Title: About COA

COA Mission Statement:
"Our goal is to improve the degraded water quality of the marine waters off the New Jersey/New York coast."

Clean Ocean Action will identify the sources of pollution and mount an attack on each source by using research, public education, and citizen action to convince our public officials to enact and enforce measures which will clean up and protect our ocean.

Clean Ocean Action is a 501(c)3 tax exempt nonprofit organization.

Clean Ocean Action is a leading national and regional voice working to protect waterways using science, law, research, education, and citizen action. 


Our successful campaigns:

  • Improve programs and laws that protect public health at swimming beaches.
  • Reduce plastics and litter that pollute waterways, spoil beautiful beaches, and harm or kill marine life including turtles, whales, seals, birds, and fish.
  • Protect coasts from oil and gas drilling in the ocean, including Maine to Florida.
  • Establish the nation’s first Clean Ocean Zone to start a national chain reaction for all coasts.
  • Reduce toxins in waterways to ensure fish and shellfish are free of pollution and safe to eat.
  • Educate and motivate citizens from the small to the tall.

Clean Ocean Action (COA) is a broad-based coalition of 125 active boating, business, community, conservation, diving, environmental, fishing, religious, service, student, surfing, and women's groups.  These "Ocean Wavemakers" work to clean up and protect the waters of the New York Bight.  The groups came together in 1984 to investigate sources, effects, and solutions of ocean pollution.  What follows is a description of the network.


Under the guidance of COA's Board of TrusteesCOA's staff researches pollution issues affecting the marine environment, then formulates policy and campaigns to eliminate each pollution source. The staff then coordinates and organizes the Ocean Wavemakers (Participating Organizations, Concerned Businesses, Educators for a Clean Ocean, and Concerned Citizens) to use their individual experience and expertise to help. Press events, rallies, writing letters, making phone calls, testifying at public hearings, and distributing literature are just some of the ways members of the coalition become involved.


With eight ocean dumpsites closed, powerful new clean water laws on the books, and a greater public awareness of the ocean and its improved health, it's clear the system works. 


  • All eight ocean dumpsites - Sewage Sludge, Deep Water Sewage Sludge, Toxic Mud, Cellar Dirt, Industrial Waste, Woodburning, Toxic Waste  Incineration, and Acid Waste - have been closed and federal legislation now prohibits dumping these materials.
  • The quality of capping material used to heal the ocean at the Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS) or old Mud Dump Site has been improved.
  • Citizen support and demand for a healthy ocean is overwhelming.
  • Beach water quality is monitored more closely.
  • Over 10,000 students participated in COA Student Summits since the first program 16 years ago.
  • Hundreds of thousands of citizens have been educated to help fight future ocean pollution battles.
  • The Beach Sweeps are the largest grassroots environmental event in New Jersey.  Since 1985, over 101,000 volunteers have collected information on over 5.19 million pieces of trash from the Jersey shore.
  • The NJ Beach Sweeps Report shows a trend toward a reduced amount of debris found on our beaches.


Clean Ocean Action...
  • stops ocean pollution with a continuous, relentless  effort using research, education, and citizen action to convince our public officials to enact and enforce strict laws to protect our marine resources for today’s and future generations;
  • tracks down sources of pollution, identifies solutions, and launches campaigns to eliminate them;
  • educates citizens about the connection between storm drains and waterways with a statewide storm drain stencil program, "NO DUMPING: DRAINS TO WATERWAYS";
  • motivates communities to implement programs and technologies to stem the tide of coastal pollution;
  • ensures that laws are enforced, pollution is reduced, and violators are prosecuted.
  • advocates monitoring and repair of underground sewers to ensure that these systems do not contaminate our waterways; and
  • identifies environmentally sound alternatives for dredged material management.