Reef Check California Training Course Details


Your Training Fee pays a portion of the cost of your two weekend course, which includes:

• Yearly Membership to Reef Check Foundation______________________________________________$25
• Reef Check California Instruction Manual___________________________________________________$30
• Reef Check California Indicator Organism Flashcards______________________________________$30
• Pool practice session _______________________________________________________________________$35
• Two 3-dive days of field training aboard dive charters _____________________________________$220
• Your own custom underwater dive slate, transect tape, and measuring calipers__________$50
• Two full weekend course taught by a marine biologist______________________________________$200
• Knowledge that you are directly helping to preserve CA marine resources______________ +PRICELESS
= $590

Instead of $590 you pay $200-$300 depending on if your field training is from shore, an overnight boat trip, or day boat trips.

Why does the course cost so little?

RCCA invests this time and money in each of our volunteers because we have found citizen-science to be the answer to the call for the large amount of sound scientific information needed to get a broad and long-term picture of the state of the rocky reefs of California. We also believe that a better informed community of ocean users will make better decisions and actively support sustainable marine management.

Our volunteers invest their own time and money in the training and subsequent surveys because they are provided the opportunity to make a direct impact on ocean conservation by helping to inform marine management decisions with the data collected. They learn a great deal about the local marine environment in an enjoyable and interactive setting. To learn more about what our divers get out of being a part of Reef Check, please check out this web page:

The majority of training and survey costs are subsidized by generous member support, as well as aggressive fundraising by the organizational staff. As you can see, RCCA invests a significant amount of resources into each volunteer in the hopes that each person who is trained will be an active member of the RCCA Team and complete several surveys each year after they complete their training.

To become a certified Reef Check California volunteer you must:

• Show proficient diving safety, navigation, and buoyancy skills
• Pass knowledge review test with a score of 85% or higher (take home)
• Pass timed species ID tests (Seaweed, Invertebrate, and Fishes) with scores of 85% or higher
• Pass field evaluations with small margin of error for each type of transect*

*Note: It is possible to become certified for some types of transects while other types will need to be practiced throughout the sampling season until proficiency is reached. Transect types: Seaweed, Invertebrate, Fish, and Substrate Description (UPC)

Reef Check California Diver Training Schedule

Classroom Portion- Saturday and Sunday classroom and pool sessions from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm each day

9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Lectures: Introduction to Reef Check, Threats to Marine Ecosystems, California MPAs, Ecology, Sampling Methodology, Intro to Scientific Diving, Invertebrates Transect, Fish Transect, Fish and Invertebrate Identification.

9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Meet at pool with dive gear for exercises in sampling gear deployment and mock organism counts.

1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Lectures: Kelp Transect and Identification, Substrate Characterization (UPC), and Overview of Reef Check Sampling, Species ID testing

Field Portion- the following Saturday and Sunday aboard dive charters

Saturday: 3 dives to PRACTICE Kelp, Invertebrate, and UPC transects
Sunday: 3 dives to be EVALUATED on Kelp, Invertebrate and UPC transects. Practice Fish ID and sizing