Save Our Shores

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Save Our Shores
Abbreviation SOS
Founded 1978 (1978)
Type Nonprofit
Focus Marine Conservation
Headquarters Santa Cruz, CA
Central Coast of California
  • Advocacy
  • Community Outreach
  • Research
  • Education

Save Our Shores (SOS) is a marine conservation nonprofit dedicated to caring for California’s Central Coast through “ocean awareness, advocacy, and citizen action.”[1]

Over the last 35 years, SOS has been responsible for establishing the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), preventing offshore oil drilling along the Central Coast, developing the nationally renowned Dockwalkers clean boating program, banning single-use plastic bags in over 30 jurisdictions, and leading various marine conservation beach cleanups and K-12 educational programs throughout the Monterey Bay area.

Today, the organization primarily focuses on clean boating, marine debris (specifically plastic pollution), and ocean awareness. This includes educating youth about local watersheds and marine protected areas (MPA), tackling debris on beaches and rivers by continuing to host mass cleanups, supporting habitat conservation efforts, conducting marine waste research, reducing single-use plastics throughout the community, and continuing to implement both their historic Sanctuary Stewards and Dockwalker programs.


Beach, River, and Inland Cleanups[edit]

Save Our Shores has been conducting beach, river, and inland cleanups since 1978. The nonprofit primarily hosts its public, private, and school cleanups throughout San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties. In 2014, Save Our Shores led a total of 348 cleanups. During these cleanups, Save Our Shores and community volunteers removed a total of 49,469 pounds of waste. Data is collected from each cleanup to identify pollution and marine debris issues impacting the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Pacific ocean at large. For example, in 2014, the top three items collected were cigarette butts (109,844), small plastic pieces (46,978) like microplastics, and plastic food wrappers (27,317).[2] Many of Save Our Shores’ advocacy efforts, including local bans on single-use plastics and polystyrene containers, are driven by cleanup data analysis.[3]

Sanctuary Stewards[edit]

Sanctuary Stewards[4] are the core volunteer force of Save Our Shores dedicated to conserving the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The program prepares community members to become educators, advocates and experts on issues affecting the Monterey Bay and work toward local pollution prevention.[5] Sanctuary Stewards give academic presentations, lead beach cleanups, participate in community events, and work on various research projects, such as data collection and entry.


Developed in 1999, the Dockwalker[6] program provides one-on-one clean boater outreach in local harbors. Dockwalkers share clean boating best practices and provide boaters with clean boating kits, such as supplies to clean up small oil spills and resources to discard used oil and waste products. Due to its success, the Save Our Shores Dockwalker program was adopted and implemented statewide by the California Coastal Commission in 2001.


  1. ^ "Mission Statement". Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  2. ^ "2014 Annual Report: A Year of Intention". Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  3. ^ "Beach & River Cleanups". Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  4. ^ "Sanctuary Stewards Docent Program - Save Our Shores".
  5. ^ "Sanctuary Stewards Docent Program". Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  6. ^ "Dockwalkers - Save Our Shores".

External links[edit]