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 Course Programme for 2014 is now completed. We are now planning dates for 2015 and the first ones will appear here in December. We can also organise additional courses for clubs and dive centres if there is sufficient demand and Contact National Coordinator Chris Wood or your nearest Seasearch contact.




8th February
Flamborough, Yorkshire
22nd February
Hove, Sussex
8-9th March
Bangor, North Wales
15th March
Boldon, South Shields, Newcastle
12-13th April
Botley, Hants (diving from Gosport)
12-13th April
Truro, Cornwall
12-13th April
Reculver, Kent
26-27th April
Marloes, Pembrokeshire
10-11th May
Plymouth, Devon
10-11th May
Donegal, Ireland
31st May-1st June Portland, Dorset
7-8th June
Jersey, Channel Islands
7-8th June
Islandmagee, Northern Ireland
5-6th July
Botley, Hants (diving from Gosport)
5th July
Limerick, Ireland

5-6th July

Sheringham, Norfolk

30th-31st August Guernsey, Channel Islands
4-5th October
Anglesey, North Wales
18-19th October
Cork, Ireland
8-9th November


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 Surveyor Courses run in 2014 are listed below. 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 to meet demand in 2015.

date location contact
3rd-4th May Porthkerris, Cornwall
31st May - 1st June
Jersey, Channel Islands
14th - 15th June North Wales
28-29th June Eyemouth, Borders


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.

The programme of courses for 2014 is now completed but more courses will be available next spring.

date topic location tutor contact
3rd-5th April Marine Invasive Species (E) Isle of Man Liz Cook (SAMS)
10th-11th May Marine Life ID (E) Portaferry, Northern Ireland Claire Goodwin and Charmaine Beer
15th May Intro to Marine Invertebrates(E) Kinsale, Cork Tim Butter  
31st May-1st June Sponge ID (I) Marloes, Pembrokeshire Jen Jones & Kate Lock  
7/8th June Marine Life ID (E) Swanage, Dorset Paul Biggin & Gerry Casey
7/8th June Seaweed ID (E) Eyemouth, Borders Greg Kenicer &
Jane Pottas
14th-15th June Fish ID (E) Newquay, Cornwall  Frances Dipper
5/6th July Marine Life ID (E) Swanage, Dorset Paul Biggin & Gerry Casey  
12/13th July Ascidian Workshop (I) Portland, Dorset
 David Kipling
2nd-3rd August Marine Life ID and Ecology (I) Swanage, Dorset Paul Biggin & Gerry Casey  
9/10th August Sponge Workshop (I) Portland, Dorset Jen Jones & Lin Baldock  
13-14th September Sea Anemones and Corals (E) Ballycastle/Rathlin, Northern Ireland Chris Wood
20th-21st September Photographing Marine Animals (E) Swanage, Dorset Paul Naylor  


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 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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