Volunteer safety and Covid-19

2 minute read

Your safety is of utmost importance to us. Please ensure you have read and understood our safety guidance before starting a beach clean and litter survey.

Beachwatch Team

Volunteering and COVID-19

Where government advice allows, we are happy for our volunteers to run public beach cleans but please do consider everyone’s health and safety before you start. Please don’t come if you are unwell, or if you have come in to contact with someone who tested positive for Covid or are waiting for a PCR test result.

Think about social distancing between individuals, encouraging people to use track and trace, and ensuring that all your equipment is sanitised before and after events. You or others may wish to wear face masks. If others do join your clean (but haven’t signed up online) please ensure you collect their contact details in case you need to inform your group of a potential Covid case after your clean.

We've also provided some advice for how to stay safe before, during and after your beach cleaning event.

Before your beach cleaning event

  • Do check and follow your country’s current government advice with regards to coronavirus
  • Do travel only to beaches local to you in order to help stop the spread of the virus
  • Do inform the beach owner (usually the local council) of your plans to clean the beach so they can arrange to collect the litter
  • Do let your friends or family know where you are and when you’ll be back
Beach litter at Crantock beach Cornwall Natasha Ewins

Beach litter in Cornwall

Credit: Natasha Ewins

During your event

  • Do use your own gloves for collecting litter, strong gardening gloves will do
  • Do use hand sanitiser if you are touching any kit
  • Do not pick up needles or any other hazardous objects, report it to the council as soon as possible
  • Do not lift anything that is too heavy
  • Do always use a litter picker if you have one
  • Do make sure you check and update your risk assessment on the day
  • Do consider social distancing from others, and follow local and government advice
Volunteer Niamh Byrne beach cleaning

Volunteer Niamh Byrne beach cleaning

After the clean

  • Do wash your hands for 20 seconds as soon as possible or use hand sanitiser
  • Do clean your equipment after use if you can
  • Don’t forget to upload your litter data to help us make a real positive difference for the marine environment

Why our beach cleans make such a difference


litter items found per 100m of beach surveyed at last year's Great British Beach Clean



of beach cleans last year found face masks and PPE



drop in plastic bags found on UK beaches since 5p charge introduced

Thank you! Volunteers, like yourself, clean hundreds of UK beaches every year. If you would like to know more, our beach clean Organiser Guide contains lots of resources and templates for you to use.

See the many ways to take action and get involved

What you can do