Marine Survey Skills

Join us on board M/V Bold Ranger with Marine Biologist, Rona McCann, for an opportunity to gain experience and develop skills in marine science while contributing to current research and national marine data archives.

Based in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, you will be trained to collect data from the Sea of the Hebrides, which is relatively data deficient, despite being recognised as an important area for marine wildlife.

This is a perfect chance for aspiring marine biologists to gain practical field skills and build extra-curricular knowledge, helping to build a CV or Personal Statement and stand out in the competitive field of Marine Biology.

3 nights
Dates Available


We meet aboard M/V Bold Ranger at 4pm in Dunstaffnage Marina for a cruise up the Sound of Mull to Tobermory, where you will be shown to your accommodation. The evening is then yours to enjoy as you please. The following two days will involve a mixture of time ashore and at sea, exploring a selection of the following topics:

Megafauna & Seabird ID

Native marine species identification will be covered by recording sightings, looking at distinguishing features and ecology of frequently seen species including bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, harbour porpoise, minke whales, basking sharks, white tailed eagles, fulmars, gannets, puffins, harbour and grey seals.

Marine Plankton ID

The main groups of marine plankton and their role in the marine ecosystem will be covered, as well as collection techniques and microscopy as students will be trained how to conduct and analyse plankton trawls on board Bold Ranger.

Intertidal Species

Plant and animals species found both on rocky and sandy shore intertidal ecosystems will be examined by conducting surveys to gain an understanding of tidal patterns, seaweed zonation & animal adaptations to intertidal life.

Environmental Management

The Sea of the Hebrides is a productive marine ecosystem making it rich in wildlife and a significant resource to the Scottish economy. As such, an understanding of how both wildlife and humans use the area is key to managing it. Students will visit salmon and mussel farms to gain an understanding of the importance of these industries to local communities.

Physical Oceanography & Habitat Mapping

Understanding the physical ocean environment is integral to understanding the ecology of species found living within it. Through collecting data on temperature, depth, substrate and tide speed along with our geographic location, we can create a habitat map which can then be associated with the species recorded during the field trip. Impacts of climate change will be studied using programs such as ArcGIS allowing us to access historical data, compare it with our findings and identify trends.

Professional Development in Marine Biology

CV building and the importance of scientific design will be focused on in order to produce informative reports, contribute to national databases and current marine research. Through attending this field trip, you will be directly contributing to the following on-going projects with Sea Wild Scotland:

  • Basking shark population dynamics
  • Sea of the Hebrides Habitat Map
  • Basking shark behaviour & wildlife watching codes
  • Sea of the Hebrides Marine Data Archive

On the final day we board M/V Bold Ranger at 8:30am to return to Dunstaffnage, arriving by 11am.

Shown above is a typical itinerary for this field course.
This can be subject to change, due to weather, wildlife or other considerations.


What's Included

  • Two full days introducing and developing skills in marine science
  • Accommodation in a modern, self-catered house in Tobermory for 3 nights
  • Light breakfast and lunch when aboard M/V Bold Ranger (vegetarians catered for)
  • Transfers between Dunstaffnage Marina (near Oban) and Tobermory
Not Included
  • Evening meals
  • Breakfast and lunch if not at sea
  • Travel to the meeting point at Dunstaffnage Marina (near Oban)



Sea Wild Scotland
Dunstaffnage Marina
PA37 1PX

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Terms & Conditions


Sea Wild Scotland (SWS) will not consider a reservation to have been made until a 50% deposit has been received. Any person who make a booking for, or on behalf of, any other person or group of persons warrants and confirms that they have the authority of each such person to accept these conditions and agree to be bound by these conditions.


SWS reserves the right to alter and programme advertised on this website in any way as they consider necessary or desirable, as a reult of adverse weather or any ofher circumstances. Also, if SWS experiences any major changes in cost between the time of booking and the time of departure, they reserve the right to change the prices in accordance with any such change.

Loss or Damage

SWS gives notice that all arrangements are made on the express condition that they will not be liable for any loss, damage, delay, irregularity, injury or death whatsoever which may arise or be caused either by reason of any defect in vessels or vehicles, through default of any company or persons engaged in conveying passengers or in carrying out the arrangements of the cruise(s) or otherwise in connection therewith: or of any servant or employee or for any failure on the part of SWS or agent to provide any of the facilities normally available of for any other reason. In addition SWS does not accept any responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delays in changes in air, rail, road, sea or services, strikes, war, weather or any other cause.


If, owing to circumstances beyond its control, SWS is unable to provide the vessel or cruise booked or suitable alternative SWS will refund any monies paid to it in full and the candidate shall have no further claim against SWS in respect of this.

A passenger who fails to attend a cruise will forfeit the fee if the reservation had not been cancelled at least 30 days in advance of the commencement of the cruise. The fee will be refunded, or an alternative place on a later cruise offered, if a cancellation is received in sufficient time for the place to be offered to another passenger.


All decisions regarding the safety of the vessel, its tender and all those on board rest ultimately with the Skipper. The Skipper or SWS may (notwithstanding any booking previously made) refuse to carry any passenger or any luggage on any passage for any reason relating to the safety of the vessel or the passenger or any of the other property on board the vessel. If such circumstances should arise, the candidate shall not be entitled to, nor shall he/she receive, any compensation or payment whatsoever except that if a passenger is refused carriage on any cruise SWS shall refund to that passenger any fare paid to SWS in respect of that cruise.

Insurance Cover

The vessel carries full Marine Insurance for physical injury or accident to any passenger while on board the vessel. SWS is covered up to £3,000,000 in respect of any one incident.

Private Property

Whilst the vessels operated by SWS are covered by full Marine Insurance for bodily injury or accident to any passenger, SWS does not accept responsibility for loss or damage to passengers' personal effects, property or valuables whilst on board the vessel or in transit. We would therefore recommend you check your own insurance cover or take out a separate policy to cover the duration of your cruise.

Supply of Equipment

If any of the SWS equipment, which is used aboard by passengers, is lost or damaged then the passenger/charterer shall be responsible for the repair or replacement thereof.

Misuse of Drugs

Drugs or other unlawful substances are prohibited on board the vessel at all times and SWS shall not be liable or respobsible for any breach of this condition by any passenger.

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Any legal action or proceedings arising out of or in connection with, this contract shall be governed by the Laws of Scotland.

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