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May 6, 20238:00 - 11:30 AM
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Operation Clean Sweep

Operation Clean Sweep


Like a college student’s dorm room, the seafloor in a busy harbor can be littered with lost or discarded junk. And just like on land, litter in the ocean can negatively impact the environment. Ever wonder, “What’s down there, where does it come from, and does anybody ever clean it up?”

On Saturday, May 6th you can find out.

Santa Barbara Harbor’s Operation Clean Sweep, a seafloor debris cleanup program, will hold its 16th annual event on Saturday, May 6th. A team of volunteer divers, supported by 40 or so volunteer dock workers, will remove junk from beneath the Marina 1, A-F fingers. 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 over twenty tons of debris from Santa Barbara Harbor. Items retrieved during past years ranged from bicycles, barbeques, plastic barrels, and boat propellers to wire cages, outboard engines, phones, computers, and the occasional marine battery.  

Volunteers remove seafloor litter

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

For more information about the event or to volunteer, contact Chris Bell at or (805) 897-1962.