Healthy Oceans. Healthy Communities.

Clear the Coast

Photo of cleanup crew at Helen Island.

Clear the Coast 2018

Once again, we face a season of work without significant government funding: although we continue to work with both federal and provincial governments, marine debris removal funding is not yet a priority for them.  Our sincere thanks to the Sitka Foundation, the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund and our generous donors for making it possible for us to plan Clear the Coast 2018.

Please read on if you're interested in volunteering this year!

The plans to date:

The first set of trips following are drive-in, hike-in propositions: you get yourself there and we'll feed you and provide all the supplies needed for the cleanup. These beaches are accessed by logging roads from Holberg. The roads are generally suitable for any passenger vehicle, although heavy storms can result in road closures that may alter these plans. Please contact Rob O'Dea at rodea [at] to sign up and receive detailed maps and instructions.

Map of northern Vancouver Island beaches

July 6-8: Grant Bay  Expect a short and relatively easy hike in; camp on the beach at least one night. We will have a video crew working at this site.

July 13-15: Hecht Beach We have no volunteers signed up for this site as yet. Very short hike in; at least one overnight.

July 20-24: Raft Cove and Cape Palmerston Raft Cove is a moderate hike of 45 min-1 hour and a very large and beautiful beach to clean up at the other end. Expect to camp 2 nights; and on the day you leave, plan to stop by Cape Palmerston for a quick hike out to the cache left by Cove Adventure Tours when they cleaned up in May--just to close up the bags, bag any remaining debris for heli-lifting.


Raft Cove Vista
Raft Cove Vista


August 12-26:  Sea Otter Cove Expedition


Map of Cape Scott beaches

Depart Port Hardy August 12, 2018 at 07:00 by sailboat; arrive Sea Otter Cove August 12 late afternoon. Campsites available ashore; meals to be provided on board the sailboat(s).  Hike daily to nearby beaches for cleanup.  A crew change will be possible mid-way through the trip for those not wishing to remain a full 2 weeks.  Sign up for the first, second or both weeks by contacting Rob at rodea [at]


Our Volunteers make the Difference

volunteer crew 2014

volunteer crew 2015

volunteer crew 2016


Why do we do what we do?

Marine debris can be as harmful to ocean ecosystems as destructive fishing practices. Tonnes of plastic waste are circulating on ocean currents and breaking down into smaller and smaller particles, often ending up on or inside seabirds, marine mammals and fish. Lost fishing gear can entangle and kill many marine species. Closer to shore, debris accumulates on beaches including near-shore waters like estuaries that have a high conservation value. Derelict and abandoned vessels are a threat to pollute harbours and other coastal areas.

Tell us what you found

A key part of our work is monitoring locations where debris is sighted and indicating these on our Clear the Coast interactive map. Mapping marine debris will show us the location, amount and types of debris that has been collected.  An online reporting form is available for volunteers to report what they find and remove. Reports will be posted on the map indicating how and where marine waste pollutes our coastal ecosystems and the successful accomplishments of community clean-up efforts.
WARNING: If you find something that you suspect might be hazardous to you or the environment, don’t attempt to dismantle or move it on your own. Make sure to note the hazard in the reporting form.

Derelict vessels

derelict vessel removalOld and derelict vessels are another form of debris and a threat to the marine environment. Their growing presence and disposal is becoming a growing concern for marina operators on B.C.'s coast. These vessels become point sources of pollution, leaking hydrocarbons and other harmful toxins into the ocean. If anchored or abandoned on beaches, they may become hazards to navigation.

Living Oceans has studied how derelict vessels impact marine ecosystems and how lessons learned and best practices from vessel removal efforts in other places can be applied on northern Vancouver Island. This research will provide local harbour managers, marinas and other businesses with a starting point to develop local solutions to the hazards and pollution problems posed by abandoned and derelict vessels.

Ghost fishing gear

ghost fishing netEven after it’s lost, fishing gear continues to fish by trapping or entangling sea life. Local organizations and volunteers want to find and remove lost crab traps from recreational fishing areas in and near estuaries. We are collecting the information reported during these cleanup efforts into the Clear the Coast map that shows how and where the ghost gear interacts with important habitat like kelp beds and eelgrass meadows.