PPE masks collected during beach clean Matt Barnes

Volunteer safety and Covid19

1 minute read

Please ensure you have read and understood our safety guidance before starting a beach clean and litter survey.

Beachwatch Team

Volunteering and COVID19

Your safety is of utmost importance to us. Where possible, we are happy for volunteers to run small, private beach cleans with their family or allocated bubble, but please always check and follow national and local COVID19 guidelines.

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 take with you your official MCS email to show who you are (available on registering your clean)
  • Do let your friends or family know where you are and when you’ll be back
  • Do make sure you’re dressed appropriately with some sturdy shoes on to protect your feet
Beach litter at Crantock beach Cornwall Natasha Ewins

Beach litter in Cornwall

Credit: Natasha Ewins

During your event

  • Do use your own gloves, strong gardening gloves will do
  • 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 stay 2 metres apart (about the length of 2 litter pickers!) from others, in line with latest 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
  • 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