I agree with almost everything you say, Jonathan, but part of this is about influence and politics, so in order to generate the inevitable ‘spin’, organizations seem to feel the need to gather data and justify themselves.
I really like the idea of cleaning up wherever and whenever we go – this has become part of our family’s modus tourandi and it could/should be the club’s too. One of the problems with picking up stuff is volume. Making a big pile on a beach for some other person to maybe pick up does not seem useful. It is certainly a better idea is to travel with a suitable container – a fine mesh bag might work best. I have used an old sail bag, but they are usually too big.
Some boaters (like me) might be willing to pick up stuff that is already piled on a beach, but it depends how far away it is – distance is fuel and fuel is both money and pollution. Burning gobs of fossil fuel to pick up errant plastic bottles is hard to justify.
Eventually, our cleanup actions have to become normal rather than abnormal or special occasion behaviours.
I like the idea of a trip out to Cockburn Beach, but I suspect it would not generate enough participants. However it is worth a try.