The WiSe Scheme
The UK's national training scheme for minimising disturbance to marine wildlife
The waters around the UK are home to a fantastic variety of marine wildlife, whether visible from the shore or from a boat. However, these wild animals are vulnerable to disturbance if not encountered in a manner that respects their wild nature.
The WiSe Scheme is about watching marine wildlife the wildlife-safe way.
Our aim is to promote responsible wildlife-watching, through training, accreditation and raising awareness. The WiSe Scheme is a simple modular training course aimed primarily at wildlife cruise operators, dive and service boats and yacht skippers. These people are most likely to come into contact with marine wildlife, as they are out on the water on a regular basis. But we also seek to educate the general public who are keen to minimise their impact whilst out on or near the water.
Find out more: what is the WiSe Scheme?
If you are looking for a WiSe operator for your next boat trip, see our listings of trained people, sorted by Region.
All training courses are currently on hold due to COVID-19.
As future courses are scheduled these will be listed below - see WiSe Course details.
What is The WiSe Scheme?
We enhance people's understanding on how to avoid disturbing wildlife.
The WiSe Scheme seeks to minimise unintentional disturbance through
delivering training/accreditation to operators of registered passenger and charter vessels who wish to view marine wildlife responsibily
working with operators of service and support boats that may interact with marine wildlife, and
liaising with key conservation agencies and organisations to offer advice and guidance.
Over 1000 operators/marine professionals have now attended one or more of our WiSe courses, designed to ensure a solid understanding of how best to approach and interact with marine wildlife species, and focus on ways they can help minimise any unintentional disturbance from their activities on, in or near the water.
WiSe has developed Codes of Conduct to promote safe and sustainable watching our our basking sharks, whales, dolphins, seals and seabirds. All WiSe trained individuals have agreed to abide by the appropriate Codes for the wildlife they encounter.
There are three levels of WiSe Scheme training, summarised below:
The Standard WiSe Course
This course level is the WiSe Scheme professional standard, is classroom-based, and lasts 4-6hrs.
WiSe members commit to abide by not only national and local laws on wildlife conservation and disturbance avoidance, but also the WiSe Codes of Conduct, in addition to any local wildlife-watching codes.
We recommend that after 3 years, all accredited individuals at this level then undertake a Master course to upgrade their level of membership.
A WiSe Scheme boat-sticker, flag and logo are provided for promotional use, along with copies of all Codes of Conduct.
The Master WiSe course
This is the WiSe Scheme professional standard 'Plus' - our gold-standard level of membership.
Generally, an individual is eligible for WiSe Master accreditation if they have been a standard WiSe member for 3yrs and have attended a Master Class course - this is a one day workshop to refresh skills and gain new knowledge.
WiSe Masters commit not only to the WiSe Codes of Conduct and local codes, but also to provide sightings data to the relevant sightings collection organisation, plus provide photo-identification images to research groups where appropriate. WiSe Masters should refresh their skills by attending follow-up Master classes when held in their area.
The WiSe Master boat-sticker, flag and logo are provided for promotional uses, and any updates to Codes of Conduct.
Public or Affiliate WiSe course
This is a short course/talk intended for anyone interested in minimising their disturbance on marine wildlife whilst on or near the water. This has included students, marine guides, wildlife rescuers, sailing club members, etc.
There is no requirement for a refresher course, as there is no accreditation. But the talks usually pull a good crowd and we're told they're both informative and interesting!
Watch the two short videos below to get an introduction to watching wildlife the WiSe way.
Looking for WiSe trained Operators?
Find a responsible Boat Operator or Tour Operator when choosing your boat or coastal trip.
To find your nearest WiSe Operator, download the Operator listing (pdf) below for the region you're interested in.
If you're local Operator isn't on the list, please tell them about the WiSe Scheme so they can get trained and listed.
Want to attend a WiSe Course to become WiSe trained or learn more?
Watch the videos below to get an introduction to watching wildlife the WiSe way.
We are planning courses across the country for Spring 2020, including one of our popular Master courses.
Spring 2020 course dates and venues include:
Standard course - Teignmouth, Devon - Jan 24th
Standard course - Inverness, Scotland - March 1st
Standard course - Fort William, Scotland - March 6th
Master course* - Fort William, Scotland - March 7th *
Standard course (adventure sports) - Dunbar, Scotland - March 12th
Standard course** - St. Ives, Cornwall - March 18th - now postponed **
Standard course** - Flamborough, Yorkshire - March 21st - now postponed **
Standard course** - New Quay, West Wales - March 28th - now postponed **
Standard course** - Strangford, Northern Ireland - April 3rd - now postponed **
( ** Apologies but unfortunately we've had to postpone these four courses due to concerns over COVID-19. We will be re-scheduling at the earliest opportunity (when safe to do so) - let us know if you'd like us to notify you of new dates when these are confirmed)
Advance booking/payment is essential for all courses - cost per attendee is £100 plus VAT (a discount may be available if 3 or more from the same organisation).
(* Note: Although standard WiSe Scheme members are welcome to attend the Master course event, WiSe Master accreditation is generally only available to those who've been Standard WiSe members for at least 3 years - see accreditation types above)
To find out more, reserve a place, or ask about the next course in your area, don't hesitate to contact us.