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 for 2015 is still emerging and there are more courses in the planning stage which will be added to the list below as dates are confirmed. We can also organise additional courses for clubs and dive centres if there is sufficient demand. Contact National Coordinator Chris Wood or your nearest Seasearch contact if you would like to host a course.




15th March
North Shields, Tyneside
Seasearch North East - Paula Lightfoot
18-19th April
Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan
18-19th April
Menai Bridge, Anglesey
Seasearch North Wales - Tom Stamp
18-19th April
Marloes, Pembrokeshire
Seasearch West Wales - Kate Lock
25-26th April
Skerries, Dublin
Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan
25-26th April
Neil Watson
25-26th April
Devon Seasearch - Chris Webb
2nd May
Botley, Hants
Hants/IOW Seasearch - Abbi Scott
2nd May
Reculver, Kent
Kent Seasearch - Fiona White
16-17th May
Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan
13th June
Flamborough, Yorkshire
Seasearch North East - Paula Lightfoot
13-14th June
Seasearch Scotland- Georgia Conolly
4-5th July
Sheringham, Norfolk
Seasearch East - Dawn Watson
8-9th August
Jersey, Channel Islands
Jersey Seasearch - Kevin McIlwee


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 first courses planned for 2015 are listed below and there are others in the planning stage for Devon and Scotland at least. 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
16th - 17th May Plymouth Devon Seasearch - Chris Webb
30th - 31st May Testwood Lakes Hants (30th) / Poole (31st) Hants/IOW Seasearch - Amy Marsden


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 2015 is still developing and more dates will be added below as they are confirmed.

date topic location tutor contact
Sat 16th May Marine Invertebrates Sandycove, Ireland Tim Butter Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan
Sat 20th June Nudibranchs Isle of Man Bernard Picton Seasearch Isle of Man - Tony Glen
Sat/Sun 18-19th July Nudibranchs Galway, Ireland Bernard Picton Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan
Sat/Sun 25-26th July Sponges Holt, Norfolk Jen Jones Seasearch East - Dawn Watson
Sat/Sun 29-30th August Ascidians and Sponges Cork, Ireland David Kipling Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan


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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