BSAC Marine Conservation Course
As divers, we are in the prime position to help our reefs remain the paradise they are today. The BSAC Marine Conservation course educates divers in marine biology and ecology and explains some of the problems affecting the reefs, with no prior biology background required. As an observational sport, knowing a little more about what you see underwater and improving your buoyancy skills and air consumption will help make every dive count. Unlike other ecological dive courses, this course also includes practical conservation skill development, so that divers can contribute to ongoing reef monitoring projects.
This course is not a guide to fish recognition, instead it will guide you around the structure of our oceans from their chemistry to plate tectonics. You will learn about food chains, the variety of habitats and species. Ecology principles are elaborated and the vital coral reefs get special treatment.
The course begins with a detailed description of buoyancy problems, diagnosis and control, with the aim to improve diver buoyancy and awareness underwater.
The theory continues into basic oceanography, introducing the physical and chemical composition of the world’s ocean and its sensitivity to change, and detailing the restrictions for life distribution and how energy flows throughout the oceans.
Next, the theory becomes more specific to coral reef anatomy and biology and processes which occur on a reef, including the distribution and zonation of a reef. This section trains divers beyond marine identification, educating them on organism behaviours and relationships. As a result students will be able to not only identify marine creatures, but appreciate the complexity and integration necessary for a functioning healthy reef.
Despite being a rather negative section, the next lesson describes the declining state of global reefs. Reefs are fragile ecosystems, and many students will be amazed at the variety and intensity of reef degradation.
Following this lesson, the course looks into how divers can help. This includes current conservation techniques, with descriptions of current research from international scientists, and how to conduct underwater conservation, from coral nursery construction to reef health monitoring surveys. This section is exclusive to the BSAC Marine Conservation specialty and provides easy guidelines for any diver to contribute reef conservation, which is essential for the preservation of our reefs.
The theory lessons are examined with a 25 multiple choice exam, and a 25 picture identification test.
This course includes 5 essential and 2 optional practical lessons.
Initially, if divers would like to practice the buoyancy skills learnt in the first theory lesson, 2 optional buoyancy dives can be completed. At the end of the workshop, students will qualify for an extra buoyancy achievement certification.
The next two dives will be a chance to practice identification skills and behavioural analysis. Following these dives, a night dive is done to emphasize the variety of life, behaviours and habitat.
The last two dives are a chance to practice the conservation skills learnt, and vary depending on the needs of the local reef. A survey can be conducted, or perhaps a nursery built. Whatever conservation skills are involved, the opportunity for practical conservation is a unique element offered by this course.
BSAC Marine Conservation Course has been endorsed by Coral Cay Conservation