NORFOLK, Va. — It only lasts for about 15 minutes, but the organizers of the annual Hands Across the Sand event hope it's message lasts year-round.

In Hampton Roads and the Outer Banks, hundreds gathered on local beaches on Saturday morning to demonstrate their commitment "to draw metaphorical and actual lines in the sand; human lines in the sand against fossil fuels."

Locally, demonstrators gathered at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, at Ocean View Beach in Norfolk, at Buckroe Beach in Hampton, and adjacent to Jennette's Pier on the beach in Nags Head.

(Video courtesy of John VanderMyde)

“With the new Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing program and the threat of offshore drilling back on the table, it is a critical time for Virginians to unite to protect our coast,” Ann Creasy, community outreach coordinator of the Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter told our partners with WY Daily.

The event was founded in 2010 after the Deepwater Horizon BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The event is an opportunity for communities to gather in opposition to offshore drilling and that every year marine experts, business owners, elected officials, and other community members speak about the potential impacts of offshore drilling," Creasy told WY Daily

“As we saw with the Gulf oil disaster, oil spills decimated tourism and fishing industries,” Eileen Woll, the Offshore Energy Program Director with the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, said. “In Virginia, that means risking over $3.5 billion dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs in industries that depend on healthy ocean and Chesapeake Bay waters and beaches. It's a risk that is more real now than ever as BOEM has put us on the chopping block again.”

According to event organizers, Hands Across the Sand events took place Saturday in 18 states and the District of Columbia: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C.— as well as in Australia, Belize, Canada, and New Zealand.