Do you dive or snorkel in Britain?
If this sounds like you, then dive in and take part in Seasearch
Seasearch is fun – and it’s important. It is a great way to meet like-minded people who are interested in diving and marine wildlife. Many of our volunteers are keen underwater photographers and the dive surveys are a fantastic way to improve your knowledge of marine species.
Data gathered has already made a big difference to how much we know about our coastal habitats and marine species. The more information we have, the better able we are to identify specific sites of conservation concern.
Seasearch is a national project set up by the Marine Conservation Society and is co-ordinated by local co-ordinators, wildlife trusts and organisations around Britain and Ireland. Volunteers help us gather information about the health of our ocean by filling in our survey forms after they dive.
If you’re a qualified diver, you can take part on recreational dives with your buddy, club dives or on Seasearch organised dives and expeditions. Any dive can be a Seasearch dive!
New to Seasearch – what training do I need – what is minimum requirement ?
You don’t have to be an expert because we’ll teach you everything you need to know. You just need to be interested in the marine environment and keen to learn more. If you’re new to the project and new to marine recording, you’ll need to take our Seasearch Observer course (unless you happen to be a marine biologist) . After this, you’ll 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.
There are also further special interest workshops for more experienced volunteers.
Furness Diving club hosted a course in 2021 and since then a number of members have gone on to complete the course and become qualified Seasearch Observers, Some are planning their next step to become a Seasearch Surveyor.
Do I need to be a qualified diver?
Minimum qualifications required to take part in Seasearch organised dives is BSAC Sports Diver and have done at least 20 dives, of which 10 should have been in temperate sea water. For some dives, greater experience levels may be required, depending on the likely conditions.
You will need to have a diving medical certificate or a Sports Diver medical self-declaration and have 3rd party (BSAC) diving insurance.
What sort of surveys will I be doing?
After completing a dive, volunteers record what they saw on one of our Seasearch Observation Forms . You’ll be asked for information about the habitat and seabed cover types you saw, as well as the main marine species. It takes about 15-30 minutes to complete.
Survey Forms involve a more detailed level of recording and require higher-level Surveyor training.
There are also other specific surveys about sea fans, crawfish and sea caves.
There is some interested in running another course early next year (2023). Courses cost around £75-£100 which now also includes a copy of The Diver’s Guide to Marine Life of Britain and Ireland and a much-reduced rate if you are taking it for a second time as a refresher A discount might also be offered depending on numbers.
If interested in an initial, or refresher observer course please get in touch
A surveyor course is also being planned for 20-24th March 2023 with qualifying dives being held off west coast of Scotland. Again, if you are interested in this and already a qualified Observer, please let me know soonest.