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Sea Search

The Sea Search program is a great way to learn and explore the marine environment while collecting important information on its health and condition. The information collected by Sea Searchers aids the management of marine parks.

There are a range of activities to suit all experience levels. Sea Search activities occur both on shore and in the water.

Forget the tropics, over 85% of the animals and plants found in Victoria are found only on the Southern Australian coastline. Become a Sea Searcher today and discover a world like no other.

Get involved

Sea Search can only be undertaken with the permission and supervision of a Parks Victoria Park Ranger (permits are required to do surveys in all marine national parks and marine sanctuaries). Individuals, schools and groups who would like to get involved please contact us for more information:

Phone: 13 1963

Sea Search Manual

The new Sea Search Manual is a guide to a wide range of monitoring activities, all of which contribute to collecting useful information for improving the understanding of park values and threats, and assessing the benefits of management activities.

The manual includes all the new Sea Search methods detailed on this page. These have been designed to better provide for community interests through describing activities with a range of difficulty to cater for differing skill levels, while also improving the quality and usefulness of the information gathered to inform management of these areas.

We look forward to having this guide and other supporting tools, including a new Sea Search data base and training videos in development, well-used over the coming 12 months as we continue to build opportunities for effective citizen science within our marine protected areas.

Summary of methods

The broad range of Sea Search activities where volunteers can get involved are outlined below with links to relevant summaries and supporting materials. The easy methods can be used in any park, while the moderate and difficult intertidal reef and seagrass methods can only be used in parks with these habitats.

Beginners are best to start with the easy methods and work their way up.

Datasheets and further information can also be obtained from the local ranger.

Easy methods

Easy methods can be used separately or together, or in conjunction with moderate and/or difficult methods.

Moderate Methods

Moderate methods can be used in conjunction with easy and / or difficult methods

Rocky Intertidal specific

Seagrass specific

Quantifying condition- rapid

Small sites Large sites

Boundary Monitoring

Small sites Large sites

Difficult Methods

Difficult methods can be used in conjunction with easy methods. If these methods are used, they should be used in with the relevant moderate methods for the matching habitat (e.g. intertidal reefs)

Rocky Intertidal specific

Seagrass specific

Quantifying condition- detailed

Small sites Large sites

General data sheets for all methods


Sea Search is a community-based monitoring program for the marine national parks and sanctuaries.

The program was initiated in 2005 and involved use of scientifically rigorous methods developed in partnership with Deakin University. Following feedback from volunteers the program was reviewed and updated in 2012 to provide a wider range of activities for volunteers, improve the quality of monitoring data and to allow better integration of information into management of the parks.

The new Sea Search program includes a range of fun activities for people of all ages and abilities to collect valuable information for management of the marine parks. People can get involved in surveys of intertidal rocky reef surveys, seagrass meadows, track change using fixed point photos, create image libraries for the species in their park or go on a Sea Search patrol.

Volunteers work with their local Parks Victoria ranger to determine what information is needed for park management and what monitoring method is most suitable for gathering the data. Depending on availability and expertise, volunteers can select easy, moderate or hard monitoring tasks to achieve this.

There are a number of other monitoring programs involving volunteers that operate across the state.

Other programs

  • Reef Watch Victoria - Subtidal Reef programs for snorkellers and divers
  • Coastcare Victoria - Summer by the Sea a statewide annual program with a range of activities
  • BirdLife Australia - A great range of projects for bird enthusiasts
  • Redmap - A program focused on recording the arrival of warmer water species that are shifting or extending their usual habitat range
  • Reef Life Survey - Subtidal reef surveys for the most experienced diver and naturalist