The COA Story

On a cold winter day in 2006 after a great day of surfing there was a problem with parking on Shepard Avenue off the cliff walk and it wasn’t clear if certain spots were public or private so Frank Hanson and Dave McLaughlin brought the issue to the Police and the City Council in Newport to help resolve the problem. In the early summer of 2006 there was a sewage spill in Easton’s Bay and this got area surfers talking about water quality and then in July the main pipe from Middletown to Newport broke and an even larger sewage spill occurred. In July a local resident contacted the Coastal Resource Management Council (CRMC). Marty Grimes and Dave McLaughlin and a staff person from CRMC met at Easton’s Point in Middletown, RI to assess the poor maintenance of the access point. CRMC indicated that the access point was going to be open and that it needed a group to adopt it.  Grimes and McLaughlin knew they had an interest, but not a group…yet.  In the summer of 2006, 27 surfers met with people from various organizations including and considered three options: 1) Do nothing about water quality and access, just keep the status quo, 2) Encourage people to join other organizations and have those groups solve our problems; or, 3) Create our own group and work to solve these problems.  It was decided to go with option 3 because no other group could promise to put our issues at the top of a list and we had such a focus and tight knit community.  In August 2006, COA started!  We found out about a beach cleanup, so we decided to host it in September of that year.  That’s where COA began, and since that time, so much has happened. This effort has become a coastal inspired organization that is cultivating friendships within the community, with a unified desire of working together, taking good care of the environment, and living healthy lives.