An eLearning course called Shore Surveyor might interest especially younger members of divers’ families. It is the result of a partnership between the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) and Scottish environmental charity Seawilding.
The new course aims to engage people aged eight and above in marine-life issues, says the club, and is not restricted to those with BSAC links.
Seawilding is described as the UK’s first community-led native oyster and seagrass restoration project, with the Shore Surveyor course providing skills needed to identify and record such seashore habitats.
It also ties in with Operation Oyster, a BSAC marine project designed to protect and restore native oyster habitats. Both these and UK seagrass habitats have suffered an estimated 95% reduction in populations over the past 200 years.
After completing the course, participants are encouraged to act as citizen scientists and locate and record areas of seashore with current or potential native oyster or seagrass populations. Their data feeds into the National Marine Records Database, for use with existing scientific studies and future underwater surveys.
“Our seas are in peril, and it’s so important to engage families and especially young people in the wonders of the sea and to engage them in marine conservation,” commented Seawilding CEO Danny Renton. “The Shore Surveyor course is the first step to get involved in initiatives like seagrass and native oyster restoration and to nurture a new generation of ocean activists, environmentalists and marine biologists.”
BSAC is keen for more young people to become actively involved in marine-life protection, says chief executive Mary Tetley. “From a family visit to the beach to a club diving or snorkelling trip, the skills learned on Shore Surveyor can be invaluable to anyone, young or not so young, who wants to make a difference to our under-pressure marine life.”
“I loved it because it was simple and easy to use and remember,” said one of the first course participants, 16-year-old Lili from north Wales. “All ages will enjoy it – young children, teenagers, parents, even grandparents. There is a bit of e-learning to do before you start but that is easy to do, and the course really helps you when you go out and see everything for real on the beach!”
The Shore Surveyor eLearning course costs £20. BSAC says it is developing a follow-on Underwater Surveyor course for scuba divers and snorkellers for launch in 2023.