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 of Observer Courses for 2017 is beginning to take shape. We try to run the courses early in the year so that people have the maximum time to be out and recording. Additional courses will be added if there is sufficient demand. We can also organise courses for clubs and dive centres. Contact National Coordinator Charlotte Bolton: or your nearest Seasearch contact 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.




Saturday 18th March (shore dives on 19th March) Bangor University Seasearch North Wales - Liz Morris-Webb
Saturday 25th March Flamborough, Yorkshire Seasearch North-East - Paula Lightfoot
Saturday 25th March (course dives on 26th March) East Cheshire SAC, Macclesfield (Albert Dock, Liverpool) Seasearch North-West - Wendy Northway
Sunday 2nd April (course dives TBC) Cumbernauld Seasearch Scotland - Natalie Hirst
Saturday 22nd April (course dives on 23rd April) Truro, Cornwall Cornwall Seasearch - Matt Slater
Saturday 22nd April Ulster Wildlife, Belfast Harbour Seasearch NI - Charmaine Beer/Sally Stewart-Moore
Saturday 22nd April (course dives on 23rd April) Kent Wildlife Trust, nr. Maidstone Kent Seasearch - Fiona White
Saturday 29th April (course dives on 6th May) Sussex University, Brighton Sussex Seasearch - Sarah Ward
Saturday 6th May (course dives on 7th May) Portland, Dorset Dorset Seasearch - Lin Baldock
Saturday 27th May (course dives on 28th May) Kerry, ROI Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan
Saturday 27th May Totnes BSAC, South Devon Devon Seasearch - Chris Webb
Fri-Sun 2nd-4th June (including boat dives) Bouley Bay Dive Centre, Jersey, CI Jersey Seasearch - Kevin McIlwee
Saturday 3rd June Dove Laboratory, Newcastle Seasearch North East - Paula Lightfoot
Saturday 24th June (course dives on 25th June) Galway, ROI Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan
Saturday 1st July Port Erin, Isle of Man IOM Seasearch - Tony Glen
Saturday 8th July (course dives on 8th/9th July) Sheringham, Norfolk Seasearch East - Dawn Watson
Saturday 22nd July (course dives at St Abbs on 23rd July) Eyemouth Seasearch Scotland - Natalie Hirst
Saturday 2nd September (course dives on Sunday 3rd September) Carlingford/Dundalk, Co. Louth, ROI Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan
Saturday 2nd September HIWWT, Botley, Hampshire Seasearch - Charlotte Bolton
Saturday 28th October (shore dives on 29th October) Anglesey (venue TBC) Seasearch North Wales - Liz Morris-Webb
Saturday 28th October Portland, Dorset Seasearch - Charlotte Bolton




Saturday 5th May (course dives on Sunday 6th May) Plymouth, Devon Seasearch Devon - Chris Webb
Saturday 12th May (course dives on Sunday 13th May) Portland, Dorset Dorset Seasearch - Lin Baldock


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 courses currently planned for 2017 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 let us know at and we will try to arrange courses in appropriate places.

date location contact
Sat/Sun 8th/9th April Marloes, Pembrokeshire Seasearch S&W Wales - Kate Lock
Sat/Sun 3rd/4th June Belfast Seasearch NI - Charmaine Beer/Sally Stewart-Moore or Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan
Sat/Sun 10th/11th June Truro, Cornwall Cornwall Seasearch - Matt Slater
Fri/Sun 11th-13th August FSC Millport, Cumbrae Seasearch Scotland - Natalie Hirst
Sat/Sun 30th June/1st July Dove Marine Lab, Cullercoats Seasearch North East - Paula Lightfoot


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.

date topic location tutor contact
Sunday 4th June Sponges, hydroids and bryozoans - microscope workshop (I/A) KWT, nr. Maidstone, Kent   Kent Seasearch - Fiona White
Sat/Sun 22nd/23rd July Seaweed Identification(E) Cornwall College, Newquay Prof. Juliet Brodie (NHM) ERCCIS - Laura Fox at ERCCIS (NOT officially a Seasearch course but relevant to Seasearchers!)
Sat/Sun 29th/30th July Marine Life ID (E) Dorset   MCS South-East Local Group - Gerry Casey or Paul Biggin (if no response please email
Sunday 3rd September Fish ID (E) Newcastle Frances Dipper Seasearch North-East - Paula Lightfoot
Sat/Sun 16th/17th September Digital Underwater Photography (E) Dorset Paul Naylor MCS South-East Local Group - Gerry Casey or Paul Biggin (if no response please email
Sat 30th September - Sun 1st October Ascidian workshop (I/A) Truro, Cornwall David Kipling & Sarah Bowen Seasearch Cornwall - Matt Slater
Saturday October 14th Fish ID (E) Galway, ROI Lin Baldock Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan
Sat/Sun 21st/22nd April Seaweeds for Divers (I) Dorset Lin Baldock Seasearch Dorset - Lin Baldock
Sat/Sun 28th/29th April Seaweeds (E) Seven Sisters, East Sussex Lin Baldock Sussex Seasearch - Sarah Ward
Sat/Sun 19/20 May Seaweeds (I) Plymouth, Devon Lin Baldock Seasearch Devon - Chris Webb
Sat/Sun 2nd/3rd June Ascidian workshop (I/A) Portland, Dorset David Kipling & Sarah Bowen Seasearch - Charlotte Bolton


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, 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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