Seasearch Training

ALL COURSES ARE CURRENTLY BEING RUN ONLINE VIA ZOOM. We do not know when it will be possible to resume face-to-face courses.

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. Four types of Seasearch training are currently available:

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

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

Recorder Workshops - mentoring and support for all recorders

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 & snorkellers 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/snorkels either on your own, with your club or on dives organised by Seasearch partners (the latter when covid restrictions permit).


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 available to help) 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)

Dates for Observer Courses are beginning to appear for 2021. We try to run the courses early in the year so that people have the maximum time to be out and recording, but autumn/winter courses are also arranged. Additional courses will be added if/when there is sufficient demand. We can also organise courses for clubs and dive centres. Contact National Coordinator Charlotte Bolton: or your nearest Seasearch co-ordinator if you would like to arrange for a course to be run for your club. To book onto one of the courses below please contact the organiser listed (or use the online booking link where available).

Booking form (doc format) for courses and survey dives

Sun 21st February - Mon 1st March (7 sessions) ONLINE (via zoom) Seasearch West Scotland - Owen Paisley
Tues 2nd - Tues 30th March (5 sessions) COURSE FULL Seasearch South & West Wales - Kate Lock
Thurs 11th - Sun 14th March (4 sessions) SW England regional focus (online) National Seasearch
Weds 24th - Sun 28th March (5 sessions) ONLINE (via zoom) Seasearch NW England - Wendy Northway
Weds 7th/14th/21st/28th April (5 sessions) ONLINE (via zoom) Seasearch South & West Wales - Kate Lock
Thurs 22nd - Sun 25th April (not Fri 23rd) ONLINE (via zoom) Sussex Seasearch - Sarah Ward Online bookings
Sun-Mon 2nd-10th May (6 sessions) ONLINE (via zoom) Seasearch West Scotland - Owen Paisley
Tues/Thurs 4th/6th/11th/13th/18th May (5 sessions) ONLINE (via zoom) - snorkel/Wales focus Seasearch North Wales - Holly Date
Sat/Sun 22nd/23rd May ONLINE (via zoom) - NI focus Seasearch NI - Sally Stewart-Moore
Weds-Fri 2nd-4th June ONLINE (via zoom) - snorkel/Cornwall focus Seasearch Cornwall - Matt Slater Online bookings
Sat/Sun 12th/13th June ONLINE (via zoom) - East Anglia focus Seasearch East - Dawn Watson
Sat/Sun 19th/20th June ONLINE (via zoom) - snorkel/Guernsey focus Seasearch - Charlotte Bolton
Sat/Sun 4th/5th Sept ONLINE (via zoom) - East Anglia/snorkelling focus Seasearch East - Dawn Watson
Sat 16th Oct Swanage, Dorset Nautical Archaeology Society - Details inc. how to book


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 course dates 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 email and we will try to arrange courses.

DATES TBC ONLINE (via zoom) Seasearch - Charlotte Bolton (register interest)


Recorder Development Workshops

In response to survey feedback from Seasearch volunteers requesting greater support and mentoring, we are arranging local workshops for hand-on practice at recording and form-filling with particular emphasis on local issues and priorities. Dives may or may not be arranged as part of the workshop depending on the time of year and/or boat availability etc. These workshops are open to all Seasearch volunteers whether Observer or Surveyor.

Thurs 22nd March ONLINE (via zoom) Seasearch NI - Sally Stewart-Moore

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), I (Intermediate) 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 Subject (level) Location Tutor(s) Contact
Thurs 22nd April 2021 Nudibranch ID (E) ONLINE (via zoom) Bernard Picton Seasearch NI - Sally Stewart-Moore
Thurs 17th June 2021 Seaweed ID (E) ONLINE (via zoom) Dr Kate Schoenrock-Rossiter Seasearch NI - Sally Stewart-Moore
Thurs 8th July 2021 NI sharks, skates and rays(E) ONLINE (via zoom) Sea Deep Seasearch NI - Sally Stewart-Moore
POSTPONED (until Sept 2022? TBC) Sponge Identification (I) St Abbs, Scottish Borders Dr Jen Jones Seasearch Scotland - Iain Dixon (email to register interest)


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 (which may include diving) £90-£120. Contact the organisers for more details.

Participant feedback:

"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)

"Thanks very much for the course....great experience and wonderful new dimension to my diving/snorkelling". (Surveyor Course, Newcastle 2018)

"Well-presented and accessible for people with or without prior experience :-) ". (Observer Course, Guernsey 2019)

"It was fantastic - really interesting and very detailed with clear examples and thorough explanations". (Observer Course, Sussex 2019)


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