Seasearch Recording

There are three tiers of Seasearch recording.


First is the Observation Form. This is a straightforward form which can be completed after any dive and provides information about the main habitat and seabed cover types you found on your dive as well as some of the main species of marine life. It takes between 15 and 30 minutes to complete and we need Observation Form data from sites all around the Britain and Ireland.

The more detailed level of recording is done on the Survey Form. This requires more time and effort but also provides us with much more information to use for conservation purposes. This form is used for more detailed surveys and on Seasearch expeditions.

You can download the Recording forms and Guidance Notes here: 

Download the Seasearch Observation Form (for printing out and sending as a paper form)

Download the Seasearch Interactive PDF Observation Form (v2.1) (for completing on your computer and sending via email)

Download the Seasearch Observation Form Guidance Notes

Download the Seasearch Survey Form (for printing out and sending as a paper form)

Download the Seasearch Interactive PDF Survey Form (v60) (for completing on your computer and sending via email)

Download the Seasearch Survey Form Guidance Notes and separate SACFOR species abundances table

If you record large numbers of species you can download the Survey Species Continuation Sheet

You will need the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (N.B. we are aware of issues with Preview on Macs - please use Acrobat Reader as a workaround) installed on your computer to read and print out these files. If you don't have it already it's available for free from the Adobe Website


There are also Special Projects with their own recording methodology. These currently cover sea fans, crawfish and (in Scotland) recording of sea cave entrances (new, September 2020).

Sea Fan Surveys

We are contributing to the UK Biodiversity programme by recording pink sea fans. There are a number of sea fan survey dives organised but you can also take part on any dives you carry out, especially if you are seeing sea fans in lesser known areas or are diving deep wrecks. You can find out all about how to take part by following the Sea fan survey link.


Crawfish Survey

Crawfish are one of the largest crustaceans found in British and Irish waters and have suffered a dramatic decrease in populations in recent years. They have now been identified as a priority (formerly Biodiversity Action Plan, BAP) species because of the pitifully small numbers that remain.

In the last few years there seems to be a revival in the population, particularly in the south-west of England. We want divers to look out for crawfish and tell us wherever they see them. The aim of this recording project is to add to our knowledge of the distribution of crawfish and to inform other research and management measures to protect them. Seasearch divers are a major source of crawfish records on the National Biodiversity Network (NBN).

If you are lucky enough to see a crawfish please DO NOT COLLECT IT (even where it is legal to do so).

Find out how to get involved on the crawfish survey page.


Sea Cave Entrances

Sea caves are an Annex 1 feature under the Habitats Directive (further information from JNCC) and are relatively scarce in Europe apart from along the western coasts of the British Isles. In order to establish the best inventory possible of this habitat, NatureScot are keen to enlist the help of all sea-users (not just divers) in identifying the location of sea caves. This specific recording form enables the location of the cave entrance to be recorded, with some additional information. It also allows charted cave features that are NOT caves to be identified.

Download the recording form here.

N.B. The recording form does NOT require entering the cave and volunteers are strongly encouraged NOT to do so.


Seasearch Slates

All you'll need to carry out the recording underwater is a slate. There are now two sizes of slate available which have been made up especially for Seasearch divers.

One is a pocket version you can carry in your BCD pocket and have available on every dive. The other is A4 size and essential for serious recording. Both slates have a clip to attach to your BCD, a pencil on an elasticated line, a simple aide memoire to the Seasearch recording sequence and a metric scale on the bottom so you can find out exactly how big things are underwater! The cost is a very reasonable £7.00 for the pocket slate & additional pencil and £10.00 for the A4 one & additional pencil, plus postage if you are buying on line.

The wooden pencil won't last forever of course and we have Seasearch pencils made from recycled plastic CD cases. These will last much longer underwater than a wooden pencil and are a recycled product. They are 60p each.

You can purchase slates and pencils at courses and Seasearch events or online from the

MCS Shop




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