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Santa Barbara Harbor Clean SweepWaterfront


Photo of diver handing litter to volunteerThe seafloor in any busy harbor may be littered with lost or discarded junk, impacting the environment just like litter on land. Ever wonder, “What’s down there, where does it come from and does anybody ever clean it up?”

On Sunday, May 16th you’ll find out.

Santa Barbara Harbor’s Operation Clean Sweep, a seafloor debris cleanup program, holds its 13th annual event on Sunday, May 16th. A team of volunteer divers, supported by 40 or so volunteer dock workers, will remove junk from beneath Fish Float North and the California Urchin Divers Association Dock. Divers will locate the junk and dock volunteers will cart it off for disposal.

The event begins at 8:00 a.m., with a briefing on the Travel Lift Pier beneath the Harbormaster’s Office, complete with free coffee and donuts, and concludes with a hearty box lunch at 11:30 a.m.

During past events, volunteers—many of them “Clean Sweepers” from the start—removed a total of 21.2 tons of debris from Santa Barbara Harbor. Items retrieved during past years ranged from bicycles, barbeques, plastic barrels, and boat propellers to pipers, wire cages, outboard engines, phones, computers, and the occasional marine battery. 

The City of Santa Barbara’s Waterfront Department joins volunteers from NOAA, SB Maritime Museum, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, SB Sail and Power Squadron, Santa Barbara Surfrider Foundation, Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute, and harbor dive businesses in this effort.

For more information about the event or to volunteer, call Chris Bell at (805)618-8642 or email at

Last Updated: Apr 6, 2021
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