May 29, 2022   •  
Bottlenose dolphin


Watch our two videos:

Shorewatch video How to take part in a Shorewatch

How to record your data.


Pdf downloadPlease download our information sheets on locations, sightings forms and advice for when you take part in a Shorewatch.


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Effort data entry

Watch the video below on how to record your data:

For every Shorewatch a data sheet should be filled in (regardless of whether cetaceans are sighted). A different data sheet should be used for each different Shorewatch site but multiple observers may be listed on a single data sheet.

The front of the data sheet (effort data) should be filled in on every watch; this will include the time of your watch, environmental conditions and whether you did or did not see cetaceans. Use a new row for each 10-minute Shorewatch. Each data sheet has 11 rows; enough space to record 11 shorewatches.

Effort data sheet

Filling in the effort data sheet
Before beginning the 10 minute Shorewatch you should scan the area thoroughly with your eyes for one minute to familiarize yourself with the site; to adjust to the conditions on the day and get your eyes ready to perform a Shorewatch. Record the following information on your data sheet BEFORE the watch begins:

  • Shorewatch Site –  fill in the name of the Shorewatch site you are watching from
  • Shorewatch Observer – fill in your name & initials in the first open row in the Shorewatch Effort table.
  • Date – simple but very important
  • Sea state – using your binoculars and WDC Shorewatch Seastate Key record Sea state*
  • Visibility – using your eyes only and WDC Shorewatch Visibility Key as a guide record visibility*
  • Start time – simple but very important

*Do not use half numbers

Set the interval timer to beep every minute, note the start time and get watching!

After the 10-minutes record the following information on your data sheet:

  • Cetaceans Present?  – did you see any cetaceans during the 10-minute watch? Yes (Y) or No (N). Note: If cetaceans were seen you will need to fill in additional information about the sighting on the back of the data sheet.
  • Feeding birds? – did you see any rafts of feeding birds
  • Number & type of boats– after the watch count the number of boats seen and note the type of each using the WDC Shorewatch Boat Key.
  • Notes – record any other interesting information
  • No. of people talked to – did anyone ask what you’re doing? Did you talk to anyone about Shorewatch? Whales and dolphins? Record the number of people you interacted with during the Shorewatch.
  • End time – Simple but very important.  Note: circle whether you are watching in GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) or BST (British Summer Time; from last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October)