Seasearch Training

Whether you have taken part in marine recording project before or not you can add to your knowledge and experience by taking part in one of our training courses. Three types of Seasearch course are currently available:

Seasearch Observer - for divers new to marine recording in British and Irish waters

Seasearch Surveyor - for experienced recorders who want to increase the value of the results

Special Interest Courses - a range of ID and techniques courses for people who want to expand their knowledge 


Seasearch Observer

This is a one-day course aimed at giving divers new to the project and new to marine recording a basic grounding. At the end of the course you should be able to complete the Seasearch Observation Form and take part in Seasearch Dives either on your own, with your club or on dives organised by Seasearch Partners.


During the course you'll learn about Seasearch - its aims, history and achievements, a basic introduction to the variety of marine life in British and Irish waters, recognising and classifying marine habitats, position fixing, and how to fill in the Observation Form. The day concludes with a 'video dive' and an opportunity to fill in a form without even getting wet!

The course includes a course pack and identification guides and recording slates are available to purchase giving you everythng you'll need to go ahead and get started. The tutors are all divers themselves and keen Seasearchers.

A real dive isn't a part of the course but usually one is arranged locally for you to practice your techniques with a tutor on hand. Where two days are shown in the list below the course usually takes place on the first day with diving on the second.

At the end of the course you'll get a Seasearch Qualification booklet. Once you have completed 5 forms for real (two on dives with a tutor present) you can get signed up as a Seasearch Observer.

Here is what one participant thought of the course "Most enjoyable. Wish I had done something like this years ago!" (October 2009)

The programme of Observer Courses for 2016 is is now completed. We try to run the courses early in the year so that by this time people can be out and recording. Additional courses will be added if there is sufficient demand. We can also organise courses for clubs and dive centres. Contact Joint National Coordinator Charlotte Bolton: or your nearest Seasearch contact if you would like to attend or host a course.




5th March Flamborough, Yorkshire  
5th March Swansea University  
19th March Kingsclere, Hampshire  
26-28th March Jersey  
2nd-3rd April Allet, nr Truro, Cornwall  
16-17th April North Llyn, North Wales  
23-24th April Reculver, Kent  
30th April-1st May Hazel Grove, Stockport
7-8th May Plymouth  
14-15th May Dorset
21st-22nd May Belfast/Ardglass  
4-5th June Botley, Hampshire
18-19th June Cullercoats, Newcastle  
26th June Essex  
2nd July Greenock
2nd-3rd July Sheringham, Norfolk  
24th September Portland, Dorset  Natalie Hirst


Seasearch Surveyor

The Surveyor Course is aimed at experienced Seasearch Observers and others with a good background knowledge of marine life and marine recording. The aim is to enable you to complete the Seasearch Survey Form which is used on most of the expeditionary Seasearch dives and which gives much more detailed information for future conservation purposes.

The course lasts two days and includes a dive on the second day. The Course concentrates on indentifying and classifying marine habitats, and on the priority species and habitats used to identify marine protected areas. Again we use video on the first day and you fill in practice forms both from the video and from the dive itself. The course is assessed and successful participants can carry on and become Seasearch Surveyors after completing a further five forms and an ID test.

The courses currently planned for 2016 are listed below and more can be arranged if there is sufficient demand. If you want to attend a course then please contact your local coordinator or let us know at and we will try to arrange courses in appropriate places.

date location contact
4-5th June Plymouth  
25-26th June Jersey  
20th-21st August Millport, Cumbrae Seasearch Scotland - Natalie Hirst
3rd-4th September Sheringham, Norfolk Seasearch East - Dawn Watson


Special Interest Courses

In addition to the Observer or Surveyor Courses we arrange special interest courses including general marine life identification as well as courses in things like fishes, seaweeds, anemones/corals and sea slugs. We can also run survey skills weekends for people who want to join in specialist projects.

To give you an idea of the level of each course (as they do vary) each course is identified as A (Advanced), Intermediate (I) or E (Everyone):

Advanced courses assume some previous knowledge of the topic and concentrate on expanding that - most suitable for those already recording at Surveyor level. Intermediate courses are for people with some existing knowledge which they want to improve on. They are most suitable for people wanting to become Seasearch Surveyors.

Everyone courses are designed for those just starting out on marine life ID and want to improve their knowledge or cover techniques and surveys that any competent diver can get involved with.

Most of the courses include diving but you can usually take part without diving if you wish.

date topic location tutor contact
Sat 23rd April Introduction to Marine Life (E) Crawfordsburn, Co Down    
Sun 8th May Seaweed ID Workshop (E) Reculver, Kent    
23rd-24th June Channel Islands Species ID (E & I) Jersey    
25-26th June Photographing Marine Animals (E) Swanage, Dorset    
16-17th July Seaweed ID (E & I) Marloes, Pembrokeshire  
23rd-24th July Marine Life ID (E) Swanage, Dorset    
13-14th August Marine Life and Ecology (E) Swanage, Dorset Paul Biggin & Gerry Casey South East MCS - Gerry Casey


Course Costs

The cost of the courses vary depending on venue, costs incurred and if there is any local subsidy or diving involved. As a rough guide one-day courses cost £40-£50 and weekend courses, including diving, £80-£90. Contact the organisers for more details.

What one participant thought:

"I loved the course and have enjoyed all my dives since... It has certainly changed the way I view the marine world". (Observer Course, Dorset 2014)


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