On the day



The Covid-19 (coronavirus) infection has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organisation.
The health and wellbeing of our volunteers and supporters is our utmost priority and as such we have taken the decision to advise that all  beach clean events should be cancelled pending further notice.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will contact organisers and volunteers by email as well as update the guidance on our website as the situation develops.


Briefing the volunteers

Volunteers need to know what they're doing, why, and how - as well as all the risks and how to keep safe. Key points to cover:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Provide a bit of background of Beachwatch, the issue of marine litter and why recording it is so important. Mention anything you know about your local area too - what you've found on your beach in the past, any local issues or stats, whether there are any litter campaigns in your area.
  • Go over the key health and safety issues, (refer to your Risk Assessment)
  • Explain the survey form and methodology
  • Give them a time to meet back at the start point

download a suggested briefing.

During the clean

  • Be available to help people identify the litter they find and locate it on the survey form.
  • Make sure everyone is following the right process - picking up everything they find over the 100m and recording it all.
  • If you've got sharps boxes, buckets for glass etc or a first aid kit, keep these with you and look out for anyone who needs them. 
  • Take photos - especially of the litter on the beach - especially if it's a weird find. Email photos to beachwatch@mcsuk.org with the name of the person to be credited.

After the clean

  • Weigh and count the bin bags. How many volunteers took part?

Provide a closing talk:

  • Ask if anyone found anything unusual
  • Find out what the majority of items were made of (likely to be plastic). If you find lots of plastic on your beach clean, you may like to promote the Plastic Challenge to beach cleaners. Find out more here www.mcsuk.org/plasticchallenge.
  • Run a competition for the highest number of items recorded - number of items not weight. This encourages people to follow the correct methodology by picking up as much as they can find, and also tally up their survey forms - saving you some time at the end!
  • Thank them for their help - MCS couldn't run Beachwatch without our volunteers and we appreciate all of their time (including yours)

Before you leave the beach, make sure the litter is left in the place you agreed with whoever is going to collect it and fill in the front page of your survey summary form - number of bin bags, number of volunteers, weather conditions etc. 

Back at home

  • Collate all of the survey forms onto the summary form and upload it to the website.
  • Download your summary as a PDF. You can send this round to your volunteers to let them know what they've achieved - and while you're at it, you could let them know when your next event is! 

After a few events, you'll get some regulars coming along who know the drill and can even help when new volunteers arrive. Some volunteers might adopt their own beach to clean. A ripple effect, started by you, can make a difference to your whole coastline.