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.
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.
Seasearch volunteers completing their forms after their dives.
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.