Our Story Began in 1978
Save Our Shores is a marine conservation 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Santa Cruz, California. We advocate for clean shores, healthy habitats and living waters in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Save Our Shores (SOS) was founded by a grassroots movement in 1978 to stop the threat of offshore oil drilling along the Central Coast of California. After succeeding, we set out to secure permanent protection of the Central Coast by building coalitions to drive the creation of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) in 1992. Since then, SOS has removed a diverse set of threats to our marine environment. Our advocacy efforts ranged from preventing cruise ship pollution discharge, dissolving wildlife disturbing acoustics, reducing plastic pollution with policy regulations, improving coastal waste management practices through community involvement and most recently, ending illegal sand mining and mass man-made erosion along the MBNMS.
Today, We’re Focused On Ensuring:
Save Our Shores was created in 1978 and officially incorporated with 501(c)(3) status on April 24th, 1980. Our history is deeply woven into the creation of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Other highlights include preventing offshore oil drilling in the greater Monterey Bay area, banning disposable plastic bags in California and ending illegal Sand Mining along our Sanctuary’s shores.
Click through the timeline below for a deeper look at Save Our Shores’ history
Save Our Shores begins as a grassroots movement during the 1970s to prevent offshore oil drilling along the Central Coast of California. By 1980, public momentum influences Save Our Shores to officially incorporate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit on April 24th – with a mission to protect the Central Coast marine environment.
Save Our Shores organizes first coastal cleanup along the North Coast of Santa Cruz County, nearly 10 thousand cleanups have been conducted since.
The City of Santa Cruz, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, the Central Coast Counties Regional OCS Studies Program and Representative Leon Panetta partners with Save Our Shores to generate public support for statewide ban on offshore oil drilling.
Save Our Shores travels across California lobbying local governments to prohibit offshore oil drilling companies from constructing onshore facilities. The effort culminates in 26 cities and counties from San Diego to Humboldt passing anti-oil zoning bans.
Save Our Shores Co-founds and Chairs the Conservation Working Group (CWG), advocating for best ecological boundary during proposals for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. For more about the CWG CLICK HERE.
September 18, 1992: President George H. W. Bush signs act of Congress, creating the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Save Our Shores recognized by local governing bodies as instrumental in achieving Sanctuary status.
For more on Save Our Shores involvement in the designation of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, check out our historical exhibit at the library of the University of Santa Cruz HERE.
Save Our Shores receives the 1994/1995 “Sanctuary Currents Reflection Award” from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in honor of ongoing support of the Sanctuary. For more info CLICK HERE.
Save Our Shores launches Sanctuary Stewards Docent Program and stops an Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate (ATOC) experimental project from being implemented in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Save Our Shores launches Dockwalker Program to promote clean boating and proper oil/sewage disposal at harbors in Santa Cruz and Monterey County.
Save Our Shores co-authors recommended vessel traffic management system for Central California waters along with NOAA, the U.S. Coast Guard and the shipping industry.
California Coastal Commission adopts Save Our Shores Dockwalker Program and takes it statewide to educate boaters about oil/sewage spill prevention and clean boating practices. For more about the statewide program CLICK HERE.
Save Our Shores hosts first Central California Fishermen’s Forum on Marine Protected Areas. More than 150 fishermen, marine scientists, resource managers and policymakers attend.
Save Our Shores helps build policy for oil bilge pumping stations installations at all regional harbors to help boater remove old bilge water and dispose of it appropriately for free.
Save Our Shores becomes official Annual Coast Cleanup Day coordinator for the California Central Coast. More than 3,100 volunteers helped remove 10,000 pounds of trash from 39 cleanup sites in Santa Cruz and Monterey County.
Save Our Shores launches Adopt-A-Beach program at 10 beaches in Santa Cruz County and Holiday Relief Program in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties to reduce litter during peak tourism season.
Save Our Shores creates the Central Coast Sanctuary Alliance, consisting of more than 1o0 environmental organizations and businesses, to regulate single-use plastic bags and polystyrene containers around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. By 2013, Save Our Shores successfully places bans or regulation expansions in more than 35 jurisdictions from Halfmoon Bay to Mountain View to Santa Cruz to Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Save Our Shores launches #SaveOurSand campaign to oppose sand mining on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s shores, advocating for the removal of the CEMEX Lapis Lustre Sand Mine in Marina, California.
After a 2-year battle with the Plastic Industry, Save Our Shores successfully pushed public opinion along the California Central Coast to uphold the Statewide Plastic Bag Ban (initially SB270). More than 73% of voters in Santa Cruz County and 62% in Monterey County supported the Prop 67. The historical result was a statewide collective in partnership with two coalitions: the Central Coast Sanctuary Alliance, Californians Against Waste and Yes on 67 – Protect California’s Plastic Bag Ban.
Save Our Shores launches new 2025 vision establishing three guiding pillars for a thriving Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: Clean Shores, Healthy Habitats and Living Waters. Learn more about the new 2025 vision HERE.
Save Our Shores #SaveOurSand campaign, in partnership with Surfrider Monterey, succeeds in pressuring the California Coastal Commission, State Lands Commission and City of Marina to take separate legal actions against the CEMEX sand mining operation. On July 13, Coastal Commissioners unanimously approve settlement to permanently close the CEMEX facility in a 2020 phase out agreement that will result in habitat restoration and the 400-acre property put in permanent conservation.
Save Our Shores is honored to be highly-regarded by our community!
Coalitions & Alliances
Save Our Shores founded the Central Coast Sanctuary Alliance and is a founding member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
Save Our Shores is Monterey Bay Green Business certified for exceeding environmental regulatory requirements, preventing pollution, and conserving natural resources. We are also CaliforniaVolunteers certified as a Service Enterprise that leverages volunteer skill-sets to achieve our mission as a community.
Save Our Shores partners help us keep the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary thriving. With their help, these entities make it possible for us to promote 400+ ocean conservation events, advocate for ocean friendly policies, attract 8,000+ volunteers and prevent 25+ tons of pollution from littering our shores each year.
Featured photo: Molly McCorkell