The European-Commission—funded project ‘Citclops’ (Citizens’ observatory for coast and ocean optical monitoring) developed methods, tools and sensors, which can be used by citizens to monitor natural waters, with a strong focus on long-term data series related to environmental sciences. The new sensors, based on optical technologies, respond to a number of scientific, technical and societal objectives, ranging from more precise monitoring of key environmental descriptors of the aquatic environment (water colour, transparency and fluorescence) to an improved management of data collected with citizen participation. The sensors were tested, calibrated, integrated on several platforms, scientifically validated and demonstrated in the field. The new methods and tools were tested in a citizen-science context. The general conclusion is that citizens are valuable contributors in quality and quantity to the objective of collecting, integrating and analysing fragmented and diverse environmental data. An integration of these data into data-analysis tools has a large potential to support authoritative monitoring and decision-making. In this paper, the project’s objectives, results, technical achievements and lessons learned are presented.