After five years of asking people to name their favorite beaches at the Shore, the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium says the annual contest is the really gaining momentum.

Response to the annual online poll has been steady and strong in 2012 and may end up being double what it was last year, according to Kim Kosko, a spokeswoman for the Sandy Hook-based consortium, an affiliation of colleges, universities and other groups dedicated to the stewardship the state's coastal and marine environment by educating adults and children.

The consortium forges deeper connections to the Shore by helping people care for coast, through activities such as beach cleanups and educational workshops.

Apparently people are really digging the idea.

"We actually got more votes for the Top Ten Beaches survey in the first few weeks of voting this year than total votes for the 2011 survey," Kosko noted.

In addition to picking favorite beaches, a single-question poll asks web visitors to select an issue from a list of 20 that they feel has the biggest effect on New Jersey's coastal future.

To thank participants, the consortium has partnered with tourism representatives from the state's coastal counties for prize packages, which will be awarded in a random drawing.

So it could pay to vote for your favorite beach!

"We're using this project to remind residents and visitors every summer about the importance of New Jersey's coastal resources and their critical connection to New Jersey's economy," Kosko said.

Voting began Feb. 21 and ends April 30. The consortium will announce 2012's Top Ten Beaches at the consortium's annual State of the Shore news conference May 24.

To vote go to