Do you, like me, wonder what on earth all of the wonderful creatures and plants you see are whilst diving around the UK coast? The Marine Conservation Society’s Seasearch course is a fantastic way to gain identification skills, learn about the different marine communities in UK waters and also allows you to contribute to the protection and understanding of these amazing habitats.
Earlier in the year I organised the Seasearch Observer course for my dive club with the wonderful Paula, Wendy and Kerry. This is the first level of training and once you have completed it you will be qualified to record the flora and fauna you see on dives and contribute to the Seasearch database. The data you collect will help to provide a picture of the diversity and health of our coast. The information collected by Seasearch volunteers has previously helped with the identification of sites as Marine Conservation Zones! Once you have completed the Observer course you then have the option of progressing to become a Seasearch Surveyor or taking part in one of the specialty courses.
Over the summer myself and my partner Ian participated in a day of Seasearch diving. And they were quite probably some of the best dives I have ever done in the UK.
Unfortunately my extremely amateur photography skills have not done these dives justice. Every single one of the three dives we did off the coast of South Shields were packed full of life. I’m not sure if it’s because the dive sites were new to me or that my newfound Seasearch skills meant that I was just taking more notice of the animals and plants around me, but each dive was breathtakingly beautiful.
We saw animals we’d never seen before such as Tompot blenny’s, Flounder and even a sea spider! There were more nudibranch’s on one dive than I have seen in my four years of diving and a beautiful adult Small-spotted catshark who was too quick for me to get a photo.
So if you want to learn a bit more about the life in our waters, enhance your diving and contribute to the conservation of the UK coastline I thoroughly recommend this course. Get in touch with your regional coordinator for more information and start Seasearching!