Sussex Seasearch

Seasearch is a project for volunteer divers who have an interest in underwater life, want to learn more, and want to help protect the marine environment around the coasts of the UK.

The broad aim of Seasearch is to map the sea bed found in the near-shore zone around the whole of the Britain and Ireland. Additionally, the species encountered on the dives are also recorded, building up a database of where marine life is found.

The Sussex Wildlife Trust coordinates Seasearch in Sussex. We aim to find out more about the marine wildlife of Sussex as well as to learn more about seabed types and identify important sites. Many of our dives are focused on Marine Protected Areas in Sussex.

Why does Seasearch matter?

The information collected by Seasearch divers helps those responsible for marine activities and marine nature conservation to develop strategies which protect our marine wildlife. It has been crucial in the fight for Marine Conservation Zones, and will continue to be so!

Seasearch records are entered into the Marine Recorder database which is sent through to JNCC annually.

Seasearch is a partnership between the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), The Wildlife Trusts, statutory nature conservation bodies and others, co-ordinated nationally by MCS and co-ordinated and delivered locally in England by Wildlife Trust and MCS local co-ordinators.

Seasearch is collecting vital baseline data to support the regeneration of Sussex kelp forests through our Help Our Kelp Partnership Project. Read more about this pioneering rewilding project here. We would like to thank Infinity Foods in Brighton who have provided funding for subsidised Seasearch dives, specifically to collect the vital baseline data we need on the remaining Sussex kelp.  

Want to get involved?

In order to join Sussex Seasearch you will need:

  • an interest in marine wildlife
  • a scuba diving qualification (PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, BSAC Sports Diver or equivalent)
  • to have done at least 20 dives (10 of which should be in UK waters)
  • to be at least 18 years old

Get more from your dives...

Learn about our marine wildlife and how to record it. No prior specialist knowledge is required as training is provided.

There are 3 levels of Seasearch training available:

  • Seasearch Observer - 1 day introductory course that everyone needs to take before coming out on a Seasearch dive
  • Seasearch Surveyor - 2 day more advanced course that includes a dive
  • Special Interest courses – a range of more detailed identification courses (previous courses include fish ID and seaweed ID)

Each year we will run at least one Seasearch Observer course and generally a specialist course as well. Surveyor courses are run every few years, depending on interest.

You can find more information about training courses on the Seasearch Website or contact Ella Garrud.

Want to know more?
Here's what our volunteers have to say...

Any dive can be a Seasearch dive!

As the coordinator of Seasearch in Sussex, Sussex Wildlife Trust will organise a number of dives throughout the year for Seasearchers to join. However Seasearchers can survey on any dive they do; the Sussex Seasearch area covers anywhere east of Thorney Island in Chichester Harbour or west of Dungeness.

Seasearch forms can be downloaded from the Seasearch website. Please send your completed forms to Ella Garrud either via email or post to Sussex Wildlife Trust, Woods Mill, Henfield, BN5 9SD.

Upcoming Events

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Seasearch dives are currently cancelled. Please sign up to our mailing list below to receive the latest updates on when we will be able to recommence surveys.

  • April 15 – Kingmere MCZ dives - CANCELLED
  • April 25 - Seasearch Recorders Development Workshop - CANCELLED
    May 16  - Seasearch Observer Course - CANCELLED
  • June 19 – Beachy Head East MCZ dives - CANCELLED

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