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)

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: 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 10th March Flamborough Head, Yorkshire Seasearch North-East England - Paula Lightfoot
Saturday 10th March (shore dives on Sunday 11th March) Marloes, Pembrokeshire Seasearch S&W Wales - Kate Lock
Saturday 17th March (shore dives on Sunday 18th March) Anglesey Seasearch North Wales - Holly Date
Saturday 17th March Fort William Seasearch Argyll - Owen Paisley
Friday 23rd March (includes dive(s)) Vobster Quay Vobster Diving Ltd Training Enquiries
Saturday 24th March (course shore dive in the evening at Brompton) Ulster Wildlife HQ, Belfast Seasearch Northern Ireland - Charmaine Beer
Saturday 24th March Newcastle Nic Faulks
Saturday 7th April Hampshire & IOW Wildlife Trust, Botley Hampshire Seasearch - Cathryn Quick
Saturday 14th April (shore dive at Dover on Sunday 15th April) Kent Wildlife Trust, nr. Maidstone Kent Seasearch - Fiona White
Saturday 21st April (course dives on Sunday 22nd April) Cornwall Wildlife Trust, nr. Truro Seasearch Cornwall - Matt Slater
Saturday 21st April (course dives on Sunday 22nd) Arran Seasearch Argyll - Owen Paisley
Saturday 5th May (RESCHEDULED DATE) Dundalk, Co. Louth Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan
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
Saturday 12th May (course (RIB) dives at Selsey on Sunday 13th May) University of Sussex, nr. Brighton Sussex Seasearch - Sarah Ward
Saturday 26th May (course dives on Sunday 27th) Oban Seasearch Argyll - Owen Paisley
Saturday 2nd June (course (RIB) dives on Sunday 3rd June) Portsoy Seasearch Scotland - Natalie Hirst
Sat/Sun 7th/8th July (including 2-3 shore dives) Sheringham, Norfolk Seasearch East - Dawn Watson
Saturday 11th August (course dives on Sunday 12th) Garelochhead, Loch Long Seasearch Argyll - Owen Paisley
Tues/Thurs 21st/23rd August (course dives on Saturday 25th) University College, Dublin Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan
Saturday 15th September (course shore dives TBC) Ulster Wildlife HQ, Belfast Seasearch Northern Ireland - Charmaine Beer/Sally Stewart-Moore
Sunday 11th November (includes dive(s)) Vobster Quay Vobster Diving Ltd Training Enquiries


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 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 and we will try to arrange courses in appropriate places.

Sat/Sun 30th June/1st July Dove Marine Lab, Cullercoats Seasearch North East - Paula Lightfoot
Sat/Sun 14th/15th July Fort Bovisand, Plymouth Seasearch Devon - Chris Webb


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.

Sat 27th January Marloes, Pembrokeshire Seasearch S&W Wales - Kate Lock
Saturday 28th April Plymouth, Devon Seasearch Devon - Chris Webb
Sat/Sun 5th/6th May Portland, Dorset Dorset Seasearch - Lin Baldock
Sat 12th May Cornwall WT, nr. Truro Seasearch Cornwall - Matt Slater
Sat/Sun 18th/19th August Kent Kent Seasearch - Fiona White

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.

Thurs/Fri 15th/16th March Ascidian workshop (E) Macduff Marine Aquarium David Kipling & Sarah Bowen Macduff Marine Aquarium or phone 01261 833369
Sat 14th April Seaweeds (E) Norfolk   Norfolk Wildlife Trust - phone 01263 740008 to book
Sat 21st April Seaweeds for Divers Galway Aquarium Kate Schoenrock 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
Sunday 29th April (RESCHEDULED DATE) Marine Life of the South-West (E) National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth Sally Sharrock & Chris Wood National Marine Aquarium or phone 0844 893 7938
Sat/Sun 19th/20th May - CANCELLED 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
Sat 16th June Marine Life ID (E) Galway Aquarium Rory O'Callaghan Seasearch Ireland - Tony O'Callaghan
Sat/Sun 23rd/24th June Nudibranch ID (E) Martins Haven, Skomer MCZ Bernard Picton & Kate Lock Seasearch S&W Wales - Kate Lock
Fri-Sun 27th-29th July Fish ID (E) Lochaline Dive Centre, Argyll Paul Kay Seasearch Scotland - Natalie Hirst
Sat/Sun 28th/29th July Photography techniques (E) Cley, North Norfolk Rob Spray Seasearch East - Dawn Watson
Sat 18th August Anemones (E; as part of wider Recorder Workshop) Kent Wildlife Trust, nr. Maidstone Charlotte Bolton Kent Seasearch - Fiona White
Sat/Sun 29/30th September Sponge Identification (I/A) CWT, Allet, nr. Truro Jen Jones Seasearch Cornwall- Matt Slater
Sat 10th November Marine Life ID (E) Crawfordsburn Country Park Bernard Picton Seasearch Northern Ireland - Charmaine Beer/Sally Stewart-Moore


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.

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)


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