Divers at Dive Project Cornwall, Jake Tims

Registration has now opened for a unique and exciting competition run by Dive Project Cornwall for secondary students to win a once-in-a-lifetime experience

The competition

Dive Project Cornwall is giving 20 students from 20 secondary schools across the UK the chance to visit the Cornish coastline and learn to dive, discovering the ocean on our doorstep like never before.

These 400 lucky teenagers will achieve their PADI Open Water Diver certification, as well as taking part in an exciting educational programme, led by us, starting in the classroom and finishing on the beach.

Students will explore our colourful marine and coastal environments, gathering and analysing data through our citizen science projects.

Read on to find out more about the competition and how to register your school today.

Student divers, Dive Project Cornwall - Jake Tims

Credit: Jake Tims

How does it work?

Any UK secondary school can register until 31st March 2022.

A panel of 7 judges - made up of key figures from Cornwall and the dive industry - will meet on 4th April to create a criteria to shortlist the schools.

The shortlisted schools will then be asked to complete three activities and submit their competition entries before 30th May:

  1. Design and make a marine creature from single-use plastic. Don't forget to take lots of pictures and send them in!  
  2. Film a short 2-minute video on why your school should/want to win the competition 
  3. Write a 500-word essay on why we should all protect the ocean. Check out our ocean pollution pages for inspiration.

The judges will meet again on 30th May to judge the entries and choose 20 winners, with one chosen from each area of the UK.

The winning schools will be informed immediately and the first dive week will start in September 2022.

Horseman Anemone Loch Fyne Scotland James Lynott

Credit: James Lynott

Get inspired

We've developed a curriculum-linked Biodiversity lesson especially for the project. Download the lesson plan below to inspire, engage and enthuse your 14-16 years pupils and get them motivated to take part in the project.

Classroom to coastline

As part of the Dive Project Cornwall experience, we'll be running an action-packed day of educational activities at each dive week.

We'll be taking students from the classroom to the coastline, exploring the Cornish landscape and marine environment through engaging citizen science projects. Read on to find out more about the kinds of activities you could expect from our marine education day.



drop in plastic bags found on UK beaches since 5p charge was introduced

Citizen science

From plastic bag charges to banning microplastics in personal care products, our litter data collected on UK beaches has helped to make some of the biggest impacts on beach litter ever.

We're excited to be running a beach clean for the competition winners and sharing this important citizen science experience with each group.

Our Education Officer will lead the clean, where students will collect and record the litter items they find in a 100m section of beach. The data collected will then be entered into our national Beachwatch database.

This data is used as evidence to support our campaigns and lobby governments for change. Every lolly stick, lost toy, or piece of plastic is recorded, and helps us track litter back to its source.

Volunteers at the Great British Beach Clean on Hove BeachBilly Barraclough

Credit: Billy Barraclough

Coastal ecology

Our coastal landscape is varied, colourful and fascinating. As part of our day of activities, we'll take groups out on a coastal walk to point out key habitats like beaches, cliffs, rockpools, rocky reefs and kelp beds. We might even spot seabirds, cetaceans, coastal plants and insects.

On the walk, we'll explore topics like sustainable seafood, blue health and wellbeing, and discuss threats to the health of our ocean like sea level rise, tourism, overfishing, warming seas, and marine litter. Students can then relax on the beach and enjoy the landscape.

Big Seaweed Search

Seaweeds play a major role in marine ecosystems, and they also importantly help mitigate the effects of climate change and store blue carbon.

After the coastal walk, we'll run a Big Seaweed Search survey for students to help record the distribution and health of UK seaweed species.


Credit: Aled Llywelyn

Powerful plankton

Plankton is at the base of the marine food chain, and is vital to life in the ocean.

An exciting way to study plankton - and something that students might not have done before - is to examine these tiny organisms under a microscope.

First, we'll discuss the vital importance of plankton and look at different survey techniques. Then, students will have a go at plankton sampling using the throwing and pulling method. Finally, we'll move on to processing the samples collected and analysing them at the beach, before returning everything to the water.

Did you know?

Fish don't make Omega-3 themselves - it's made by plankton. Forage fish, like herring and sardines, eat lots of plankton and the Omega-3 builds up in their bodies through a process called bioaccumulation.

Sponge crab Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds MCZ, Norfolk, Samantha Bean.jpg

Credit: Samantha Bean

Register today

Interested? Registration is now open for UK secondary schools to take part and become ocean influencers of the future.

Only registrations from UK secondary schools will be accepted. If you're a parent or student wishing to take part, please let your school know about the project and encourage them to sign up.

Go to the Dive Project Cornwall website to register your school by 31st March and keep up-to-date with all the competition details over the coming weeks.

Good luck!

Learning to dive, Dive Project Cornwall - Jake Tims

Credit: Jake Tims

Co-funded by the European Union.

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