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
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)
All the courses scheduled for 2017 have now taken place and the programme of Observer Courses for 2018 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 currently emerging for 2018 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 email@example.com and we will try to arrange courses in appropriate places.
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 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.
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 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)