Diving into Science

Providing opportunities for divers to get involved in scientific surveying of the South West’s seagrass beds in Looe, Plymouth, Salcombe, Torbay, Weymouth and Ringstead. Training and boat diving is provided to enable volunteer divers to help collect information on seagrass density and animal abundance among other measurements. This data will be analysed and added to annual reports to support and advise on conservation efforts. Seagrass (Zostera marina) is a threatened habitat and a feature of some MCZs so regular monitoring is important.weymouth-bay-IMG_0188-1024x764

Why get involved in ‘Diving into Science’?

  • Learn new skills in:
    • dive survey strategies
    • underwater photography
    • marine species identification
    • using a slate to record ecological information on a protected habitat
  • All training and boat or shore diving is free of charge
  • A free chance to dive off different boats in different areas in the South West
  • Up to 75 diving days per year to choose from
  • Volunteering for diving projects adds another level to your diving hobby and helps you give something back
  • You get to meet like minded people and new dive buddies
  • Learn more about your local seagrass beds
  • Invites to annual socials and events

How to sign up

  1. Adhere to the requirements of volunteer divers to ensure safe and comfortable diving procedures. All divers must:
    • hold a valid diving qualification at least PADI Advanced Open Water or equivalent
    • have at least 20 UK dives logged (quarry or sea)
    • have dived in the sea in the UK in the 6 months prior to diving with CSI
    • be able to source their own diving equipment and air (help with kit rental and air available)
    • complete a self-declaration medical (supplied by CSI- return to project officer)
    • sign a volunteer declaration form (supplied by CSI- return to project officer)
    • hold their own third party insurance such as DAN,  IDEC or included in your BSAC membership
    • sign a ‘fit to dive’ form on the day of diving
  2. Complete our online registration here
  3. Attend a shore based diver workshop in either Plymouth, Torbay or Weymouth before diving with CSI (as a group or one to one) see here for dates.
  4. Attend a shore based seagrass fauna id course in either Plymouth, Torbay or Weymouth (optional but recommended) see here for dates.
  5. Choose the dates and locations you would like to dive provided by the project officer and book in with them (if dives are noted as ‘full’, still book onto the reserve list as numbers tend to change closer to the time)
  6. ENJOY DIVING WITH CSIsalcombe-img_0071

What happens on a dive day?

Once you have signed up to a dive day, you will be emailed a week or so before to check you can still come along. Then you will be emailed the day before with a dive plan including meeting place, ropes off time, dive site etc.

Each area (Plymouth, Salcombe, Torbay, Weymouth) has different dive boats, timings, briefings etc. Full days include 2 dives, evenings 1 dive. These are a mixture of weekdays and weekends.


I haven’t dived for a while- can I still get involved?

We ask that you do a couple of UK sea dives in the couple of months leading up to the date you want to dive with csi to ensure you feel comfortable using extra kit you’re not used to.

Is there an age limit?

No, as long as the requirements can be met, anyone under the age of 18 will have to have their forms signed by a parent or guardian.

I can’t make it to any of the scheduled diver workshops. Can I still dive with csi?

No problem, we can meet with you for a one to one session before diving, whether the day before, via video conference call or on the morning.

I have to tick ‘yes’ to one of the conditions on the medical, can I still dive?

Yes, if you can get a note from your doctor to say they are happy for you to dive.

Do I need to alter any of my dive kit to dive with CSI?

No but we recommend you add 1 or 2 kgs of weight for shallow water diving. We also recommend to service your kit before diving if it hasn’t been used for a while.

I am part of a club and a few of us want to come along, is that possible?

Yes we welcome clubs to visit the areas and can provide a bespoke training session and dive day. Just ask the relevant project officer.

I am an individual diver, do I need to bring a buddy?

No. You will have the chance to buddy up with other volunteer divers.

Can I collect scallops, crabs or other edible marine life while diving?

No. All CSI dives are no take. Anyone who collects marine life for food will be asked to put it back.


For updates and info, follow us on Twitter and Facebook and join our closed CSI Divers group. Booking onto dives is essential via EMAIL not social media. Contact us for more info.

For Looe and Plymouth email mark.parry@national-aqaurium.co.uk

For Salcombe and Torbay email rachel.cole@national-aquarium.co.uk

For Weymouth and Ringstead email jessica.mead@national-aquarium.co.uk