for information about other locations.

A California Coastal Cleanup Day poster featuring a white bird with long black legs and yellow feet with a cigarette butt where its beak should be.

About California Coastal Cleanup Day

California Coastal Cleanup Day is an annual event which occurs on the third Saturday of September. California Coastal Cleanup Day is the premier volunteer event focused on the marine environment in the country and is the highlight of the California Coastal Commission's year-round Adopt-A-Beach program. On this day, over 50,000 volunteers turn out to over 700 cleanup sites statewide to conduct what has been hailed by the Guinness Book of World Records as "the largest garbage collection" (1993). Since the program started in 1985, close to 1 million Californians have removed almost 20 million pounds of debris from our state's shorelines and coast. In 2016, nearly 60,000 volunteers removed more than 710,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from California's beaches, lakes, and waterways. When combined with the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by The Ocean Conservancy and taking place on the same day, California Coastal Cleanup Day becomes part of one of the largest volunteer events of the year.

Coming at the end of the summer beach season and right near the start of the school year, Coastal Cleanup Day is a great way for families, students, service groups, and neighbors to join together, take care of our fragile marine environment, show community support for our shared natural resources, learn about the impacts of marine debris and how we can prevent them, and to have fun. Coastal Cleanup Day is also the kick-off event for Coastweeks—three weeks of coastal and water-related events for the whole family.

Artwork composed of marine debris representing the sun over the ocean and a whale's tail exposed above the water.

Marine Debris Art Project

During the 2015 California Coastal Cleanup Day at Drakes Beach, the Marin MPA Watch team (a program coordinated by Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, California Academy of Sciences, and Point Reyes National Seashore) exhibited their Marine Debris Art Projects, created totally from trash collected off of Drakes Beach in June, July, and August of 2015. The art projects were constructed by local community groups, MPA Watch volunteers, and other community members. As of 2018, some of the artwork is still on display within the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center.

Learn More

Visit our Marine Debris page to learn more about this problem that is plaguing our oceans and what you can do to reduce the amount of trash that washes off the land and into the ocean.

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Last updated: November 1, 2018

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Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


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