By Joe Cross, Big Blue Scuba School, Cheshire
What is Seasearch?
Seasearch is a community science project with the aim of collecting information about the types of habitats found on our shore lines, as well as the animals that live there and which areas need protection.
The project was originally run by the Marine Conservation Society but has now expanded to have many more partners. The DATA collected by Seasearch volunteers has been used to help set the Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) which have now formed into some of the best dive sites in the UK.
How can you volunteer with Seasearch?
First things first, any dive can be a Seasearch dive, you don’t have to spend the entire dive collecting data if you don’t wish to but can do as little or as much as you like. To become a Seasearch diver the first thing you have to do is a Seasearch Observer Course. This one-day course will give you a base knowledge on marine identification and show you how to fill out the Seasearch Observer booklets. Once you have completed the course you will be given a qualification booklet which you have to fill in with 5 Seasearch dives (2 with a Seasearch co-ordinator).
The next course available to you is the Seasearch Surveyor Course. You will learn much more about marine habitats and collecting DATA on this course. This information gives a better indication of which habitat suit which organisms and therefore future conservation efforts can be aimed in the correct areas.
The final type of courses Seasearch offers are the special interest courses. As Marine life can be extremely complex it can be useful to focus your efforts on a particular organism or habitat. These courses go into detail about certain aspects of marine life so you can learn a bit more about the aquatic world you love.
Where can I do these courses
Seasearch have co-ordinators across the UK now and regularly run courses over the year. You can find out who your local co-ordinator is on the Seasearch website here. Its a great way to learn some Marine Biology, help protect our seas and a way to meet new dive buddies.