Environmental Protection & Scientific Diving

Underwater diving services

Scientific Diving Services

We provide diving and marine support for the scientific diving industry and services for environmental monitoring. This often involves pre and post-construction surveys and monitoring to meet resource consent conditions.

  • Beach & Shark Nets services – Nets & Swim Enclosures – The nets are set adjacent to the shoreline according to the prevailing tides and currents. Their distance from shore is determined by topographical features of the area and sea conditions. Equipment is usually placed far enough offshore to prevent human and shark interaction.

Our Environmentally Friendly services include high-pressure cleaning, removal of all fishing equipment or any other entanglement and repairs.

  • Sea and lake bed sampling and profiling.
  • Water temperature and millimeter accuracy water depth and level monitoring including live time data streaming.
  • Water flow and tidal monitoring.
  • Water sampling and analysis.
  • Photographic and video surveys.
  • Underwater Research Group – We support the URG dive club which was established in 1955 and boasts a significant history, particularly in the area of underwater research. Most of the URG members are experienced scuba divers however, anyone with an Open Water Certification and access to scuba equipment is welcome to join. We pride ourselves on a 100% safety record and ensure we mentor new divers. Our members are interested in a range of underwater activities, including marine biology, underwater photography/videography, conservation and citizen science. We also organise a few interstate and overseas dive trips a year.

Return and Earn – To support all of our projects we have started an initiative with myTomra and re-Collect, where the club collects drinking containers from business and/or residential premises and are cashed in at the value of 0.10c per item.  With some of the funds collected, we can provide our volunteers with airfills, coffee and meals when they dive to collect rubbish and debris from our waterways.

  • Grey Nurse Shark  ( Spot a Shark ) spotashark.com.au – In collaboration with Spot a Shark Incorporated, a citizen-science program that engages anyone who spends time with Grey Nurse Sharks in the water and can assist the research along the East Australian coast. Photographs of encounters with Grey Nurse sharks are posted to the Spot A Shark website.

Scientists then use unique spot patterns visible along the sides of the photographed sharks to identify individual animals. Identifying individual Grey Nurse sharks helps track shark movement, monitor the overall health of the population, and help monitor behaviour and changes at local aggregation sites over time. This information is used by Spot A Shark researchers, as well as international partners, to facilitate management decisions aimed towards conserving our Critically Endangered population of Grey Nurse sharks. By supporting this project, you are helping researchers gather valuable data, which may help provide long-term protection for the Grey Nurse sharks and their habitats.

  • Reef life Survey – URG has several members who are certified for Reef Life Surveys. These are the most challenging, but also the most rewarding surveys that you can do as a citizen scientist. They follow a strict protocol, gathering fish and invertebrate data over a 50 m transect. Divers identify species, abundance and size class for every fish and most invertebrates in the transect. Every time you do a reef life survey you learn new species, behaviours or relationships in the ecosystem.

Best of all, the data is gathered in a large global database that is used by scientists to analyse the health of our marine ecosystems and has contributed to several high-profile scientific papers.

  • Sydney Sea Slug Census – Each year URG together with Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre host the Sydney Sea Slug Census. Like the Weedy Seadragon program, this involves going diving and photographing cool things – but much smaller!

Environmental Protection

  • Clean the ocean floor in Sydney Harbour – We have been diving the harbour for years and we are sick of the amount of rubbish we encounter in the ocean.

Since making a New Year’s resolution to collect what garbage we see while on the water on every job, we hauled in bags of filth per week. We have even found an entire wheelie bin on the sea floor.

The harbour, years ago, was littered with trash, particularly around the bays and beaches where boat users frequented. Thanks to people’s awareness and Marine Authorities, things started to get heaps better. We want people to work together to keep the ocean clean instead of polluting it.

We not only work with volunteers, divers, swimmers, beachgoers, councils and water authorities.

  • Marine Debris Program – The URG club is engaged in community projects such as beach clean ups and participating in events with our partners Take 3 for the Sea such as the Bondi Ocean Lovers Festival in April and the upcoming CEO clean. We also work closely together with local councils Mosman and Woollahra, where we have kicked off the Look After Your Tackle program in conjunction with Tangaroa Blue and the recreational fishing trust.

             LOOK AFTER YOUR TACKLE – These specially designed bins are installed with local council collaboration at popular land-based fishing locations to keep tackle safely secured and allow it to be disposed of properly, as well as increase awareness of the need for safe disposal.

Removing the hazard of unwanted tackle from waterways and preventing wildlife from ingesting and entanglements. Items collected by the bins are cleared out by volunteers, and these items are sorted and where possible recycled, the data from the sorted items are then submitted to both relevant councils where bins are located and the Tangaroa Blue Foundation marine debris database

Past Projects

1. DRAGONS OF SYDNEY – CITIZEN SCIENCE PROGRAM

The Dragons of Sydney Program is a collaboration between scientists from UTS, volunteer divers from URG NSW and supporting organisations. Being involved in this program is easy – you just have to find and photograph weedy seadragons! Our data then contributes to tracking these unique animals and supporting efforts to conserve them.

2. NORTH HARBOUR AQUATIC RESERVE

In 2002, the Club was awarded a grant to conduct a biodiversity study in Sydney Habour’s northern aquatic reserve. The URG had completed a similar study in the Port Hacking Estuary. This study is different from our past research, in that we have additional research objectives to locate and assist in the eradication of the invasive algae “Caulerpa Taxifolia”

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Underwater Dive Services