This course is aimed at young people aged 16 and 24 years old who are interested in learning more about marine life.
Explore UK waters on our Snorkelling for Marine Biology residential. The UK’s waters are full of amazing marine life but, are often under-appreciated. This course will give you a taste of our fascinating underwater world and will qualify you as a Scuba Schools International (SSI) snorkel diver at Millport Field Centre and a British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) snorkel diver at Dale Fort Field Centre.

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Aimed at beginners, this progressive course will cover practical skills and theory sessions.
Time out of the water will be spent learning about marine habitats and species, marine conservation and current threats to our oceans. Talks will be from centre staff and guest speakers.

Please take a look at the example timetables on this page as the course content will differ slightly depending on location.

Our residentials also give you the chance to develop a range of transferable skills. These types of skills help across many areas of life and are particularly good for including in job or education applications. Here are some of the transferable skills that are likely to be covered in this residential:

  • Communicating with others
  • Working as a team
  • Managing your time
  • Taking the lead
  • Resilience
  • Reliability
  • Keeping focused
  • Problem solving
  • Decision making

This course is suitable for Duke of Edinburgh Award Gold residential. Always check with your leader before booking.

We want to ensure participants get to share in their experience with those of a similar age. Please consider what age the attendee will be on the course date you choose and check they fit in the age category for that date when booking. (Please see each individual course at the bottom of this page for age ranges) 

If the attendee is under 18, the booking must be made by a parent/guardian. When you book, it is essential that you enter the age and attendees name in the Order Notes at the checkout.

When attending the residential dates which welcome 16-18 year olds, all participants will be expected to follow the behaviour and conduct rules which will be in place to safeguard young people.

If these course dates do not suit you, we run similar courses at many of our other centres.

Marine Biological Association Membership

Field Studies Council has partnered with The Marine Biological Association (MBA) to offer participants attending our snorkelling for marine biology course at Dale Fort Field Centre a free years membership to the MBA.*

The MBA is one of the world’s longest-running societies dedicated to promoting research into our oceans and the life they support.  The MBA is the voice of Marine Biology and supports Marine Biologists throughout their journey, from those just starting out, to professionals and those who are leading the way forward in this dynamic field.

* All members will gain access to The Marine Biologist Magazine, have the opportunity to attend events and talks both in person and online, discounts and much more. Excludes residentials taking place at Millport Field Centre.  For full details visit Our Membership | Marine Biological Association.  

The category of membership will be determined by individual circumstances, existing members will get a year added to their subscription.

Are you looking to complete your gold Duke of Edinburgh Award? Do you want to explore possible career paths? Or do you want to expand your knowledge of nature and the natural world? Discover our range of opportunities for young people.

  • Children jumping on a beach
  • Sea life under water
  • People looking out at sea with binoculars

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

Our Snorkelling for Marine Biology course take place at Dale Fort and Millport Field Centres. They vary from 5 to 6 day courses. Wildlife availability, weather, location and season can affect activities which is why these are example timetables.

Millport Field Centre

Day 1
Arrive-before 12:00
Welcome to the Centre and Introduction to snorkelling equipment, get kitted out with wetsuits and masks. The first snorkel session will be at SSI Kames Bay, a short walk away from the field centre. This first snorkel is a chance to get used to the water, and check equipment all fits correctly we observe hermit crabs, plaice & Co. in their natural habitat.

Day 2
The second snorkel session aims to improve comfort in the water and buoyancy. We do this at White Bay, a site great for sea urchins, starfish, dogfish, and a good chance a seal is visiting the group.  During the day there will be a lecture on sandy and rocky shore ecosystems, and a bit more theory on snorkelling techniques.  In the afternoon snorkel session, we focus more on surveying and start to collect data. This is planned at Sheriff’s Bay – a diverse area with rocky outcrops, small sandy beaches, and kelp. Fantastic views of the Isle of Arran and Bute are guaranteed.

Day 3
The morning session is planned at the Wishing Well, another location of rich biodiversity due to rock terraces under water. We fine-tune buoyancy and surveying skills. Beyond that, you learn how to collect marine plankton samples and practice microscopy skills to identify the different species. The afternoon session is quite different, we snorkel from the RV Actinia focussing of safety and team-building.

Day 4
Using all of your knowledge and skills, you will help plan and lead your own guided snorkel session. This will be a full day out at and around the beautiful SSI Ballochmartin Bay. This site is again very different, as it is a mud field and therefore, we can complete our marine habitat surveys after having seen rocky and sandy shore.
Alternative destinations will be discussed during the week with regard to weather, tides, and currents.

Day 5
A final morning snorkel session at a location of the groups choice, it could be a site they haven’t been before, or you want to return. For example, a snorkel to the Eileans in Millport Bay is an option.
After lunch there will be a review of the course and presentation of certificates. There will be a talk on how to further your marine interests, education, or careers.

Depart 3pm

Dale Fort Field Centre

Day 1
Arrival 4pm
Welcome to the Centre and Introduction.
Meet the other participants and hear more on what to expect over the next few days.

Day 2
BSAC theory lesson 1 – Our BSAC Centre and snorkel diver training.
BSAC theory lesson 2 – Snorkeling equipment and signals.
Talk on rocky shore ecosystems.
BSAC Practical Lessons 1 and 2  - Snorkel session at Castle Beach, a sandy and rocky bay next door to the field centre followed by a talk by a guest speaker in the evening.

Day 3
BSAC Theory Lesson 3 – Snorkeling science.
Investigating the crab populations around Dale Pontoon and Plankton sampling.
BSAC Practical Lesson 3 - A snorkel session at St. Brides, a sheltered bay with rocky platforms and sandy followed by a talk on plankton in the evening with time in lab to view samples with the microscopes.

Day 4
BSAC Practical Lessons 5 and 6 - Snorkel session at Martins Haven.
Coastal walk spotting seabirds, seals and cetaceans.
BSAC Practical Lesson 4 - Snorkel session around the local pontoon/jetty, practicing entry techniques.
Followed by a film/quiz night.

Day 5
Skills review and using all of your knowledge and skills gained from the last few days, you will help plan and lead your own guided snorkel session.
A long lunch at Broad Haven with beach games.
A further skills review on leading a snorkel session at St Brides Bay followed by an evening campfire.

Day 6
Review of the course and presentation of certificates. A talk on opportunities that can further your interests in the marine environment.

Depart 12pm

Important: All locations might change slightly due to weather conditions; however, the curriculum will be followed.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport
  • Lunch
  • Expert guidance by fully trained Field Studies Council staff
  • Rigorous health and safety procedures including 24-hour emergency cover
  • Full board accommodation including a cooked breakfast, lunch,  and an evening meal
  • All activities and transport during the course

Before You Attend

A full kit list will be sent to you prior to the course.

This residential is only open to young people who will be aged 16 or 24 years old at the time of attending.   

We want to ensure participants get to share in their experience with those of a similar age. Please consider what age the attendee will be on the course date you choose and check they fit in the age category for that date when booking. (Please see each individual course at the bottom of this page for age ranges)

If the attendee is under 18, the booking must be made by a parent/guardian. When you book, it is essential that you enter the age and attendees name in the Order Notes at the checkout.

When attending the residential dates which welcome 16-18 year olds, all participants will be expected to follow the behaviour and conduct rules which will be in place to safeguard young people.

Opportunities to attend this course

  • Mon 08, July 2024 12:00 - Fri 12, July 2024 15:00

    This residential is only open to young people who will be aged 16 - 18 years old at the time of attending. Please note, that this course at Millport does not include MBA (Marine Biological Association) membership.

    Location
    Millport
    Region
    Scotland
    Price
    £596.00
    Tutor
    Field Studies Council Staff
  • Wed 14, August 2024 16:00 - Mon 19, August 2024 12:00

    This residential is only open to young people who will be aged 16 or 17 years old at the time of attending.   

    Location
    Dale Fort
    Region
    Wales
    Price
    £596.00
    Tutor
    Field Studies Council Staff
    Pay a deposit of £100.00 per item
  • Mon 19, August 2024 12:00 - Fri 23, August 2024 15:00

    This residential is only open to young people who will be aged 18 or 24 years old at the time of attending. Please note, that this course at Millport does not include MBA (Marine Biological Association) membership.

    Location
    Millport
    Region
    Scotland
    Price
    £596.00
    Tutor
    Field Studies Council Staff
    Pay a deposit of £100.00 per item