Rugged Coast Research Society volunteers use a small boat and paddleboards to get through heavy surf to remote beaches to collect marine trash, which is placed in sacks and transported away on a larger craft. (Photo courtesy Agathe Bernard, Rugged Coast Research Society)

Rugged Coast Research Society volunteers use a small boat and paddleboards to get through heavy surf to remote beaches to collect marine trash, which is placed in sacks and transported away on a larger craft. (Photo courtesy Agathe Bernard, Rugged Coast Research Society)

Donation from Nanaimo family helps society clean up Island’s coastline

Rugged Coast Research Society needed boat and gear to clear marine trash from remote beaches

A group of volunteers is cleaning up tons of marine debris from the Island’s shores, thanks to donations from a family in Nanaimo.

Rugged Coast Research Society is a non-profit organization of volunteers that maps marine debris in remote locations on B.C.’s coast and then works to clear away the trash.

But the conventional method for gathering trash from remote shores is expensive, notes a press release from the society. Hiring a helicopter costs about $1,000 per hour to lift sacks of collected debris from the beach to a barge for transport, which costs about $1,000 per day.

To get around the prohibitively high costs Rugged Coast volunteers experimented and found a cheaper way. Instead of using a helicopter and barge, volunteers arrive offshore in a boat and team members go by paddleboard or rowboat to remote beaches. The system works, but the society didn’t have a craft large enough to transport the retrieved marine debris.

David Stanley said he became aware of Rugged Coast’s Research Society’s efforts to put its plan into action from a talk given at Nanaimo Yacht Club by two novice sailors who were circumnavigating the Island and spent some time volunteering with the society’s marine debris cleanup efforts.

RELATED: Novice sailors circumnavigate Vancouver Island to battle ocean plastics blight

“They’re doing a job which really needs to be done, to clean the plastics and other wastes off the coast,” Stanley said.

He and his family initially donated $35,000 to help the society buy a boat up to the task in March. In late September he made a second donation of $30,000 so the society could purchase equipment that will allow the crew of volunteers to safely continue their work through the fall and winter months.

“We like to donate to local charities that are actually doing some real work. Not something pie in the sky. We don’t want to support studies or things that you don’t really know if they’re ever going to produce results, but these people are producing results that you can see right away,” Stanley said.

He said the society receives no governement funding and his family is looking toward providing the society more financial help in 2021 after it is determined what it will actually need.

“They actually do it for fun,” Stanley said. “They’re all volunteers and they actually treat it as a holiday. They take their tents and set them up on the beach. They even bring along their families.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo Museum reopening with limited hours, free admission
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Charity and Donations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


(Photo courtesy Agathe Bernard, Rugged Coast Research Society)

(Photo courtesy Agathe Bernard, Rugged Coast Research Society)

Just Posted

MNP senior economist Susan Mowbray presents the State of the Island Economic Report on Thursday night to conclude the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s virtual summit. (VIEA image)
Not-so-rosy State of the Island report caps off virtual summit

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s summit took place online Oct. 27-29

Canadian Federation of University Women Nanaimo members Wendy Smiley, left, Karen Skarpnes, storyteller Margaret Murphy, CFUW-Nanaimo president Jeri Manley and club treasurer Kathy Torhjelm gather in recognition of the club’s 75th anniversary. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo chapter of Canadian Federation of University Women celebrates 75th anniversary

Group gathered via Zoom earlier this month to recall its history in the area

Police hope the public can help find Hailey St. Claire who has been missing since Tuesday. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo woman reported missing, police asking for public’s help

Hailey St. Claire, 28, was reported missing Tuesday

According to a Nanaimo RCMP press release, Jason Klughart, 28, was arrested at about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday at Port Place Shopping Centre. (News Bulletin file photo)
RCMP officer and security guard team up to detain suspect after chase in downtown Nanaimo

Jason Klughart arrested on outstanding warrant for possession of stolen property

Nanaimo RCMP and public health inspectors will be out looking for homes and businesses violating provincial health orders Saturday, Oct. 31. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo RCMP hope for Halloween safety and COVID-19 safety this weekend

Police and public health officers will be patrolling for households violating COVID-19 restrictions

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Pilot Kevin Maher participated in a flyover of a ceremony at the Cobble Hill cenotaph on Oct. 22 in a 1940 North American (Noorduyn) Harvard aircraft. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cobble Hill remembers lost military members with ceremony, flyover

Annual event commemorates those who died in non-combat roles

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read