SeaSearch Visit - March 2024

March 26th, 2024

On 26/27 March Anthony, Clive and I headed down to Truro to take part in a Seasearch Course.

SeaSearch is an initiative led by the Marine Conservation Society which trains recreational divers and snorkelers to do 'citizen science' gathering large volumes of data on our coastal habitats and the plants and animals to be found there. As well as finding out more about specific species this provides valuable information on the overall health of our marine environment and how it changes over time.

The course consists of a day of classroom training followed by a couple of open water dives the next day. The course fee includes the excellent Seasearch handbook ('The Diver's Guide to Marine Life of Britain and Ireland') which unlike most such guides contains helpful tips on identifying features and advice on whether a particular critter can be reliably identified by eye, using a photo, or whether identification to genus-level only is the best you can do without a lab.

The course was high quality, fun and quite illuminating. It's not possible to teach the whole of UK marine biology in one day but it succeeded in filling in a lot of gaps of what a recreational diver is likely to know already. It also covered in detail how to survey a site and fill in the observer form to the level that Seasearch need.

For the practical session we did a couple of 5m shore dives out of Porthoustock. Despite the swell, limited visibility and trying to scribble notes with a broken pencil on a shiny slate in 5mm gloves I got the hang of it and managed to produce 2 quite acceptable qualifying reports.

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Unsurprisingly, the pros all take a camera. Unfortunately the joining notes omitted to mention this and I did not as I thought this might be construed as cheating!

Overall, the course was an immense amount of fun and really taught us a lot. I think it will add quite a lot to my summer diving and hopefully I'll spot quite a lot more! Highly recommended.

There is a plan for some club members to attend another course at SeaSeach around July 20th

For more info on Seasearch: