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SHIP TO SHORE

A Practical Guide to Coastal and Marine Interpretation


Based upon an original text, Wardening the Shore: a practical guide to furthering marine conservation by
Susan Gubbay (1988). Additional text by Sarah Welton, Brenda Green, Carolyn Heeps and David Masters.

Revised and edited by Sarah Welton and Carolyn Heeps (1999)

Photographs: Carolyn Heeps, Andrew Davies, Peter Tinsley

Illustrations: Bob Foster-Smith

N.B This version does not contain the original photographs or


illustrations

© CoastNET and Marine Conservation Society, 1999


Front Cover: All sites offer interpretive opportunities: Andrew Davies

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

This book is an updated and revised version of Wardening the Shore, written in 1988 for the Marine
Conservation Society by Susan Gubbay. Ship to Shore..a practical guide to coastal and marine interpretation,
is a joint production from CoastNET, the UK Coastal Heritage Network and the Marine Conservation Society.
This new edition has only been made possible through grant-aid from English Nature under the Maritime
Programme for National Conservation Development Grants, with additional support from the World Wide
Fund for Nature (WWF-UK).

We would like to thank all the original contibutors to Wardening the Shore and the Countryside Commission
and World Wide Fund for Nature (UK) for grant-aiding the initial publication. We would also like to thank
Kevin Buck, Dan Hillier, Yvonne Hosker, plus the many enthusiastic marine and coastal interpreters both in the
UK and overseas, who provided advice, assistance and examples for this publication.

Carolyn Heeps, CoastNET


Samantha Pollard, Marine Conservation Society
Sarah Welton, Sarah Welton Associates

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PREFACE

The preface to the original publication began by noting, “Coastal wardens are ideally placed to further marine
conservation but, as yet, very few include this aspect as part of their work”. Over ten years later, awareness of
marine conservation has grown considerably, and many coastal managers are now concerned enough to want to
include marine conservation in their work. Furthermore, they want to help raise awareness about the need to
protect and manage the marine environment through interpretation and education initiatives. However, there is
still a need for clear, accessible information and practical advice on how coastal managers and practitioners can
best present the coastal and marine environment to the visiting public, schools groups and other interest and
user groups. This handbook aims to fulfill that necessity.

This manual provides the necessary information to answer all the typical questions asked by field staff when
developing coastal and marine interpretation. The question-based format, together with checksheets for
guidance and sources of information, aims to provide practical help to site managers, wardens, rangers and the
increasing number of environmental educators working on the coast.

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CONTENTS Page Number

Chapter ONE – INTRODUCTION 6


1.1 A role for interpretation and education 6
1.2 Is coastal and marine interpretation different from interpretation on land? 6
1.3 What information does an interpreter need? 7
1.4 Does my site need to have any special qualities? 7
1.5 How much does it cost? 7
1.6 Where can I get more advice and training on interpretation? 7
1.7 How do I start? 8

Chapter TWO – INTERPRETIVE PLANNING 9


2.1 Interpretive planning 9
2.2 Where to start your interpretation plan 9
2.3 Setting objectives 10
2.4 Your audience 10
2.5 Your interpretation messages 11
2.6 Choosing the right interpretation technique 14
2.7 Completing the plan 19
2.8 Opportunities to promote the marine environment to people with disabilities 19

Chapter THREE – TECHNIQUES 20


3.1 What specific techniques can I use for marine interpretation? 20
3.2 How good are the different techniques? 20

SECTION 1 : PRINTED MEDIA 22


1) Leaflets 22
2) Waterproof guides 24
3) Outdoor display boards 26
4) Viewpoints 28
5) Bulletin boards 30
6) Mobile indoor displays 32
7) Booklets and bound publications 34
SECTION 2: ACTIVITIES 36
a) Guided and Self-guided trails 36
1) Shore walks 36
2) Self Guided trails 38
3) Underwater nature trails 40
4) Boat trips 42
5) Glass-bottomed boat trips 44
b) Specialist activities 46
1) Games 46
2) Projects 48
3) Community Chests 50
4) Travelling Exhibitions and Mobile Activity Centres 52
c) Some techniques to be used during activities 54
1) Direct viewing techniques 54
2) Touch tanks 56
3) Touch boxes and tables 58
4) Plankton trawls 60
5) Submerged objects 62
SECTION 3 : SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: 64
1) Aquaria 64
2) Film and Slide-Tape shows 66
3) Hydrophones 68
4) Video : Underwater 70
Cliff-top 72
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5) Digital Interactive and Multi-media Systems 74

Page Number

SECTION 4 : ARTS AND EVENTS 78

SECTION 5 : INTERPRETATION AND VISITOR CENTRES AND


INFORMATION DUTY 82

SECTION 6 : LINKS WITH MUSEUMS AND SIMILAR


ORGANISATIONS 86

Chapter FOUR : HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM SUCCESSFUL ? 88


4.1 Evaluation 88
4.2 Sample checksheets to help you plan your programme 88
4.3 Risk Assessment and Health and Safety for coastal activities 93
4.4 Safety checksheets for coastal activities 94
4.5 Marine Conservation Society Seashore Code 94

CHAPTER FIVE - SOURCES OF ASSISTANCE AND INFORMATION 99


5.1 Who is doing it? 99
5.2 UK Organisations involved with marine conservation 99
5.3 Where books can give me a good background? 99
5.4 What other sources of information are available ? 99
5.5 How can CoastNET and the marine Conservation Society help me ? 99
5.6 Contact Addresses 100

FIGURES PageNumber
Figure 1: Key stages in planning interpretation at coastal sites 8
Figure 2: Specific objectives for different interest groups 11
Figure 3: Messages to promote 16
Figure 4: Suitability of various techniques for promoting 3 marine
and coastal interpretation aims 17
Figure 5: Ways in which people learn 18
Figure 6: Practical factors 19
Figure 7: Examples of interpretive techniques used worldwide 20
Figure 8: Examples of interpretive techniques used in UK 21

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CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

This manual is a practical guide to coastal and marine interpretation. It provides advice and information for
coastal managers and educators who work with the public, schools, user and interest groups on the coast. Ship
to Shore is an up to date, expanded version of the Marine Conservation Society’s publication Wardening the
Shore, originally published in 1988,

Ship to Shore is not intended as a complete guide to the theory and practice of interpretation, but rather to
provide specific practical advice to those seeking to develop ways in which to interpret the coastal and marine
environment. There are a number of excellent publications which describe the background and standard
techniques of environmental interpretation, including Interpreting Our Heritage (Tilden, 1957) and
Environmental Interpretation: A Practical Guide for People with Big Ideas and Small Budgets (Ham, 1992).

1.1 A ROLE FOR INTERPRETATION AND EDUCATION


Interpretation and education can help build up an appreciation and concern for the marine environment amongst
the public: "through interpretation, understanding; through understanding, appreciation; and through
appreciation, protection" (Tilden, 1957).

Much interpretation on the coast is provided for people visiting the coast for recreational purposes - either on
holiday or just to enjoy the seaside. These people do not particularly want to be ‘educated’, but they do want to
enjoy themselves. Good interpretation should, therefore, increase awareness and understanding, but in an
enjoyable way. If the interpretation is not stimulating, interesting and enjoyable, it is unlikely to be effective in
getting messages across.

In the fomal education context, most usually with visiting school groups, the emphasis is on learning, although
the experience should still be fun. In effect, education groups are a captive audience, whereas for people on
holiday or you need firstly to gain, and then keep their attention.

This guide is primarily concerned with the range of techniques now available for interpretation, although many
of these can be adapted for use as educational tools for schools groups.

1.2 IS COASTAL AND MARINE INTERPRETATION DIFFERENT FROM INTERPRETATION ON


LAND?
The marine environment poses a particular challenge to the interpreter. How can we interpret an environment
that cannot easily be seen? How can we take people beneath the waves and introduce them to a hidden and
alien world? The fundamental principles of interpretation still apply, but a specialist and creative approach is
needed. We also need to be aware of a whole different set of safety considerations because the shoreline and
inshore waters can be inherently dangerous for visitors.

We are conditioned by dry land, and the low water mark presents both a physical and conceptual barrier to our
appreciation and understanding of the marine environment. To overcome this, coastal and marine interpreters
need to consider techniques which can connect an audience with the intertidal and underwater world. This may
mean using boats for interpretation cruises, installing aquaria in visitor centres and underwater hydrophones to
listen out for dolphins, and creating underwater nature trails for snorkellers and divers. Many countryside
services run 'rockpool rambles' along the shore, where bringing the shoreline environment to life depends on the
communication skills of the interpreter. Creating stories about coastal and marine wildlife works particularly
well with children and adults alike.

Videos, audio/visual displays, CD-ROM and multimedia systems can all be used in coastal visitor centres.
Radar and weather instruments can be used to interpret shipping and human uses of the sea, and video links can
relay live pictures of cliff nesting sea birds or life under the sea, thereby bringing the environment to the
audience. We must not forget, in our modern ‘hi-tech’ world, the effectiveness of the simpler and much
cheaper techniques - leaflets, panels, self guided trails and touch tanks, for example and remember that there is
no better way of getting a message across than a knowledgable person talking enthusiastically to others and
enabling the audience to get first hand experiences.

This manual provides basic information on a wide range of techniques to give you the confidence to develop a
marine and coastal component to your activities. Whatever your budget and whatever your coastal environment
is like, Ship to Shore will help you overcome the challenges of coastal and marine interpretation.
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1.3 WHAT INFORMATION DOES AN INTERPRETER NEED?
In order to be an effective interpreter you will need to be familiar with the marine habitats and species on your
site. Many coastal areas have management plans and reports which provide detailed information about the
natural history and archaeological interest. There are also a number of national publications which provide
reference data about coastal areas. The JNCC’s Coastal Directories series for example is a good general
source of information, with more detailed data available through county archaeological surveys and wildlife
registers. Where coastal areas are designated for their conservation or archaeological interest e.g. as Special
Areas of Conservation (SACs), RAMSAR sites, Special Protection Areas (SPAs), SSSIs, Heritage Coasts or
Scheduled Ancient Monuments, management plans and scheduling documents will contain much useful
information. National agencies like English Nature, the Countryside Council for Wales and Scottish Natural
Heritage may be aware of marine issues specific to your area, and can help provide background information.

Sometimes the best starting point is to find someone who can point out the features of interest to you. If no
management plan exists, local expertise can be useful - for example, members of the local natural history
society, County Wildlife Trust, or staff at the local college, university or biological records centre.

You do not need great marine biological expertise to help people to appreciate marine areas. Simple stories
about the marine life are enough to start with and, from this, you can gradually build up your knowledge. Apart
from natural history, there are many physical, cultural and historical features of interest on the coast. Visitors
are usually interested in human stories, so interpretation about current and past use of the area should be a key
part of your programme. It can be more difficult to research local history, but you can usually find local
enthusiasts with a wealth of knowledge and folklore. Your local museum, library or County Records Office
should be able to identify local historians whom you could approach.

Today, explaining the need for concern about the environment is very much a part of the job of coastal site
managers, and experience of this type of work can be expanded fairly easily into marine topics. There are
usually plenty of local examples, and it is particularly helpful to use those which are indicative of a national
problem, such as beach litter or sewage pollution. To find out about specific marine concerns related to your
site, refer to any existing management plan or talk to people who know and use the area, such as the local Sea
Fisheries Committee or individual fishermen, yachtsmen and SCUBA divers. CoastNET and The Marine
Conservation Society (MCS) are also good sources of information about coastal and marine environmental
issues. In addition, you could keep a newspaper cuttings file of all the marine events reported for your area and
you will soon find you have a useful list of issues which demonstrate local and national concerns about the
coastal and marine environment.

1.4 DOES MY SITE NEED TO HAVE ANY SPECIAL QUALITIES ?


There is rarely any shortage of material to interpret on the seashore or inshore waters. Sites where the
foreshore is rich in marine life are some of the easiest places to use, but marine life is only one example of the
available resource. Coastal processes, marine geology, archaeology, history and human use of the sea can all be
used as a focus to promote marine conservation. The pressure of coastal development can also be seen at many
sites and this too can be used to present the case for a balanced use of the coastal zone and the need to manage
resources at a sustainable level.

1.5 HOW MUCH WILL IT COST ?


Interpretation can cost as little or as much as you want. Always tailor your interpretation to available resources.
Overambitious projects which result in a poor quality product can be counterproductive, although there is much
that can be done for relatively little money with a bit of ingenuity, creativity and lateral thinking. At sites where
a warden is in place, the costs of guided shore walks will be negligible. At the other end of the scale a live
underwater video link can run to many thousands of pounds. The approximate costs of the techniques in this
booklet are summarised in each section, and range from a few pounds to thousands of pounds (however these
are normally capital costs only and do not include staff time). Remember, much can be achieved by a single
person in the field, and first person interpretation is widely recognised as the most effective, however appealing
the new technology.

1.6 WHERE CAN I GET MORE ADVICE AND TRAINING ON INTERPRETATION?


Interpretation is a specialist field, which, although based on a common sense approach, requires certain basic
skills to be delivered effectively (including planning, budgeting, scripting, design and presentation skills). Each
year a number of interpretation training courses are grant-aided by the country conservation agencies - look out
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for the training course programmes produced by CoastNET, Losehill Hall and Plas Tan y Bwlch. Details of
specific training on marine interpretation is available from the Centre for Coastal Conservation and Education,
Bournemouth University. The Society for the Interpretation of Britain’s Heritage (SIBH) produces a regular
bulletin on environmental interpretation and support for the development of professional interpretation in the
UK. National conservation agencies may also grant aid small project developent or subsidise small advisory
contracts which will enable specialists to visit and advise on good approaches at your site.

1.7 HOW DO I START ?


Interpretation should always start with a clear and concise interpretive plan. Having goals set out in your mind
is fine as long as you put them in written form so that others (particularly your employers, staff and volunteers)
are aware of the aims and objectives. An interpretive plan helps you to clarify the aims of the interpretation, the
messages you want to promote and the audience you hope to. An interpretive plan provides a structure to
organise and deliver the interpretation in the most cost effective way. It also provides an action plan that can be
monitored and evaluated.

Figure 1:KEY STAGES IN PLANNING INTERPRETATION AT COASTAL SITES

Section in text

Identify aims and objectives   | 2.2


 |
 |
Identify target audience   | 2.3
 |
 |
Identify messages to communicate  | 2.4
 |
 |
Select suitable techniques for promoting  | 2.5
messages to target audience |
 |
 |
Implement technique(s)   | 3.1
 |
 |
Evaluate success   | 3.3
|
  |
|
Successful, Unsuccessful, 
continue until objectives are reached review previous stages and alter as necessary

CHAPTER TWO: PLANNING

2.1 INTERPRETIVE PLANNING


Planning is fundamental to providing good interpretation. Although the lack of a published interpretive plan
does not necessarily mean lack of interpretive planning because many wardens and site managers carry a plan
round in their head, this can lead to biased interpretation or the lack of a more strategic approach. In today’s

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financial climate the needs and benefits of expenditure often need to be demonstrated through business
development plans. It is vital that interpretation is a key component of management plans for a site.

An interpretive plan helps to ensure that individual projects and media are complimentary and that resources
are used in the most effective way. Sometimes, feasibility studies will be needed to test the viability of
expensive proposals such as a visitor centre, or where detailed applications for grant-aid are required. Time
and money spent at the planning stage should always be seen as an investment to enable you to deliver the best
results.

There are many different ways that an interpretive plan can be prepared. You could consider appointing an
external consultant or facilitator; SIBH (the Society for the Interpretation of Britain’s Heritage) holds a register
of UK interptretation consultants. It is better however if you can produce your own interpretive plan, perhaps
with the additional input from a small advisory group made up of local expertise. Why not attend an
interpretive planning training course which will provide you with the necessary knowledge and confidence to
get started?

Outputs of the interpretive planning process can include:

A document that guides and timetables implementation

An application for grant aid and other funding opportunities

The creation of an interpretation advisory group to help develop interpretation for sites/areas under
multiple ownership or management

The involvement of local residents or interest groups in the decision making process

The formulation of policy statements for adoption by key agency and local government bodies

2.2 WHERE TO START YOUR INTERPRETATION PLAN:


Once you have made the decision to develop interpretation, the first step in the planning process is scoping,
data and information gathering. This should include:

(i) An assessment of current interpretive provision, i.e.what is already being provided and by whom.

(ii) Analysis of existing facilities e.g buildings, transport and access, availablility of personnel.

(iii) Understanding the nature of the resource and any constraints that it may present e.g what special
features does it have? Are there any particularly sensitive sites vulnerable to visitor pressure?

(iv) Knowledge of relevant plans or policies that exist for the site in question e.g site management
plans, nature conservation strategies, visitor management strategies, local plan development
proposals.

(v) Market research and pre-project evaluation e.g asking your visitors what they would like to find out
more about or how much they would be willing to pay to enter a visitor centre or for guided walks.

This scoping stage will help you to determine how detailed your plan needs to be and who you should
involve in its preparation.

2.3 SETTING OBJECTIVES


The next stage is to determine objectives for the interpretation. This will usually require consultation
with other user, interest groups or organisations, particularly where there are a number of management
interests in the site/area or when interpretation is being provided as part of a broader visitor
management strategy aimed at balancing recreation and conservation needs.

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Typical interpretive objectives could be:

To raise awareness amongst visitors of the special qualities or features of your stretch of coast

To encourage visitors to support the conservation of the coastal and marine environment

To ensure your visitors feel welcome and have an enjoyable and rewarding experience

To encourage responsible behaviour by your visitors and a change in attitude (e.g not to disturb
wildlife or drop litter)

To encourage visitors to make a donation to your organisation or join a conservation body

To highlight the work of your organisation or management partnership.

2.4 YOUR AUDIENCE


The interpretive plan should then clearly identify your target audiences. This can be very varied, and
will influence your choice of interpretive and educational media. Typical audiences include:

• Individuals and groups visiting the coast for recreation, e.g. family groups, coach parties of older
people, foreign tourists, ramblers.

• Individuals and organisations with a specific interest in the coast, e.g. specialist water sport groups,
natural history enthusiasts, archaeologists, birdwatchers.

• Individuals and organisations with a management interest in the coast, e.g.local government,
regulatory bodies, local residents and community groups.

• Individuals and organisations with a commercial interest in the coast, e.g. fishermen, farmers,
tourist centres, caravan site owners.

• Individuals and organisations with an educational interest in the coast, e.g. school parties, college
and university groups.

Remember, “target your audience and tailor your story.” Consider your target audience and objectives
together, and then clarify what you hope to achieve with specific audiences. Figure 2 summarises a
range of suitable objectives for different audiences.

Figure 2: SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES FOR DIFFERENT INTEREST GROUPS

Promote marine
Add a marine conservation
MANAGEMENT Objectives
component to amongst those you Promote marine
INTERESTS management plan. represent. conservation to
other management
groups.
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Be aware of how RECREATION COMMERCIAL EDUCATION
to help through INTERESTS INTERESTS INTERESTS
your own actions.
Objectives Objectives Objectives

Follow the Be aware of the Study a marine


Seashore Code. range of demands component.
and users of the
coast.

Enjoy the coast Support local Contact site


and respect the marine manager before
resource. conservation visit.
initiatives.

Be aware of the Be aware of how Restrict collecting.


needs of other to help through
users. your own actions.

Be aware of how Be aware of how


to help through to help through
your own actions. your own actions.

2.5 YOUR INTERPRETATION MESSAGES


Once you have identified what, where, for whom, and why to interpret, you need to choose specific
messages you wish to get across to your audience. Interpretive messages should aim to produce a
response in the audience - such as a sense of appreciation, concern, and a wish to do something positive
to protect the environment.

In this section we suggest a series of specific messages that coastal and marine interpretation might
cover. They are grouped under a set of three broad aims:

AIM 1: APPRECIATION - how to foster appreciation for the marine environment from your
audience.

AIM 2: THE NEED FOR CONCERN – highlight issues to explain why your audience should be
concerned about the coastal and marine environment.

AIM 3: HOW YOU CAN HELP - how to explain to visitors that their actions can make a difference,
what they can do to help, and how to get actively involved.

Each aim can be developed on its own, but together they also describe a useful sequence for you to
follow. To start with, try and build up appreciation for the marine and coastal environment, then explain
the need for concern and, finally, provide information on how individuals can take positive steps to help
prevent environmental impact and further marine conservation. Vary the emphasis of the interpretation
by concentrating on the aim which is most appropriate to your particular audience, but bear in mind that
it is always valuable to touch on the first aim, albeit briefly.

AIM 1: Appreciation
The most successful way of engaging public support for the marine environment is probably through
aesthetic appreciation. Showing visitors how attractive, colourful, intriguing and engaging features of
marine life and the attraction of unspoilt scenery and cultural heritage is can help them develop an

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interest in the marine environment. Building on aesthetics and interest anywhere on a scale from just
looking at scenery or observing marine life, to understanding something about the seascape
development or how the marine life is specially adapted to its environment can be used. Coastal
managers can play a very positive role in furthering marine conservation by concentrating on this aim
alone, through promoting the message that:

“exploring the marine environment can be fun and there are lots of interesting and
attractive things to see”.

Examples of more specific messages which you can use for this theme are listed below:

Inshore waters are particularly important.


Many people are unaware that the sea is not uniform throughout. There is great value in emphasising
that shallow inshore areas are the richest and most productive parts of the oceans or that temperature
and salinity varies with the amount of water mixing in different areas.

The marine environment is constantly changing.


Both natural and man-made factors are involved in the changes which take place in the marine
environment. There are seasonal differences and also differences resulting from human intervention.

The UK marine environment is just as interesting as tropical marine environments.


Most people are aware of the colourful and diverse wildlife of coral reefs. Far fewer appreciate that our
UK native marine life is equally interesting and attractive.

Have a closer look.


Many creatures are small and well camouflaged. To see them it is important to look closely. There is
also very little danger of getting hurt by the marine animals you find in the UK.

Much of the marine world is unexplored and exciting.


People often assume that we know all there is to know about our seas and oceans. This is far from true,
so explaining that this is not the case is another way of getting people interested in the sea and marine
life.

The marine environment and the life it contains is of value, interest and special importance to
humans.
The value and significance of the marine environment to different people is often underestimated.
Furthermore, whether you live far inland or at the coast, the marine environment is crucial to life on
earth. Stressing this should emphasise the need for us to use it’s resources in a sensible and sustainable
way.

The marine environment is a complex system sustained by many interactions.


Some appreciation of the complex way the marine environment works helps to emphasise the danger of
interfering with, or damaging parts of the system because, ultimately, this can have serious implications
for the whole environment.

AIM 2: The Need For Concern.


A second aim centres around making people aware of why they should be concerned about the marine
environment. This builds upon the first aim, because without an appreciation of the environment, it is
difficult to generate concern. The key message here is:

“individual and group actions are having an impact on the coastal and marine
environment”

This can be demonstrated by looking at some of the ways in which we use the sea and seashore. Some
examples which can be used include:
• Fisheries
• Aggregate dredging
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• Aquaculture
• Control of predators
• Coastal defence & flood protection
• Urban and industrial development
• Shipping & navigation
• Reclamation
• Military activities
• Waste disposal
• Recreation
• Educational & scientific studies

Concentrate on examples which are particularly relevant to your site and audience. For example, near a
major shipping lane the potential impact of oil spills, ship generated litter and incremental pollution can
be pointed out, whereas the damage caused by driving cars or motorcycles onto sand dunes and tidal
sands may be the most appropriate topic at another site.

A second key message is:

“we can live in harmony with the marine environment, if we manage our activities”

To promote this message it is useful to explain the importance of balancing our use of the marine
resources. Commercial, health, and moral implications of a poorly-managed system are three main
reasons why we need to achieve a sensible balance. Inappropriate use of the marine environment can
also affect our health, for example, through the quality of bathing water and also the food we take from
the sea. There are also moral reasons for a balanced use of the marine environment which include
maintaining its quality for future generations.

More specific messages under the "need for concern" aim include the following:

Inshore waters are the most productive areas of the sea and the most threatened.
This emphasises that human activity is damaging areas which are very important for the productivity of
the oceans as a whole and that a significant impact on inshore areas has widespread implications.

Much damage to the marine environment comes from shore-based activities which can be
controlled.
Most human activities which are causing concern can be controlled through existing legislation or by
strenghtening such legislation. However, the problems often arise through a lack of will to do this. This
message emphasises that solutions do exist but need to be implemented adequately.

Many substances are released into the marine environment without proof that they will not damage
marine life or the environment.
The lack of full environmental impact assessment of products and activities is a reason for concern and,
again, is one that can be rectified.

The pressures on the marine environment from human activity are increasing all the time.
It is important to be aware that the coast and inshore areas are under increasing human pressure each
year as more and more people want to live in coastal areas. With this in mind, conflicts of interest are
likely to arise more often and activities which are not necessarily damaging at present may be a cause
for concern in the future.

AIM 3: How You Can Help.


Having generated an awareness and concern about the marine environment individuals should be
encouraged to help improve the situation as well as preventing further damage.

The key message here is:


“you can make a difference”

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One of the most effective ways individuals can further conservation of the marine environment is
through their own actions. It is important to stress the need for individual environmental responsibility.
For example, threats to marine species through collecting, threats to marine habitats from digging and
trampling, and marine pollution from litter can all be improved by individuals behaving responsibly and
changing their attitudes. People can help in both active and passive ways and some examples of how
they can do this are listed below:

• Join a concerned national or local organisation


• Donate money to conservation bodies
• Act responsibly
• Generate local publicity for issues
• Respond to appeals/requests for action
• Talk to other people/spread the word
• Exercise your market choice, e.g.curios, non-lead weights
• Consider the implications outside the U.K.
• Report incidents to relevant authorities
• Support local schemes or projects through volunteer programmes
• Ask your site manager for further sources of information
• Sensible disposal of litter
• Learn and think about the possible effects your recreation/job has on the marine environment
• Learn about your area and keep in touch with local issues which impinge on the marine
environment
• Offer your services (like typing skills) to conservation bodies
• Respond to issues at both local and national level
• Notify the Marine Conservation Society and other conservation organisations of environmental
impacts which concern you
• Attend talks or short courses to learn more about marine and coastal environments

More specific messages under this theme include the following:

Bring problems to the attention of conservation bodies as well as to those responsible for their
occurrence.
People often assume that someone has already reported the problem which they see. It is always better
to assume that this is not the case.

Approach conservation bodies for advice.


Conservation bodies can provide advice on how to proceed and can also lobby on behalf of individuals
or groups about their concerns. They may also be able to provide contacts with people who can help
with specific problems relating to the marine environment.

Support marine conservation organisations.


With the support of their members, marine conservation bodies can be a powerful lobby for promoting
marine conservation, pressing for good practice and sensible use of the marine environment and
keeping a watching brief for potential problems. Both nationally and locally-based groups with broader
conservation interests should also be supported as they often have an interest in coastal issues.

2.6 CHOOSING THE RIGHT INTERPRETATION TECHNIQUES


Once you have decided the messages you wish to promote, you can identify the most appropriate
techniques to use. A basic principle in interpretation planning is decide what to say first, and then how
you want to say it (i.e. “the message before the medium”)

A wide range of interpretive tools is available to the coastal and marine interpreter, including:
• Leaflets
• Waterproof guides
• Fixed outdoor display boards and panels
• Viewpoint interpretation
• Bulletin boards
• Indoor displays
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• Booklets and bound publications
• Guided/Self-guided tours
• Shore walks
• Underwater nature trails
• Boat trips
• Glass-bottomed boat trips
• Games
• Projects
• Community chests
• Travelling exhibitions
• Mobile activity and discovery centres
• Direct viewing techniques
• Touch tanks
• Touch boxes and tables
• Plankton trawls
• Submerged objects
• Aquaria
• Film and slide-tape shows
• Hydrophones
• Live video links
• Digital interactive and multi-media systems
• Arts, theatre and sculpture
• Special events and festivals
• Visitor centres

To select the most appropriate techniques for your needs ask yourself two simple questions:

* Will the technique convey the message I want to promote my target audience?

* What practical factors are involved in implementing the technique?

The practical factors will ultimately determine which techniques you can use, but the initial emphasis of
any discussion on techniques must be on whether they can convey the messages you want to promote,
and whether they are appropriate for the audience you are trying to reach. These questions will be
answered by the various steps in the interpretive planning process.

Suitability for promoting coastal and marine conservation


A number of key messages and specific messages which site managers can use as the focus for
furthering marine conservation have been summarised in Figure 3 under the three aims of:
(1) Promoting appreciation
(2) Prompting the need for concern
(3) Describing how visitors can help

16
Figure 3: MESSAGES TO PROMOTE

AIM ONE: Promoting appreciation.

Key Message
Exploring the marine environment can be fun and there are lots of interesting and attractive things to
see.

Specific Messages
• Inshore waters are particularly important
• The marine environment is constantly changing
• U.K. marine life is just as interesting and often as colourful as tropical marine life
• Get in close to see the detail
• Much of the marine world is unexplored and exciting
• The marine environment and the life it contains is of value, interest and special importance to
humans
• The marine environment is a complex system, sustained by many interactions

AIM TWO: Prompting the need for concern.

Key Messages
Individual and group actions are having an impact on the marine environment
We can live in harmony with the marine environment if we manage our activities

Specific Messages
• Inshore waters are the most productive areas of the sea and the most threatened
• Most of the damage comes from shore-based activities which can be controlled
• Many substances are released into the marine environment without proof that they will not damage
marine life or the environment
• There is inadequate liaison between shore-based and sea-based users
• The pressures on the marine environment from human activity are increasing all the time

AIM THREE: Describing how visitors can help

Key Message
Your actions, as an individual, can make a difference

Specific Messages
• Bring problems to the attention of conservation bodies as well as those responsible for their
occurrence
• Approach conservation bodies for advice
• Support marine conservation organisations

The information on each of the techniques, (described in section 3.1), reveals that certain techniques are
particularly appropriate for promoting some of these aims whilst others may be of little value. For
example, it is clear from Figure 4 that the majority of techniques can be used to promote appreciation,
but not all are suitable for the second and third aims.

17
Figure 4: SUITABILITY OF VARIOUS TECHNIQUES FOR PROMOTING THREE
MARINE AND COASTAL INTERPRETATION AIMS

Technique Appreciation Concern Help Audience Size

SHORE-BASED
Seashore walks 3 2 2 2
Self-guided walks/talks 2 1 0 3
Viewpoints 2 1 1 3
Display boards 2 2 2 3
Leaflets 1 2 3 3
Impromptu events 3 3 3 2
Information duty 1 3 3 3
Interpretation centre 3 3 3 3
Touch tanks 3 2 1 2
Touch box 2 2 1 2
Games 2 2 1 2
Projects 2 3 3 2
Bulletin board 1 1 1 3
Video 2 0 0 2
Community Chests 2 2 2 3

SEA-BASED
Underwater nature trail 3 1 0 1
Boat trips 3 2 1 2
Plankton trawls 3 2 1 2
Viewing tunnels 2 0 0 3
Underwater cable car 2 0 0 3
Glass-bottom boats 3 1 1 2
Direct viewing tubes 2 0 0 1
Waterproof leaflets 3 0 0 3
Submerged objects 3 2 1 2
Hydrophones 2 1 1 2

REMOTE
Displays 2 3 3 3
Slide shows 2 2 2 3
Aquarium 3 0 0 3
Films 2 2 2 3
Drama 2 2 2 3
Games/projects 2 2 1 2
Publications 2 3 3 3
Formal education 2 3 3 3
Computer games/interactive 1 3 3 1
Demonstrations 2 2 2 2
Media – Radio/TV 3 2 1 3
Camera Systems 3 2 1 3
Books and bound publications 3 2 1 3

Each technique is scored for its suitability to promote the three theme areas: appreciation, concern,
and how you can help (3=good, 2=fair, 1=poor, 0=none).

18
An equally important aspect of this initial assessment is to consider whether the technique is appropriate
for the target audience. Most of the techniques listed in Figure 4 could be used for any audience.
Nevertheless, if groups are used to receiving information in a particular way, then those techniques
should be favoured in the first instance. For example, slide presentations are often used to present
information to managerial groups; recreational groups would identify with the use of trails; commercial
groups are familiar with displays; and educational groups might react favourably to projects. A number
of general principles should also be considered when selecting the most appropriate technique for an
audience. People are more likely to retain information if it is presented in a way which has the following
characteristics:

• Uses and encourages active involvement


• Shows the relevance of the information
• Makes the experience enjoyable
• Generates curiosity and interest, possibly stimulating a desire for futher information or study
• Uses personal contact

The value of each of these is explained in Figure 5 and site managers are recommended to use
techniques which include these characteristics wherever possible, for all types of target audience. The
audience size also needs to be taken into account as some techniques will only be suitable for small
groups.

Figure 5: WAYS IN WHICH PEOPLE LEARN

1. Active Involvement
It is easier to learn what you discover for yourself.
First-hand experience is very important.
(It has been estimated that people retain about 10% of what they hear, 30% of what they read, 50% of
what they see and 90% of what they do).

2. Show relevance
If you can show the relevance of an idea by relating it to everyday experiences, it is more likely to be
accepted. Good use can be made of analogies to demonstrate concepts.

3. Enjoyment
It is easier to learn if you and those around you are having fun.

4. Generate curiosity and interest


It is easier to learn if you ask questions because of your own curiosity and interest in a subject.

5. Use personal contact


It adds additional interest if people are used to convey and promote a message. This allows one to one
exchanges and enables individual questions to be answered. It helps if the interpreter is enthusiastic and
is able to put information across in a non-technical way without oversimplification.

Practical Factors
Having considered whether a technique is suitable for the message and audience, the next stage is to
decide whether it is practicable for the site in question. Five main factors need to be considered:
• Logistics
• Equipment
• Personnel
• Policy
• Finance

Figure 6 provides a useful checklist under these headings and can be used to ensure that all practical
factors have been taken into account.

Figure 6: PRACTICAL FACTORS

19
Site features/natural resources
LOGISTICS Site capacity to cope
Numbers of people visiting
Access and safety
Time to set up
Running time
Administrative back-up
Participation required
Existing facilities
EQUIPMENT Reliability
Flexibility
Durability/vandal resistance
Personal skills
PERSONNEL Numbers of staff/volunteers required
Supervision
Management approval
POLICY Site disruption
Existing management plan provision
How it will affect other users of the area
Cost
FINANCE Budget available
Fund raising opportunities

2.7 COMPLETING THE PLAN


With the objectives, audience, messages and media identified, the plan can be completed. The final
document should provide a costed list of projects with a timetable for their implementation. The plan
should identify who is responsible for each project - especially important if the project involves a
partnership of agencies. Critically, the plan should also explain how the interpretation is to be
evaluated to ensure your objectives are being met. Much interpretation has a limited life span, and you
may also wish to identify when a revised plan will be needed.

2.8 OPPORTUNITIES TO PROMOTE THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT TO PEOPLE WITH


DISABILITIES.
The experience of freedom and enjoyment that the coastal and marine environment can give its visitors
is often marred for people with disabilities, as access has largely been modified by and for able-bodied
people. The result of denied access is the feeling of frustration and a loss of interest.

There are about 6.5 million adults in Great Britain who have a disability, representing a huge audience
which is not receiving the same level of interpretation about the coastal and marine environment as
more able-bodied people. Therefore it is vital, when planning your interpretation and access
programme, that the needs of your disabled visitors are included.

It is important to recognise that the provision of good, all-round interpretive techniques can and should
cater for the needs of people with disabilities as well as an able-bodied audience. Interpretive activities
developed to encourage the use of senses other than sight and hearing, benefit all visitors. Good
physical access allows all visitors to get around and on to sites. For example, providing good access
will not only help people who use wheelchairs but also people with walking difficulties, people with
pushchairs, the elderly and so forth. It is often assumed that many techniques are not suitable for people
with disabilities, but some can be adapted easily and cheaply to be more user-friendly. Attractive,
accessible and popular interpretation on a low budget is definitely achievable, particularly when the
local community and special interest groups are involved. Work with the point of view of providing
“for all” from the start, and remember; think ‘integration’ not ‘segregation’. Specialist advice on access
and interpretation for people with disabilities is available from the Fieldfare Trust.

CHAPTER THREE: TECHNIQUES

3.1. WHAT SPECIFIC TECHNIQUES CAN I USE FOR MARINE INTERPRETATION?


20
With the large number of coastal nature reserves and an increasing number of marine protected areas
and marine parks worldwide, greater expertise in on-site interpretation of the marine and coastal
environment is now available. Although many of the ideas have been developed in the U.S.A. through
its Marine Sanctuaries Programme, in recent years, other countries, such as Canada, Japan, Australia
and New Zealand have also contributed significantly by developing exciting, innovative interpretive
techniques. In the U.K. there has been an increase in the interest and provision of marine interpretation,
particularly within voluntary marine conservation areas, Heritage Coasts and other coastal initiatives.

3.2. HOW GOOD ARE THE DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES?


To make some judgement about which techniques to use, the interpreter needs to consider their
advantages, limitations and, as outlined above, their suitability for the message and audience. These
aspects are summarised for a range of shore-based and sea-based techniques. General information is
also provided on each technique, together with an indication of how easy it will be to fit the method into
the existing conservation programme of activities and facilities at a site.

Figure 7: EXAMPLES OF INTERPRETIVE TECHNIQUES USED WORLDWIDE


This table presents just a few examples of techniques being used.

TECHNIQUE LOCATION

Diver operated underwater camera plus live communication link Saguénay Marine Park
to visitor centre Québec, Canada
Temporary touch tanks on shore, stocked with live specimens
brought up by divers
Remote, fixed underwater camera with live link to shore based Terra
visitorNova National Park
centre Newfoundland, Canada
Microscope linked to video camera and large TV screen Cowichan Bay Ecology Centre,
Vancouver Island, Canada
Whale Watching Excursions Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada

Snorkel Trails Turks and Caicos Islands and


Seychelles Marine Park
Wildlife Tours Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

Cliff top cameras Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

Guided Kayak Trips La Jolla, California

Aquaravan Monterey Bay Aquarium, California

Aquarium Science Camps and Sleepovers Stephen Birch Aquarium at Scripps


Institute, California
Computer controlled video monitoring of beach profile change Waikato, New Zealand

Interactive computer games CSIRO, Australia

Satellite tracking of sea turtles Caribbean

Underwater signs and laminated guide of marine life Barbados Marine Park

Figure 8: EXAMPLES OF INTERPRETATION TECHNIQUES USED IN THE UK

21
TECHNIQUE LOCATION

Underwater Hydrophone (fixed) Durlston, Dorset

Remoter underwater video Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset

Community Chest Scotland

Travelling exhibition and models Whale & Dolphin Roadshow

Young Scientists at the Seashore Project Bournemouth University, Dorset

Microscopes Wembury, Devon

Victorian Celebrations Week Ilfracombe, N. Devon

Board display in local schools Helford, Cornwall

Glass-bottomed boat Fleet & Portland Harbour, Dorset

Shore-based remote video camera St Mary’s Island, Tyne and Wear

Maritime Sunday Seven Sisters, Sussex

Street sculptures and pavement games Morecambe Bay, Lancashire

Beach Art Sefton coast

Beach Watch annual litter count and beach clean Nation-wide

Role play Formby, Merseyside

Interactive CD-ROMs Dee Estuary

22
SECTION 1: PRINTED MEDIA

LEAFLETS
Leaflets are a popular method of providing information about a site, and can be an effective tool for
marine interpretation. Leaflets are used to provide information on many aspects of a site and can
indicate how visitors can help safeguard the site which they are visiting. The Seashore Code or a list of
organisations to contact for advice and to report environmental concerns can be included. As leaflets
are taken away, they can provide a more permanent reference and reminder than information which
remains at the site.

Audience
Leaflets can be aimed at specific groups, but they are not very good at reaching those with no interest in
the environment as such individuals are unlikely to pick up leaflets on a topic which does not interest
them.

Logistics
There is rarely a shortage of topics on which to produce leaflets for a site. The site must have a suitable
facility from which to dispense the leaflets unless they are to be handed out individually. The print run
is very flexible and, if not too large, will allow the material to be updated regularly as a new batch is
required.

Although the site manager can suggest topics for leaflets, they are often best written by people with
specialist skills in scripting interpretive material. Many site managers include overly detailed
information about their site in their leaflet scripts, discouraging the audience with too much text and
jargon. Administrative back-up is required for the design and production. There may be some advantage
in leaflets on certain topics being waterproof (see "Waterproof Guides"). One disadvantage of leaflets is
that they can add to, or even create a litter problem.

Equipment
Apart from the leaflet itself, a dispenser is the only other "equipment" required. Leaflets are a flexible
technique as new topics can be added to the collection fairly easily and others updated with each print-
run.

Personnel
Leaflet dispensers need to be checked regularly, but apart from this, there is no personnel requirement
once the leaflet has been produced. Its production should be part of the administrative back-up.

Policy
Site owners and managers may have a policy on the production of leaflets and the topics to be covered.
There may, for example, be some value in producing leaflets on aspects highlighted in the management
plan.

Finance
The cost of leaflets will depend on the quality and the print-run required This could be partly recouped
if they are sold as souvenirs of a visit.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


Leaflets and leaflet packs are a popular way of providing information about a site. This technique
allows messages and topics to be built up gradually and fits in well with the currently accepted format
of presenting information at many sites.

23
LEAFLETS
ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Easy to initiate Creates litter
Can experiment High loss for number read
Can control expense Cannot influence who reads
Gives lots of information cheaply Low attention value
Can be sold as a souvenir No personal contact
"Show off" value Many on market
Can be used off-site

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

24
WATERPROOF GUIDES
Leaflets on appropriate topics could be prepared on waterproof paper or on heat-sealed cards.
Waterproof guides are suitable as aids to identification of marine life.

Audience
Waterproof guides can be aimed at SCUBA divers, swimmers and snorkellers as well as visitors on the
shore.

Logistics
The production of a waterproof guide involves much the same procedure as printing on paper. It needs
administrative back-up for the printing, experts can be brought in to write them and a series can be
produced. The cards should be kept fairly small and, if required, can be bound together using a key
ring. Waterproofing is an additional cost and is not necessary for all leaflets to be used on the shore. It
is necessary for any underwater trail notes or identification guides, which are intended to be used while
on an underwater trail, to be tough, clear, and easy to carry.

Equipment
No specialist equipment is necessary as the waterproofing will be done at a printers. Many organisations
now have a laminator, which can be used to waterproof a small number of items. The guides will need
to be displayed at a suitable location.

Personnel
Unmanned leaflet dispensers are not suitable for waterproof leaflets and guides because of the expense
of production.

Policy
There are no obvious policy implications of producing these materials.

Finance
Waterproofing can be costly but a range of methods is available including waterproof paper, heat-sealed
cards, formica boards, and plastic cards. The costs will depend on the quantity required and the material
used.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


It is easy to add this technique into a programme as it does not necessarily need any input from the site
manager. Outside experts could produce the material which will be available for sale at the site.

25
WATERPROOF GUIDES

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Extends tthe use of leaflets More costly than non-waterproof
Encourages identification on the beach
Novelty appeal

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

26
OUTDOOR DISPLAY BOARDS
Display boards are a valuable way of presenting information to the public on topics which the site
managers would like to promote. The positioning of display boards normally coincides with the location
of viewpoints which enable the visitor to see directly to the feature or area being interpreted. Display
boards at locations where people congregate, e.g car parks, toilets, ferry teminals, can also be
effective.At some sites it may be appropriate to include safety information on the boards, especially if
they are located by launch points and slipways.

Audience
Coastal sites are visited by people with wide-ranging interests. Boards with general information are
therefore likely to be read by most visitors. However, if the site is of interest to a specialist audience,
specific topic display boards are valuable. Boards, targeted at an active recreation audience, will
normally need to include safety information and often identify specific zones for different activities.

Logistics
All sites have features that can be interpreted on outdoor display boards. However, it is important not to
over-interpret. All boards must be carefully sited, so as not to intrude on the natural features of the site
and, when used, they should be located where visitors are likely to come across them. Display boards
can reach large numbers of people but will require administrative back-up in the form of provision of
materials and design. Outside expertise can be brought in to provide text on specialist subjects.
It is very costly and inappropriate to erect boards in the intertidal zone. Temporary outdoor display
boards are therefore particularly helpful on this area. Site managers can set them up whilst on a
particular beach, perhaps to advertise a guided shore walk, and then remove them for use at other
locations. This approach also overcomes the problem of permanent displays disrupting views, and
leaves the site unspoilt.

Equipment
Display boards can be made from a range of materials, but need to be durable and vandal-proof. At
coastal sites they must also be resistant to salt-spray. Having done this, they are usually kept on site for
a long time and are therefore not a particularly flexible technique. Some sites use temporary display
boards which overcome this problem.

Personnel
No personnel are needed to man a display board once it is set up but it is advisable to check their
condition regularly.

Policy
The permission of landowners and site managers is required before display boards can be erected. Some
organisations may also have a policy of keeping the number of boards to a minimum or may not allow
any to be erected at a site.

Finance
The cost of outdoor display boards depends on the quality and durability of the materials. It may be
worth considering temporary display boards before commissioning funds on more permanent displays.

Fitting into an existing programme for a site


Outdoor display boards are already used at many sites. Marine aspects could therefore be added fairly
easily when the boards are being updated. Temporary boards could be used at a trial stage and may
even be appropriate on a long-term basis for the seashore.

27
OUTDOOR DISPLAY BOARDS
ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
No manning necessary Durable types expensive
Can bring in experts to write Long-term
Can be added to existing boards Vulnerable to vandalism
Can determine what goes on
Experimental displays possible

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

28
VIEWPOINTS
Viewpoints are often the best location for an interpretive panel or board. Viewpoints near a major
shipping channel could include boards displaying the silhouette of the types of vessels using the sea
lane. In the north of England and Scotland there are headlands from which seals, dolphins and basking
sharks are regularly sighted. A display board could highlight this and include some brief identification
features. Viewpoints over fishing ports can also help visitors appreciate the way we use the sea.

Audience
The audience attracted to a particular viewpoint will be influenced by its location and accessibility.
Some viewpoints are designed to be reached by car, whereas others are only accessible on foot. The text
on the display board should appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

Logistics
Careful thought must go into siting a viewpoint to ensure it provides a good view as well as being able
to withstand the pressure of large numbers of visitors without damaging the environment. Access to the
viewpoint needs to be kept in good condition, the site should be clearly marked and the area needs to be
managed to ensure the view remains clear.

A lot of time and work is involved in setting up a viewpoint correctly but, once it is designed, regular
maintenance is all that is required to keep it in good condition.

Equipment
A viewpoint requires signposting, a display board and, possibly, a viewing platform.

Personnel
Personnel are required for general maintenance work once a viewpoint is set up.

Policy
Agreement must be reached with landowners and managers of the area before viewpoints are set up.
There must also be a positive decision on whether it is advantageous to bring people into an area, as this
is often the result of setting up an "official" viewpoint. Viewpoints are often best appreciated when they
are discovered "by accident" rather than laid out for the visitor.

Finance
There can be considerable costs in setting up a viewpoint, particularly if it is associated with a road.
Regular maintenance costs must be taken into account and also the cost of an information board.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


It may be possible to add a marine aspect to some viewpoints which are already in place when the
associated display panels need to be replaced. A new viewpoint cannot be set up quickly and will
therefore take time to be incorporated into an existing programme.

29
VIEWPOINTS
ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Directs visitors away from sensitive areas Not particularly flexible
Enables visitors to view directly the feature or Long-term once set up
site being interpreted Must be carefully sited
No personnel required
Presents information site manager wants to
get across

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

30
BULLETIN BOARDS
Bulletin boards are often used at bird reserves to note down species sightings and numbers which have
been observed in the area. In a marine context they can be used to record sightings of dolphins and
seals, items washed up on the beach, pollution events, and marine conservation issues in the area. They
allow visitors to contribute their own observations and can also promote safety by posting tide times.

Audience
Bulletin boards usually appeal to the informed, who enjoy identifying items they see at the site during a
visit.

Logistics
The board needs to be set up at a good vantage point which will be passed by visitors entering and
leaving the site. It will need to be checked on a regular basis by the site manager who should add
material as well as clarify details posted by visitors.

Equipment
A blackboard and chalk is all that is required to set up this system. It is very flexible and although it can
be removed from the shore at the end of each day, it will not be vandal-proof unless it is located where
the site manager can keep a regular check. If vandalism becomes a problem, one option may be for the
site manager alone to post records of observations at the site.

Personnel
The site manager will be required to add new records to the board each day, and keep the information
up to date.

Policy
There should be no policy implications of setting up bulletin boards but a decision must be made on the
type of material to be posted. For example will it cover conservation issues relevant to the site, or
simply observations?

Finance
This is a low cost method.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


There should be few problems with adding this technique to an existing programme.

31
BULLETIN BOARDS
ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Easy to set up Information only
Regular updates possible Not vandal-proof
Flexible
Can encourage visitor involvement if they
post information

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

32
MOBILE INDOOR DISPLAYS
A mobile indoor display can be mounted on a series of panels or boards, which is easily transported
from one destinaton to another. Such a display can be used for a simple foyer or shopping centre
display to a major promotional or conference display. Owing to the adaptability of the technique, it is a
very good way to raise awareness of specific coastal issues on a broader scale.

Audience
The display is usually designed to raise awareness of a particular theme and to appeal to a general
audience. Displays can be used to reach the public, away from the seashore, by travelling around local
schools, libraries, shopping and community centres.

Logistics
There are a variety of sizes to choose from. For example, you could have a full-length, free-standing
display or one which is half-size and stands on a table. It is important to design a very eye-catching,
clear and easy to read display. The best displays are very light on text, making the most of graphic
images.

Graphics should be relatively simple and pleasing to the eye. The location of such a display is very
important. It must be in a position where it will attract the attention of the maximum number of people,
but will not be in the way or cause disruptions. The display must be lightweight, easy to erect and take
down.

There are, essentially, three main stages in the production of a mobile indoor display.

1. Decide on the size of the display, the number of panels, the written text, graphic images,
photographs etc., and the layout of the text and graphics

2. Finalise features such as, layout, colour co-ordination and so forth

3. The production of the display

Equipment
Indoor displays can be made from a huge variety of materials. Unlike outdoor displays, panels do not
need to be weatherproof, but do need to be durable. Lighting may also be needed, especially if the
display is to be used at sites not receiving sufficient natural light.

Personnel
A large amount of staff time will be required in the design stages. Once a display has been erected no
personnel are needed to man it. But it is advisable to make regular checks to ensure the display remains
in good condition.

Policy
There are no policy implications for this technique.

Finance
The cost of this type of display will depend on the materials used and the style and quality of text and
graphics.

33
MOBILE INDOOR DISPLAYS
ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
No manning is necessary Can be expensive
Involves experts Can be quite technical
Very adaptable

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

34
BOOKLETS AND BOUND PUBLICATIONS
Booklets and bound publications are written to cover specific subjects and themes. Designed and
written well, they can very successfully raise awareness and promote any conservation message. They
provide an opportunity to raise site profiles and add greater depth and analysis of coastal and marine
issues.

Audience
This technique is potentially appropriate for all audiences. In practice, the audience is often restricted to
those who are actively wanting to increase their knowledge and understanding of coastal and marine
issues, and who can afford to purchase them.

Logistics
Similar to any printed form of interpretive medium it is important to consider your target audience, cost
and pricing, format and material, design and content, printing and outlets.
Booklets and bound publications often have a wider outlet than leaflets. For example, they can be sold
on-site but are also large and detailed enough to be sold in bookshops. Professional designers and
printers are vital in the production of any form of booklet or bound publication.

Equipment
Display and/or sales points are needed.

Personnel
Once the booklets/publications are produced, staff time is necessary to cover the distribution and
selling.

Finance
The cost of producing booklets and bound publications will naturally depend on the size, content and
printing requirements and the number you wish to produce. Costs can therefore range from low
hundreds to several thousand pounds.

35
BOOKLETS AND BOUND PUBLICATIONS
ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Act as souvenir and site promoter Can be expensive to produce and for the
Can be widely distributed visitor to purchase
Can have lasting appeal if well produced
Can be sold to cover costs

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

36
SECTION 2: ACTIVITIES

GUIDED AND SELF GUIDED TRAILS

GUIDED SHORE WALKS


Guided shore walks are one of the most popular ways of interpreting the marine environment. They are
easy to set up, inexpensive and there is rarely any shortage of material to interpret. Walks can show
visitors how to enjoy the seashore without removing live animals or disrupting the habitat. Good
practice by the site manager (returning rock pool animals, turning back stones) will reinforce this.

Audience
Most shore walks are unsuitable for the elderly or infirm, because of the uneven and slippery terrain.
They are especially suitable for families, and the enthusiasm of a group is often greatest if children are
present. It is inadvisable to allow dogs to be brought along.

Logistics
There is no shortage of material to interpret on the shore and the site manager should try and highlight
both physical and biological aspects, as well as signs of the way it is used by man. If large numbers of
people are taken out regularly, the route should be altered or restricted to a specific area to limit any
damage which may be caused by this pressure.

Advance planning is an important part of shore walks to ensure they are successful. This includes
advertising the event, warning people that they should be suitably dressed for the shore and checking
tide times and heights. The starting point needs to be conspicuous but sheltered. Site managers should
also be prepared to cancel the walk or provide wet weather alternatives.

Walks should not be too long (one-and-a-half hours is suitable) and regular stopping points, for
example around a rock pool, are a useful part of the event, allowing people to catch up. Stops enable
the site manager to ensure that everyone gets a chance to look at particular features. Safety is an
important consideration on shore walks and this may require some administrative back-up in the form of
insurance.

A torch-lit, night-time expedition on an accessible rocky shore on a summer's evening is an exciting


alternative, as different creatures come out at night and glow in the torch-light. These events must be
carefully supervised and are only suitable for adults and accompanied children.

Equipment
Posters or leaflets need to be circulated in advance to advertise guided walks. No special equipment is
required during the walk but "bug boxes", buckets, trays and a spade are useful. If you wish to carry
identification guides and other small pieces of equipment you may want to put them in a “ranger
rucksack” in which you should also carry a first-aid kit.

Personnel
The guide needs to have a basic knowledge of the area and an idea of what is likely to be encountered.
Major topics could be selected by the site manager but interaction with visitors should be encouraged
and, consequently, there will inevitably be questions on items found during the walk. It is useful to have
a number of helpers on a walk, particularly if more than twenty people turn up. However, one of the
main problems with this type of event is that, unless a booking system operates, it is not possible to
predict how many people will wish to take part.

Policy
Site managers must ensure that other shore-users are not unduly disturbed by the guided shore walk, and
that the participants do not damage the site.

Finance
Guided shore walks are inexpensive to run, especially if there is already a guided walks programme at
the site. Costs include payment for the guide and advertising. This could be recouped if participants are
asked to contribute to the site management fund.

37
Fitting into the existing programme for a site
Many coastal sites already run a guided walks programme, making it fairly easy to develop the marine
theme using this technique. Initially, perhaps, only part of a walk needs to highlight the marine aspects,
e.g. whilst crossing a beach as part of a walk on another theme. As the site manager builds up expertise,
marine theme walks can become a regular part of the guided walks programme.

GUIDED SHORE WALKS


ADVANTAGES LIMITAIONS
Timetable to own convenience Unpredictable audience size
Inexpensive Skilled personnel required
Few materials required Requires advance planning
Rewarding Preparation and advertising
Opportunity to distribute materials Influenced by weather
Can be used for fund raising
Audience can regulate contact
Audience can ask questions
Flexible

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE 
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

38
SELF-GUIDED TRAILS
Self-guided trails have been set up at many sites to allow visitors to explore areas at their own speed
whilst following a suggested route and referring to notes that point out features of interest. The absence
of footpaths on the seashore means that routes would have to be more flexible but self-guided trails are
still possible.

Audience
Trails are generally used by slightly more adventurous visitors to a site and would, therefore, appeal to
a limited audience.

Logistics
The advantage of a self-guided trail on the seashore is that no paths need to be maintained to keep it
open. This means that the route can only be described in general terms but it needs to be carefully
thought out so as not to cross sensitive habitats or take people into dangerous areas, for example where
there are unstable boulders. Any trail leaflet or panel must emphasise which states of the tide are
favourable for doing the walk and should take people across areas where there is the least possibility of
getting cut off by the tide. This is a major safety consideration when promoting this type of event. The
legal implications of producing a self-guided trail leaflet for the seashore must therefore be examined
closely before this technique is used.

The idea of a self-guided trail can be extended beyond those who use the shore. For example trail notes
could be produced for canoeists or yachtsmen. After the initial work of suggesting a route and writing
the notes for a self-guided trail, the site manager need have little further involvement.

Equipment
Self guided trails usually operate through the use of leaflets, although this can combine well with a
series of panels at key points on the trail. Trail markers are also often needed.

Personnel
No personnel are required to run and oversee self-guided trails on the seashore.

Policy
The safety aspect of self-guided trails across the shore and at sea is likely to have policy implications
and needs to be examined in advance. Most trail notes include a disclaimer pointing out that visitors
follow the trail at their own risk.

Finance
The costs for self-guided trails relate to the production of the trail leaflet, trail markers and any trail
panels. Some of the costs can be recouped if there is a charge for the notes.

Fitting into the existing programe for a site


There are few problems with adding the idea of a marine self-guided trail to a site which already
produces trail notes. The major consideration may relate to insurance.

39
SELF-GUIDED TRAILS
ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Visitor determines pace Route can only be general across the shore
No personnel needed Difficult to cover safety aspects
Can direct visitors away from sensitive areas Appeals to limited audience

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

40
UNDERWATER TRAILS
Underwater trails have been set up for divers and snorkellers in a number of countries. The majority of
these have been in areas of clear warm water, although the idea has recently been tried in the U.K.
Underwater nature trails encourage divers and snorkellers to look at marine life. They can be
particularly useful in this role if visitors to the trail are encouraged to take down identification boards or
are taken around with a guide who points out items of interest. Underwater archaeology trails can be
used to interpret cultural history and shipwrecks.

Audience
Underwater trails are only suitable for SCUBA divers and snorkellers and therefore reach a limited
audience.

Logistics
Underwater trails need to be carefully sited. Ideally they should be easily accessible from the shore,
sheltered from wave action and the predominant wind direction, in a reasonable depth of water but not
too shallow, and in an area where there is a reasonably good variety of marine habitats and species. One
of the problems which has been associated with underwater trails in the tropics is that regular use by
many visitors tends to damage the coral communities along the trails. The kelp forest communities of
the U.K. will be more resistant to this type of damage which, in any case, is likely to be insignificant if
compared to the damage which can result from stormy weather.

There are many ways of setting down permanent markers for the trail and the technique chosen will
depend on the equipment, expertise and time available. The entire route can be marked using a glow
line, for example. It is important to produce back-up material for an underwater trail. For example,
species identification cards or leaflets describing the habitat types or archaeology along the trail could
be made available to those wishing to use the route. This will encourage people to look around them
whilst following the trail, rather than merely using it as an obstacle course to be followed.

Safety aspects are important for underwater trails and need to be taken into account when locating and
marking the trail. However, all information material about the trail should specify that visitors use the
trail at their own risk.

Equipment
Underwater trails can be marked with the minimum of sophisticated equipment but the technique used
will depend on the time, expertise and equipment available. Once set up they will need to be maintained
and, depending on the location, it may be appropriate to remove buoys and any guide ropes during
winter. Signs or markers along the trail will become quickly fouled by marine growth. Harmless,
fouling resistant materials can be obtained but are expensive. The materials used to mark the trail
should be considered expendable as there are bound to be losses whilst setting the system up, as the
result of disturbance from storms and use by divers. A suitable waterproof leaflet or set of plastic cards
will be needed to interpret items of interest on the trail.

Personnel
Divers are needed to set up the trail and, once it is in place, regular checks will need to be made. Any
accompanying materials need to be designed by people who know the area well so as to ensure there is
a good possibility of visitors observing the items described. It is helpful to have a diving site manager
available to answer visitors' queries about the route and, if requested, to take visitors around the trail. If
this is popular, guided tours could become a regular feature of the site.

Policy
Managers of the site will need to consider whether they wish to encourage diving in the area. This can
lead to conflicts with other visitors because of the amount of equipment divers bring on to a site and the
need to change out of diving suits in public areas. Suggested "kitting-up" areas away from the general
public will avoid this problem.

41
Finance
The equipment required to set up an underwater trail can be low cost, but divers' time to set it up must
also be considered in the budget. Materials to be used on a trail will be more expensive than standard
leaflets as they will need to be waterproof

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


Underwater nature trails will be a totally new concept at the majority of sites. They require a
commitment to interpreting the marine environment and, although similar in approach to trails on land,
they will be a new addition to most site programmes.

UNDERWATER TRAILS
ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Encourages observation Limited audience
Active involvement Site limited
Accompanying material provides guidance Expertise to set up
Very strict health and safety regulations
Site damage potential

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

BOAT TRIPS

42
Site managers are already involved in taking visitors out on boat trips at a number of coastal sites. The
tours usually concentrate on looking at bird or seal colonies but additional topics can be included.
Boat trips can be especially valuable in providing a different perspective for the visitor, and can be used
to emphasise that the coastal zone needs to be thought of as a unit. This highlights that what we do on
land has a very direct effect on inshore waters, both in terms of scenery and other impacts. Boat trips
can also help build up an appreciation of the marine environment, for example using the "plankton
trawl" and "submerged object" techniques described later.

Audience
Boat trips appeal to a wide audience but can be unsuitable for the eldery, infirm or very small children.

Logistics
The easiest way of running boat trips is to hire a suitable local vessel for the day. It is best to use local
skippers and encourage them to participate in the tour, for example by giving visitors an idea of what it
is like to sail in the area. If possible the same vessel and skipper should be used for a programme of
boat tours. Boat hire needs to be arranged well in advance, along with the times of the tours so that they
coincide with favourable tides.Due to the costs involved the tours need to be well advertised and, where
possible, tickets sold in advance. A suitable route must be arranged with the skipper, along with poor
weather alternatives, if possible. However there is always the possibility that trips may have to be
cancelled and there is no way of planning for this eventuality. Small boats are usually only licensed to
carry small numbers of passengers (less than twelve), therefore limiting the tour group size.

Equipment
On a hired boat tour, all relevant equipment (e.g. life jackets) should be supplied but this must be
confirmed. The site manager may need to bring additional equipment if activities such as plankton
trawls are to be run or touch tanks set up on board.

Personnel
A reliable local skipper is needed to run boat tours and the guide on board also needs to have a good
knowledge of the area. If specialist tours are being planned, experts can be brought in to guide the
event.

Policy
Site managers must ensure that tours do not disturb other sea-users. If visitors are taken to bird colonies
or seal haul-out sites, it is important to keep a reasonable distance so as not to disturb the wildlife.
Insurance is essential also passenger and mooring licences.

Finance
Boat hire can be expensive but the costs can be recouped by charging visitors for a tour. This is an
acceptable way of running boat trips but may deter some visitors from participating.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


At sites where boat trips are already offered as an activity, it is straightforward to gradually build up the
amount of marine information and conservation which is promoted. This could start with a few
specialist tours, e.g. a fishing heritage tour which takes in a local fishing ground and includes
demonstrations of fishing equipment, or "floating marine life" tours to look at plankton.

43
BOAT TRIPS

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS

Can get nearer some species and features seen Cannot see what is in water
from shore Weather-determined
Captive audience Boat size
Good for showing coastal issues (shore Safety
development) High charges
Good for giving overview of land/sea as a unit Booked in advance
Novel for many people Visitors may get seasick
Can incorporate other techniques
Opportunity for local boat owner involvement
Shows financial return from conservation

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

44
GLASS-BOTTOMED BOATS
This technique is used frequently in the tropics where clear water allows good visibility. Glass
bottomed boats allow visitors to view the marine world directly, which can be a very exciting
experience.

Logistics
Glass-bottomed boats are most suitable in clear, fairly shallow waters but are likely to make passengers
seasick if used in choppy seas. To allow good viewing the boat should be kept as still as possible once
over the site, or moved very gradually. Glass-sided boats are becoming more popular as they provide a
better position for viewing. This technique will be limited to appropriate parts of the U.K. where the
water is frequently clear, e.g. the Isles of Scilly or in The Fleet, in Dorset.

Equipment
Glass-bottomed boats need to be specially designed.

Personnel
The boat crew need to be skilled in pointing out interesting features and answering questions.

Policy
Site managers must ensure that tours do not disturb other sea-users. If visitors are taken to bird colonies
or seal haul-out sites, it is important to keep a reasonable distance so as not to disturb the wildlife.
Insurance is essential, also passenger and mooring licences. You will need to decide if, and how much,
you are going to charge visitors for a trip.

Finance
This is a costly technique. Glass bottomed boats will need to be operated on a commercial basis, and
their use will be restricted in the UK.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


Glass-bottomed boat tours will add another dimension to existing coastal and marine interpretation.
Some planning time will be needed to ensure that this technique is fully incorporated into the existing
programme for a site.

45
GLASS-BOTTOMED BOATS
ADVANTAGES LIMITATION

Shows non-diving visitors underwater world Costly


Non-destructive Weather limited
Can take large numbers of visitors Poor visibility limits sites
Some visitors may suffer sea sickness

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern ✓
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help ✓
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance ✓
Personal contact ✓

Notes:

46
SPECIALIST ACTIVITIES

GAMES
Games can be used to engage children in fun activites which have important underlying messages. The
opportunity for games to promote marine conservation can be high. The "Sunship Earth" series is a
good example which can be adapted to apply to the marine environment.

Audience
Games are a good way of encouraging children to look at the marine environment and learn something
about the way it works and the need to look after it.

Logistics
Games require supervision and this role should be taken on by someone who is good at communicating
with children. The games need to be designed to use the resources of the site, and should be planned in
advance to ensure that a conservation message is included. Safety aspects will need to be considered by
the site manager if children are to be encouraged to explore the seashore.

Equipment
As little equipment as possible should be used to run games. In many cases a notebook and pencil for
each participant may be all that is required. At some sites, site managers may send out a Teacher's Pack
to school groups planning a visit to the site. This could include suggested games that could be run by
the teacher during the visit. In this situation, "games sheets" would need to be printed for circulation.

Personnel
A supervisor is required to run the games. This may be the teacher who accompanies a school group to
the site or the site manager.

Policy
There are few policy implications of running a games event on the shore, although safety aspects will
need to be considered.

Finance
Games are low cost events which could be incorporated into the work of the site manager.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


Games with a marine theme can be easily incorporated into the existing programme for a site.
The marine theme can be brought in gradually and there are few costs involved in using this method.

47
GAMES

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS

Fun way to introduce ideas Advance preparation


Can be directed to specific topics Should be supervised
Direct involvement Limited audience (usually children only)
Few materials or equipment requirements

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

48
PROJECTS
Projects can be designed specifically to increase awareness of the marine environment and can,
therefore, be an effective technique. Examples include nationwide projects such as the Marine
Conservation Society's BeachWatch marine litter survey, local Wildlife Watch projects and special
projects such as Young Scientists at the Seashore .

Audience
In general, projects are undertaken by groups, for example from clubs and schools. The audience can be
limited as they are generally only taken up by people who already have an interest in the topic.

Logistics
Projects range from those which only require input in the form of instructions sent out to interested
groups, to those which require supervision at the site. The topic and the way it is to be tackled must be
thought out carefully, as the information can be used by the site manager to help site management, if it
has been collected sensibly.

Equipment
Projects which require the least amount of equipment are more likely to be taken up. In all cases the
equipment requirements should be kept as simple as possible.

Personnel
A project supervisor needs to be in charge of setting up the project, collating the results and providing
feedback to the participants.

Policy
Projects can be set up to help policy decisions by collecting information on topics that need to be
investigated.

Finance
Projects need not be expensive as the participants usually work on a voluntary basis.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


This requires committment but can be set up once the site manager has developed an expertise in the
topic.

49
PROJECTS

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS

Enables people to feel involved Needs co-ordination


Can be very specific Complex issues cannot be covered
Geared to target audience Good publicity needed for large
Can help site management involvement
Can bring a national dimension into a local project

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

50
COMMUNITY CHESTS
A ‘Community Chest’ is a box containing a series of materials which are used as a teaching aid and for
exploration activities. They are a novel way of interpreting the environment and act as a pool of
resources which can be used by any community group. The chests are very versatile in that resources
used and related activities are planned to be appropriate to the particular audience and themes and
messages you wish to cover. This technique provides a hands-on experience and a fun way of learning
about the marine environment and all its related issues.

Audience
This technique will appeal to a wide variety of community groups. For example, “mums and toddlers”
groups, old age pensioners, people with disabilities, church groups, scouts/guides, special needs groups.
The chests can also be used by schools. The activities and resources used can be chosen to appeal to
any audience.

Logistics
It is advisable to locate and register the Chests with community group organisers, for example Local
Authority community Services, where they can choose which resources to use. Existing programmes
have developed handbooks to accompany the Chests, to make it easier for the community group
organisers to find the appropriate items for the audience, the themes and messages they want to cover
and the relevant activities which can be organised. Training programmes provide an extension of the
handbooks, to ensure the most effective use of the resources.

Equipment
A Chest can essentially be a plastic box purchased from a D.I.Y store. It could contain a selection of
books, videos, tapes and artefacts, e.g items from the shore, or replaceable items from local museum
collections, which are collected together to enable practical activities for a wide range of groups. A
handbook usually accompanies the Chest, which provides advice for group or activity leaders on the
effective use of the materials.

Personnel
Staff or volunteers are needed to organise and set up the Community Chests and to act as a source of
advice and assistance for those using the Chests. Consultants can be employed to gather all possible
resources, from which the relevant items are chosen to be included in the Chests. Further staff time will
be necessary when updating and replacing resources. Some staff time is necessary for any valuable
items in the chests.

Policy
Insurance for the contents of the chest is the main policy requirement of this technique.

Finance
The cost of creating a Community Chest is variable but generally low (not including staff time).
There are further expenses for handbooks and training courses.

Fitting into an existing programme for a site


This technique is often requested by various community groups, for occasional events. Due to the
nature of the technique, it would fit in well within an organised programme of events at a particular site.
The resources and activities used could be chosen to complement existing interpretation on a site.

51
COMMUNITY CHESTS

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS

Brings the marine environment to people Needs good organisation and commitment on
Resources and activities are modified to suit the behalf of the community groups
the audience Regular contact is important between the
Specialist staff can be involved organisers and the community groups to
Often provides the first contact with the ensure the effective use of the resources
coastal and marine environment
Materials are easy to transport
Resources are easily modified and updated
Very hands-on

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION
TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

52
TRAVELLING EXHIBITIONS AND MOBILE ACTIVITY CENTRES
Travelling exhibitions and activity centres are a popular and effective way to take interpretation off-site.
Once developed, they can tour the local area, visiting libraries, museums, schools and community
centres.

Audience
These techniques will appeal to a variety of audiences. Existing exhibitions or activity centres provide
facilities for a variety of community groups such as schools and people with special needs. The main
emphasis falls on children and young people, but they are also very appropriate to other age groups.

Equipment

• Travelling Exhibitions

A basic travelling exhibition will normally be based around a series of panels, either free-standing or
table top. Additional features such as touch tanks can be incorporated where space allows at individual
host venues. The content and various other props will be determined by the theme and objectives of the
exhibition.

The exhibition must be easy to transport, erect and dismantle.

• Mobile Activity Centres

An old bus, van or caravan is ideal for a mobile activity centre. A pool of educational equipment and
resources are needed, which can be designed and made in-house or brought in from other sources.
Artefacts and materials may be loaned from museums. Materials can include interpretive panels, books,
cassette tapes and player, games, drawing and painting equipment, geological specimens. Worktop
space is very important. Equipment is often based on a nature or craft theme.

Personnel
Both techniques require a production team, an administrator to make bookings etc, activity leaders, and
a driver with the mobile activity centre. This technique lends itself well to the training of individuals
interested in working with community groups and often involves volunteers.

Policy
Insurance and security are the main policy implications for these techniques. It is advisable to have a
specific policy to cover the security of items, specifically with the travelling exhibitions. This should
cover loss and damage. Museums often have insurance/policy regulations regarding the loan of
artefacts.

Finance
Travelling exhibitions can be expensive to set up. There are the usual costs involved when producing an
exhibition, plus the added costs of transport. The costs can however, be shared between host venues.

Mobile activity centres are also relatively expensive to set up. Second hand vehicles are often used, for
example re-fitted ex-public transport buses. Contingency plans need to be developed for those
unexpected major repairs.

It is usual to charge groups to participate or use the facilities, which help cover the running costs and
maintenance of equipment. Insurance and security of artefacts add to the costs.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


Due to the mobile nature of these technique, they are used as occasional events within an existing
programme. They fit in well and can be arranged to complement existing interpretation on a particular
site.

53
TRAVELLING EXHIBITIONS
AND MOBILE ACTIVITY CENTRES

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Takes the marine environment to people Expensive
A wider audience is reached Insurance and security
Can be modified to suit the particular Need to charge for hosting venues and
audience or size of venue visitors for facilities to cover various costs
Specialist staff , volunteers and helpers can Space limitations at some venues may reduce
be involved visitor experience
Materials are versatile Can be vehicle maintenance problems,
Costs of production can be shared by the incurring major costs
hosting venues
Majority of materials can be produced in-
house
Easy to change/modify exhibits
Very hands-on, interactive
Can organise workshops in conjunction with
museums

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

54
SOME TECHNIQUES THAT CAN BE USED DURING OTHER ACTIVITIES

DIRECT VIEWING
There are a number of techniques which can be used to improve direct viewing of marine life on the
beach. These are particularly helpful aids to guided shore walks and include perspex bottomed trays for
looking in deep rock pools, periscopes for looking beneath overhangs in pools, "bug boxes" for
magnifying small animals in the field, and formica boards for displaying seaweeds. Direct viewing
reinforces the idea that it is possible to observe marine life in its natural environment, rather than
removing plants and animals from the shore.

Audience
These techniques can be widely used and are therefore suitable for many audiences.

Logistics
Some of the direct viewing techniques are most suitable for particular types of shore, e.g. areas with
ledges or sites with deep rock pools. However the majority can be used on most beaches.

Equipment
Most of the equipment needed for direct viewing can be easily made by the site manager.

Personnel
Direct viewing techniques are best used during guided shore walks or whilst the site manager is on the
beach talking to visitors. Consequently, there will always be someone on hand to explain how to use
them and to direct people to suitable sites.

Policy
There are no policy implications of using this technique.

Finance
The examples of direct viewing techniques mentioned here are all low cost.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


These techniques can be incorporated easily into the interpretation programme at a site.

55
DIRECT VIEWING

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Encourages people to look closely Need to be made by the site manager
Easy to operate Best used by one person at a time
Low cost
Fun to use
Portable
Can be used as part of other techniques,
e.g.walks, boat tours

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

TOUCH TANKS

56
Touch tanks give people an opportunity to have a close look at living marine animals. They can either
be set up permanently inside a visitor centre, or used as temporary interpretation aids on the beach or
foreshore. It is important to ensure that any animals are not overcrowded and that they are returned to
the shore. Some control over the amount of handling of the animals may also be necessary. Site
managers should be aware that touch tanks can be detrimental if they encourage people to set up their
own systems without the knowledge and expertise to look after the animals.

Audience
Touch tanks appeal to a wide audience and are especially popular with children.

Logistics
Usually large numbers of people are attracted to touch tanks. This can cause considerable logistical
problems if the tanks are not properly sited and can also stress the animals through over-handling.
Consequently, careful thought must be given to the setting up of touch tanks: they need to be manned at
all times; there should be some rotation of animals handled; only relatively hardy species should be
used; and the animals need to be returned to the shore when the display is dismantled.

The system must be well aerated and there should be a firm surface on which to place the tanks. The
area around a touch tank will get wet so it should be set up away from anything which is likely to get
damaged by water.

Touch tanks are a useful addition to boat trips, allowing animals to be caught and viewed before
returning them to the sea.

Equipment
The simplest touch tank only requires a good viewing chamber and an aeration system. More elaborate
facilities might have a number of tanks with shallow trays on which to examine the animals, and deeper
tanks allowing the animals to be observed underwater.

It is also helpful to put up a display near the tank to give visitors some background on the animals and a
conservation message about not disturbing their natural habitats. This may also help to reduce crowding
around the tank.

Personnel
Touch tanks must be manned at all times by a site manager or volunteer who can point out some of the
basic features of the animals and answer questions from the public. Where possible the site manager
should try and provide information about the behaviour of the animals in their natural environment and
promote a conservation message.

Policy
Touch tanks must be well managed as they often use living animals. They are extremely popular with
visitors and are a valuable way of building up an awareness of marine life around our shores, but it may
be inappropriate to use this technique at some sites.

Finance
Touch tanks need not be expensive to set up and maintain, but they must be permanently manned.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


It is fairly easy to incorporate temporary touch tanks into an existing programme, if someone with a
basic knowledge of the animals is available to oversee its use and if there is a suitable place to set it up.
Permanent displays should be viewed as a longer-term possibility.

57
TOUCH TANKS

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Animals can be seen close up and underwater Handling of living animals
Sublittoral species can be used Manned at all times
Involves the visitor Well aerated
First-hand experience
Questions can be answered
Living animals

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

TOUCH BOX AND TOUCH TABLE


A touch box/table works on the same principle as a touch tank but does not include living animals.
Instead it contains items such as shells, rock and fossil specimens and drift material.

58
Touch boxes/tables are less appealing than touch tanks. Nevertheless, they set a good example for
conservation by highlighting that it is possible to learn more about the sea and the life it contains, in a
way which does not cause any damage.

Audience
Touch boxes/tables appeal to a wide audience and can also be used to give partially-sighted people an
idea of seashore and offshore marine life.

Logistics
A touch box/table does not need to be permanently manned but it is worthwhile for someone to be
present to provide more information on the items it contains. The box/table needs to be checked
regularly to ensure it is in good condition and to introduce fresh material. It should be placed on a flat
surface, and backed by a display board which explains something about the items contained in the
box/table.

Equipment
Apart from the box/table and backing display material, no other equipment is required to set up a touch
box. It is a very flexible idea as material can be selected to suit a particular audience or highlight a
specific topic. There is no problem with breakdown of equipment but items may be lost from the box so
the site manager should keep some back-up materials available.

Personnel
It is preferable to have someone on site to answer questions about the items on display in a touch box.

Policy
There are few policy implications of setting up a touch box/table as a method of providing people with
more information about the seashore.

Finance
The touch box/table is a very low cost technique of building up awareness of the marine environment. It
need not cost anything!

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


It is very easy to add the idea of a touch box/table to an existing programme. The technique also has the
advantage of being portable and can therefore be set up and dismantled as required and moved to
different sites. Because the contents of the box/table are selected by the site manager an emphasis on
marine items can be built up gradually, as the site manager becomes more familiar with this theme.

59
TOUCH BOX AND TABLE

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Way of approaching people Not as exciting as live animals
Easy to set up Needs base to lay out
Brings beach to people Regular check/re-stock
Can include items which are often Must be in suitable place
overlooked, e.g underwater or buried
Informal
Flexible
Controllable
Portable
Not much expertise required
Good conservation message
Can be unmanned
Needs accompanying information
Encourages people to look on beach

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

60
PLANKTON TRAWLS
Plankton trawls can be carried out from the shore or from a boat and can use specialist or home-made
equipment. They can be effective at building up an appreciation of the marine environment as both the
technique and the items collected are unusual for most visitors. Looking at plankton emphasises the
interaction between marine organisms, through food webs, and the importance of good water quality.

Audience
Collecting and looking at plankton will appeal to a wide audience.

Logistics
Small-scale plankton trawls from a boat are straightforward but need to be done with care, so as not to
foul the boat. If this technique is used from the shore, the net needs to be thrown from a good
promontory. The plankton need to be viewed on location if the trawl is part of a boat trip, whereas the
viewing set-up can be at a nearby base, if plankton trawls are carried out from the shore.

Equipment
Home-made plankton nets can be used for this technique. Viewing tanks, suitable lighting and binocular
microscopes will also be required.

Personnel
The site manager should preferably be practised in collecting plankton samples and will need to set up
the viewing tanks/microscopes. Some basic identification skills will also be required.

Policy
There should not be any policy implications from running this technique.

Finance
Plankton trawls are low cost. The most expensive part is the provision of a microscope for viewing.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


This technique could be incorporated into an existing programme of boat tours or shore walks but the
site manager should practice the technique in advance. Spring and autumn plankton bloom periods
would be the best time to use this idea.

61
PLANKTON TRAWLS

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Novel Equipment required
Inexpensive Can be site limited
Sample a good range of species
Shows interdependence

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

62
SUBMERGED OBJECTS
At some sites, site managers can use the idea of raising specially placed submerged objects from the sea
bed to show visitors the type of marine life to be found in the area.

The appeal of this technique is that it can show visitors living marine animals without the necessity for
an aquarium and allows them to be replaced in situ. This helps to build up an appreciation for the
marine environment and an awareness of the sort of life it contains. There is also the excitement factor
as the object is recovered.

Audience
This technique can be used for any audience.

Logistics
Raising submerged objects is best done from a boat or the end of a pier, allowing the submerged objects
to be placed in reasonably deep water. The objects should be kept fairly small so they can be raised by
an individual and designed to allow marine species to cling onto it. An old milk crate with a few stones
and small rocks inside are an example. This can be set up by divers if they are available, and, when
raised, the whole tray could be submerged in a tank of seawater allowing observation.

Submerged objects must be buoyed and kept out of shipping lanes, trawling grounds and other areas
where they may provide a hazard. Loss rates may be high as buoys and lines can be stolen.

Equipment
The submerged object could be anything from a tyre to an anchor or lobster pot. A milk crate with a few
stones (placed inside from the surrounding area by divers) could be used. A visible buoy and suitable
line are required.

Policy
As long as the objects are small, appropriately located and do not provide a hazard, there should be no
policy implications of using this technique.

Finance
There are few costs involved in setting up this system.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


This technique is easiest to develop and use if boat trips are part of the programme of events offered at
a site. The submerged objects need to be positioned some weeks in advance of a trip to allow
settlement, but ideally much longer. If a number are used they can be rotated.

63
SUBMERGED OBJECTS

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Non-destructive Best done from a boat
Reusable Prepare in advance
Can show living animals Must not disturb too often
Few materials required Careful siting
Technique for boat trip Cannot be certain what will be brought up
Some maintenance required

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

64
SECTION 3: SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

AQUARIA
An aquarium is a very effective way of showing people marine diversity. It allows visitors to observe
marine life in something approximating the natural environment, and also to discover some of the
deeper water species which they might only see if snorkelling or diving.

Audience
People with very wide-ranging interests tend to be attracted to an aquarium. It will also hold their
attention for some time as they usually enjoy watching the animals move and feed in the tank.

Logistics
Any permanent aquarium needs to be sited carefully in a position which allow groups of people to look
into the tank and, at the same time, provide conditions suitable for the animals (e.g.out of direct
sunlight). The area around the aquarium is a "wet zone" so other displays should not be too close
unless they are waterproofed.

Careful thought needs to be given to the animals placed in the tank (fairly hardy and a compatible
mixture) and continual maintenance is required to ensure that the animals remain healthy or are
replenished regularly. At some sites it may be possible to set up a temporary aquarium, perhaps for a
day, whilst the site manager is on site.

Equipment
Apart from the tank, an aeration system, temperature control and suitable base are needed to set up an
aquarium. These can all be purchased fairly easily. Ideally, sea water should be pumped directly from
the sea, but this is not always feasible.

Personnel
There is no need to man an aquarium at all times if it is set up in a way which prevents visitors
disturbing the animals or the system. However there is much to be gained by the occasional person on
site to talk to the visitors about the marine life.

Policy
Some site managers may not be in favour of using living animals in displays and it is important that
aquaria are only set up if they can be well maintained. Dead and dying animals in a tank will result in
the public complaining about the facility and will not reflect well on your organisation.

Finance
The cost of setting up an aquarium need not be particularly high and will depend on the size and degree
of refinement you would like to provide.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


A temporary aquarium can be set up fairly easily at most coastal sites if some form of shelter, such as an
interpretation centre, is available. For a more permanent feature, most areas can be designed to take an
aquarium, as long as there is space and no problems if the area gets wet.

65
AQUARIA

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Animals can be seen close up and underwater Must be carefully set up
Sublittoral species can be used Must be monitored
Living animals Some background knowledge required
Animal behaviour can be observed Animals may not survive
No need for full-time supervision

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

66
FILM AND SLIDE-TAPE SHOWS
This technique is an audio-visual medium where moving images are projected onto a screen, these
images are supported by sound via speakers. The overall effect is a theatre-like atmosphere. Film or
slide-tape shows can introduce a site’s history, wildlife and any other subjects or messages you wish to
convey to visitors.

Film or slide shows can generate interest and enthusiasm because visitors can be shown all the inter-
related aspects of the coastal and marine environment using footage or items that will not be possible
using other methods. A member of staff available for questions after a show can reinforce the issues
raised.

Audience
This technique will appeal to a wide audience. Film or slide-tape shows can involve large groups of
visitors at any one time. Extra consideration in the planning process is needed to ensure people with
disabilities are fully engaged in this technique. Manoeuvring space for people who use wheelchairs,
sub-titles, and induction loops can all be used

Logistics
The filming and photography for a show can be produced in-house using a standard video or stills
camera to reduce costs. Editing and the creation of the soundtrack can also be done in-house or
professionally.

Film shows

A film show is produced on VHS video tape and can be played either on a television screen with video
player, or projected onto a screen using a video projector. Images and sound are included together on
the one tape.

Slide-tape shows

There are three groups of slide-tape systems. These are:


1. single projector arrangement
2. twin projector arrangement, which allows fading from one slide to another
3. multi-image system, where three or more projectors are used. This system is the more sophisticated
as it enables fading, overlay and good continuity of images

The sound track, whether music or commentary, is played from a cassette on a normal Hi-Fi system
(with twin cassette). A second cassette is used to initiate a series of switches which can control any
number of different effects or actions, such as lighting, animation, smells, vapour clouds or any other
gadget which can be electronically controlled. These effects are applied in sequence to the commentary.

When planning this technique, you need to think about; the effects required on the screen, the degree of
automation required in the presentation, the size of the auditorium and audience, sound requirements,
ease of constant maintenance. A show must be short and to the point: 12-15 minutes is normally
enough.

Equipment
The basic equipment required for this technique includes:
Projectors (slide carousels or video projector)
Screen, to project images onto
Hi-Fi system with twin tape deck, to play the sound effects and commentary
Speakers and amplifiers
Electronic programmer

Other equipment will also be needed to produce the show.

Personnel

67
Staff are needed to start the running of a show, checking the equipment occasionally to ensure it is
running properly. Decisions need to be made on the way the shows are run, i.e. continuously or at set
times, this will affect the numbers of staff involved. Personnel may need some technical knowledge to
deal with occasional technical fault.

Policy
Security and insurance are the main policy implications for this technique.

Finance
This technique can be relatively expensive, costing several thousand pounds! It is possible however, to
keep costs lower by completing the filming and commentary in-house, maybe only using professionals
to do the editing and final touches. Insurance will add to costs.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


A substantial amount of planning time is required to ensure this technique fits in well with existing
programmes. Space for audience seating is one of the main requirements. Otherwise, film or slide-tape
shows should fit in well with an existing programme for a site.

FILM AND SLIDE-TAPE SHOWS

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Familiar medium Equipment can be expensive
Easy to maintain Ocassional mechanical faults, i.e. the
Good for putting messages across and synchronisation of the projectors can go
creating interest wrong
Can show visitors items that cannot be held in Need adequate security for equipment
a visitor centre Need to decide how and when to run the
Can be left virtually unsupervised, i.e. left to shows
run on a continuous loop system Needs to be short and snappy

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

HYDROPHONES
68
Hydrophones are remote listening devices or underwater microphones which are used to pick up noises
from the marine environment. This technique which uses high technology equipment offers visitors a
whole new perspective not available with any other method. It can be relayed live or pre-recorded and
used with boat trips and underwater video and even innovative displays in visitor centres. Systems can
be developed within a range of cost brackets and need not be prohibitively expensive.

Hydrophones offer the chance for visitors to experience the environment from a completely different
stance, encouraging the use of senses often neglected. They are used to recognise and differentiate
between ship sounds and dolphin sounds for example. This is a very good method to illustrate the
possible effects of man's use of the marine environment. Opportunities for interpretation are endless.

Audience
This technique, although quite a challenge to the interpreter, will appeal to a wide audience, including
those involved in research. Due to its novelty appeal and its use of high technology it can effectively
encourage an interest in those who previously had little concern or understanding of the marine
environment.

Logistics
Hydrophones can be fixed or portable. Fixed hydrophones are usually sited approximately several
hundred metres out from the shore in at least 10 metres of water on a 2m high metal tripod. They will
need to be in sheltered positions and adequately weighted! The cable needs to be fixed to the seabed
and of suitable marine quality so can be very expensive. A receiver (similar to a radio) is needed on
shore to pick up the signals received and an oscilloscope can be used to present the sounds in visual
form. The sounds received can then be interpreted and the origins identified. The results can be relayed
live or recorded using a normal tape-deck system. Portable hydrophones can be used from boats or
jetties and can be linked to recorders and amplifiers or headphones. Cable lengths of around 10m are
most practical. Underwater video cameras can be used to show where the hydrophone is and the objects
which are creating the sounds. Think carefully about maintenance issues before putting fixed
hydrophones in place.

Equipment
A range of electrical equipment is needed, including a hydrophone; a 3-band portable receiver;
speakers, oscilloscope, and relevant circuitory. Some of the equipment can be expensive so secure
storage needs to be available. Less expensive portable hydrophones only need to be attached to a
personal cassette recorder and amplifier, or headphones.

Personnel
For fixed systems experienced divers are needed to put the hydrophone in position. Operating staff and
interpreters need knowledge of basic physics and acoustics, local ship/boat activities, animal behaviour
and biology. Once the system is running, it is relatively easy to maintain, with the occasional dive
needed to check the equipment is in the right position and working properly. Interpreters can provide
explanations of the sounds during demonstrations in the centres where the sounds are transmitted.

Policy
It is necessary to ensure that the hydrophone will not be in a shipping lane or fishing area. Licensing for
the receiver needs to be checked, but there should be few problems.

Finance
The development stage can be quite expensive, but once set up, it is fairly cheap to maintain. The cost
of a portable hydrophone is about £300. Receivers, speakers, oscilloscopes, amplifiers and speakers
can add another £500.

Fitting into an existing programme for a site


Hydrophones will be a new technique for many sites and will therefore require special effort to be
incorporated into an existing programme. You may need to contact staff at other sites using
hydropohones to ensure that you can develop the appropriate expertise. However, interpretive
opportunities are vast as any form of presentation will be new and novel and can be very stimulating.

69
As this is a new technique a lot of work is still needed to interpret and understand the sounds that are
being received. Sites already using this technique tend to interpret the sounds as they understand them
and as a different way of experiencing the marine environment, whilst encouraging visitors to make
their own conclusions, essentially interpreting the sounds for themselves. Site managers have actually
found that this increases visitor appreciation and curiosity far more than simply being presented with the
answers. In many cases not even the interpreters know the answers themselves so visitors therefore feel
that they are involved with scientific research themselves.

HYDROPHONES

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Novelty appeal Needs an expert to set up equipment
Good wet weather activity Development stage can be expensive
Demonstrates different noises and levels of Needs trained/knowledgable staff
sound created underwater Visitors can feel disillusioned/disappointed if
Brings the marine environment to people there is nothing much to hear
Non-destructive
Can be used for research
Can be used with other techniques
Illustrates related aspects
Opportunity for visitors to experiment and
answer questions
Huge potential

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

70
VIDEO
Video camera systems are another high technology, remote technique to help put the visitor into the
marine environment. They can be very effective because they offer a unique experience without
disturbing wildlife or damaging the environment and also enable visitors to see aspects of the
environment they would not otherwise be able to access. Although using high technology they have
become increasingly affordable in recent years. Camera systems can be used both in the sea and on the
shore and can transmit live pictures or use pre-recorded and edited videos. A personal touch can be
added to the interpretation according to availability of staff. It is important that visitors are aware that
the images are either live or pre-recorded. Camera systems provide a sense of intimacy yet can be used
in environments sensitive and vulnerable to disturbance, or where access is difficult or dangerous. As
they are a hands-off approach visitors need to be able to appreciate that they are observing natural
behaviour.

a) UNDERWATER VIDEO
Video film is a very effective way of showing visitors the underwater world and of giving them a feel of
what the seashore looks like when the tide is in, or life in deeper water. It can be relayed live or by
using pre-recorded film.

Video film of the underwater world can help to build up appreciation of the marine environment. It is
one of the few ways of showing this environment to visitors who cannot go snorkelling or SCUBA
diving. The non-destructive technique is also an example of conservation in action and provides an
opportunity to promote this to the public.

Audience
This technique will appeal to a wide audience.

Logistics
The camera will be linked up to a television screen which will need to be sited indoors in a place where
it can be viewed by many people. It can be viewed on the water’s edge, but the screen will need to be
shaded.

a) Temporary transmission
Footage can be relayed live to a screen on the shore. Visitors can then observe divers taking down the
equipment as well as watching the images relayed live. This technique could also be used on boat trips.
Live video needs to be run from sites which allow divers easy access to the water and include a suitable
place nearby on the shore for the information to be transmitted to visitors. Fairly large groups can be
catered for but, because the event cannot be run continuously, the times of the events must be
advertised. Equipment can be obtained to allow communication between the divers and observers on
shore.

b) Regular transmission
Live transmission can be established as a regular feature in a visitor centre where footage can be relayed
from a camera situated on a permanent base.

c) Pre-recorded
When live transmission is not appropriate, pre-recorded footage is an excellent alternative.The film can
then be shown at any time, for example on a continuous loop in an interpretation centre. This technique
can also be used to show general underwater film of the British Isles if it is not possible to have the
local area filmed.

Equipment
Live Transmission: Specialist equipment in the form of underwater videos, underwater
communications, and a screen to relay the live video and sound are required. Diving equipment is also
required for those carrying out the filming. The equipment will have to be stored where it can be locked
away safely.

71
Pre-recorded: A standard video recorder and TV screen are needed to play back the video.
Personnel
LiveTransmission: Personnel skilled in SCUBA diving and the operation of underwater video are
required to run the system. Shore-based personnel will also be needed to communicate with the divers,
ensure the equipment is performing adequately, and ask the divers questions on behalf of the public
viewing the screen. They provide an important link between the visitor and the diver to ensure an
interactive experience. The portability of systems means that they can be used to set up temporary
displays on the shore or on piers yet more expensive systems can be linked directly to a visitor centre.

Pre-recorded: If the video is run on a continuous loop there will be no need to have someone to
monitor the presentation once it is started. However, regular checks should be made in case of
problems.

Policy
It is vital to ensure that the natural habitat of the species you are trying to observe is not disrupted in any
way.

Finance
Live Transmission: The specialist equipment required for this technique is costly but is becoming
more widely available. One possible source is oil companies who have such equipment and may be
interested in sponsoring the project.

Pre-recorded: Pre-recorded video is not as expensive, would take up less time at the site and specialist
personnel can be brought in to carry out the initial filming work. Once the film is available there would
be few running costs.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


Live underwater video will be a new technique for most sites and therefore will require special effort to
be incorporated into an existing programme. To introduce the idea, pre-recorded videos could be used
quite easily and eventually, if the site is suitable, live video could be relayed to visitors.

VIDEO

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Non-destructive Can be expensive
Experts can be brought in to set it up Skilled personnel if live
Opportunity to see marine life in natural Weather dependent if live
habitat Location dependent if live
Medium familiar to most visitors

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

72
b) CLIFF-TOP VIDEO CAMERAS
Cliff-top video cameras are very good at bringing otherwise unseen aspects of the coastal and marine
environment to the attention of visitors. Like underwater video, film can be relayed live or pre-
recorded. Video cameras located on cliffs are often used to watch coastal sea-birds in their natural
habitats. Where most visitors only see a fleeting glimpse of such birds with the naked eye or through
binoculars (often leading to frustration), these cameras enable visitors to see the birds close up and
study their features, making later identification much easier. This technique can also be used to study
man's use of the environment and the various interactions or effects. For example, the sounding of the
horn on a passing ship disturbing a colony, causing the birds to fly away from the cliff.

Audience
This technique will appeal to a wide audience.

Logistics
Locational requirements:
1. A firm anchorage which can be made in the cliff-face to which the camera bracket may be attached.
This can be done by bolting the bracket to the cliff or by concreting it into an existing crevice.
2. The camera needs to be well clear of waves to prevent it being ripped off the cliff
3. The control equipment is held in a dry environment and is not usually made available directly to the
public.

Maintenance:
The cameras are usually returned to the manufacturer for maintenance during the winter, where all
relevant checks are made to ensure that they are in excellent working order. Otherwise the day-to-day
running and maintenance of the equipment is quite easy.

Safety regulation:
The electrical installation of the equipment should comply with the latest IEE wiring regulations.
Specialist climbers are used to install and check the equipment. The cables and brackets down the cliff
face should be inspected at least once a year for signs of wear and replaced/repaired accordingly.

Pre-recorded:
Film can be recorded using a normal video machine and can then be put on continuous-loop in a visitor
centre. It may have been edited to ensure all important or interesting footage is shown in a short time
span, ensuring full visitor attention and thus successful fulfilment of objectives. Talks to groups of
visitors can then be planned to provide personal contact.

Live transmission:
The television monitor can be left on for visitor to watch as they please. Staff can be available to answer
questions. Equipment is provided, enabling staff to move the camera around to get different views. It is
advisable not to let visitors have control of this equipment unless supervised, as cables can get tied up,
etc. Again this can be used for a group or interested individuals. You are never sure what you are going
to see!

Equipment
A range of specialist filming equipment, including:

Heavy duty pan tilt unit


Large weather resistant housing c/w heater/de-mister IP65 rated
Lens washer and wiper unit
Telemetry receiver board
Colour CCD camera minimum 330TVL 20lux
Zoom lens 15 : 1 with a 20x zoom extender
Telemetry controller
Video recorder
Monitor or colour television

Personnel
73
Specialist companies and staff are usually required to construct and install the equipment. Minimal staff
training is required just to enable the effective use of the control box (telemetry controller). One
member of staff is needed to answer questions and control the camera during live transmission, but
otherwise, this is not a technique which requires a lot of personnel and time.

Policy
There are few policy implications for this technique.

Finance
A basic system using coaxial cable as the transmission medium costs several thousand pounds. The
price depends on location and how much of the cabling is done by volunteers. Systems can be rented
rather than bought - prices depend on the length of the rental contract and whether there is a purchase
agreement at the end of the contract. Once set up there are few running costs, unless repairs are needed.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


Similar to underwater video, this technique may be relatively new, so special effort is required to ensure
it fits in well. Opportunities for interpretation of this technique are vast.

CLIFF-TOP VIDEO CAMERAS

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS

Good wet-weather activity Can be expensive


Opportunity to see coastal life in natural Picture can be affected by bad weather
habitats not otherwise accessible to most Location dependent
visitors No sound on most cameras
Introduces wildlife to be found in and around Visitors are limited in their own control of the
cliffs camera unless supervised
Staff can control and edit film according to Can break down, e.g. lose focus, and then
messages needs to go back to manufacturer
Can be presented to groups of visitors Limited scope for simple DIY systems
Can be used for visitors and research
Appealing to most visitors
Many opportunities for interpretation
Installation and maintenance done by
manufacturer

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

74
DIGITAL INTERACTIVE AND MULTI-MEDIA SYSTEMS
Digital interactive systems are relatively new techniques being used in visitor centres and are becoming
increasingly common as hardware and software have become more affordable and available. Such
systems are generally referred to as “multimedia systems”. Most use information which is recorded
directly onto the computer hard drive or compact discs (CD) and they are good because they combine
data in the form of still and moving images, graphics, animation and text, along with sound. The visitor
can access this information via a computer screen or television with either a touch screen, tracker-ball
or computer mouse. It is possible for example, to show in continuous motion how tides work by
incorporating video and photograph footage, with the sound of sea-birds, or a running commentary in
the background.

Computer based systems are a good way of introducing the coastal and marine environment to visitors,
presenting all aspects of this environment and its wildlife, in a novel and exciting way with which they
are becoming increasingly familiar. The images presented on screen are so vivid, that people can gain a
good impression of the features of the coastal and marine environment. These systems may therefore
provide people who find it difficult to explore the shore directly, with experiences that are not so easily
achieved using other techniques. Another advantage of computer based systems is that they allow
visitors to explore the coastal and marine environment without disturbing it. However, there are still
people who are reluctant to use so called “high tech” facilities, so they may need some encouragement!

More and more organisations are developing their own World Wide Web sites (WWW). Again, the
scope for disseminating information is enormous, even in real time, but it is important that site
managers carefully consider the aims and objectives of running their own website and how it fits into
the overall interpretation plan. Web sites can be extremely useful for introducing potential visitors to
the site remotely, enabling them to pre plan a proposed visit. The web site can be used to provide
information about the characteristics of the site and any forthcoming events, but if this is a key feature
of the web site it is important that the information is kept up to date.

Audience
This is a technique that will appeal to audiences of all ages. However, due to the technology involved
some may feel more confident in using the technique than others. Children in particular are easily drawn
towards computers whereas older audiences may be more reluctant at first. Once set up the system is
extremely user friendly and those who may feel intimidated should be encouraged to try it out - touch
screens are particularly good to encourage interaction from even the wariest of visitors.

Logistics
Systems come in many different formats. With CDs there are three main information formats, which
differ slightly in the way they are created and the type of presentation they offer. The formats described
below provide a brief introduction:

1. The Kodak Photo CD can be seen as the most basic using scanned images from photographic film,
overhead transparencies, negatives and video tapes (single frames only) which are then written to a
Photo CD. Individual CD quality sound files can then be added to each still image to create a
Kodak Portfolio CD. Interaction is enabled via simple frame number selection in the case of Photo
CD or graphic menus can be created for Portfolio CD.

2. The Video CD is slightly more advanced. This format combines full motion, full frame video with
still images and CD quality sound. It is best described as a VHS video tape and/or slide show put
onto compact disc, with the ability to select from menus.

3. The CD-ROM or Hard Disk drive in a computer generally allows higher levels of interactivity and
links to live databases of information via networks like the Internet. It is possible to show
constantly updated information with this format. The technology is changing all the time so it is
best to carry out some research before embarking upon purchasing a particular system as they can
vary in price enormously. Computer magazines are a good starting point to give you an idea of
scope and cost. CD writers are easily affordable and will enable you to press your own CDs.

The platforms used for CDs are television or computer based systems which can be used to play or run
your Photo, Video or CD-ROM/Hard Disk presentation. Your choice of platform will depend on
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various factors such as resources, available funds, existing materials available to be used in the
production of the programme and desired end product.

Television based
If you wish to view the presentation on a television screen, you will need a CD Player. Compatible
players are the Photo CD player (still images only and sound with Portfolio CD), Video CD player (will
not play a Photo CD) or a CD-i player (plays all the above TV formats). Here the sound is produced by
the TV speakers or hi-fi system. Any of these players can be used to play audio CDs and are available
as both mains and portable machines.

Computer based
To view the presentation on a computer it can either be copied to the Hard Drive or viewed from a CD-
ROM drive. The programmes are supplied with all the necessary software. When purchasing a
computer-based system it is important to check with the manufacturer what type of computer is
appropriate for the required presentation. In particular consider the amount of memory (RAM) and the
appropriate sound and video cards needed for the programme, so it is always best to go for the most up-
to-date computer that you can afford.

In addition, it is possible with a modem to have a link with the World Wide Web or Internet. A Web
site can be set up to hold pages which contain still or moving images, sound and interactive links. Your
visitors will be able to access information from other sites who have a link with the Internet and vice-
versa. The computer systems are linked up to the World Wide Web via a telephone line, modem and
communications software. This is only available on computer based systems and creates additional
costs, but they are decreasing all the time.

Updating a web site is relatively easy. Such updates can include a change in links, new photographs or
video footage, editions of data, use of live data or information, and links with other organisations.

Equipment
Television based:
Modern style television; with touch screen, tracker-ball mouse or handset control.
CD Player; Photo CD player, Video CD player, or CD-i player, CD presentation disc

Computer based:
Computer with CD-ROM drive and software
CD writer if you prepare your own discs for presentation

Additional:
World Wide Web connections; telephone line, modem, communications and web site design software

Personnel
A certain level of technical knowledge is preferable to help you select the right multimedia system for
your needs. If you do not have the skills to develop your own presentations there are many IT
specialists who can help you. Once set up, staff only need know how to use the system. It is possible to
receive training for simple maintenance work, but if anything serious goes wrong, the system will need
to be returned to the manufacturers. However, these systems are quite reliable and are designed to
withstand a high level of use. It is advisable to have a member of staff available to encourage and help
visitors and to supervise large groups.

Policy
Insurance is the main policy requirement for this technique, to cover the equipment and possible
damage.

Finance
Multi-media systems are decreasing in cost all the time and although you might think that initial costs
are relatively high they do not necessarily cost a lot to maintain. You may want to consider upgrading
your system periodically to keep abreast of recent IT developments. Compact discs themselves do not
need to be produced professionally although the cost of developing a programme increases as the

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interactivity and data becomes increasingly sophisticated. A programme (the creation of the CD) could
cost hundreds of pounds for a Photo CD to several thousands for a fully interactive presentation.

There are ways of reducing costs - for example, a lot of the planning can be done in house; including
scripting for voice over, screenplay or storyboard and the flow chart for programming. Existing
resources can be used, e.g. stills photography, video and graphic files or artwork. It is worth enquiring
as to whether you have an IT specialist amongst your site volunteers as they could save you a lot of
money!

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


Digital interactive systems will be a new interpretive technique for many sites and will need special
effort to ensure the medium is incorporated into an existing programme. A considerable amount of
planning time will be required. Existing interpretive media and the main themes of the site need to be
considered, as these will influence the content of the programme. To begin you need to decide what
you would like as the ultimate system. The next step is to work out an implementation strategy. If you
cannot initially afford the final system, a phased strategy can be designed to achieve your ultimate
system. This will reduce the risk of discovering that the technology and equipment you have is
inappropriate for updates and changes you want to include and will save time and money.

DIGITAL INTERACTIVE AND MULTI-MEDIA SYSTEMS

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS

Novelty appeal Relatively expensive


Uses all information previously gathered Needs long term planning
First-hand experience Can create a 'log-jam' of people in one area of
User-friendly a Visitor Centre
Easy to update Some individuals may dominate usage
Can have connections with other centres and Often needs supervision
Internet Staff need some training
Uses pre-recorded and live data Data can get corrupted or lost, though not
Teaching packs for schools can be developed very often
with systems Can be problems with viruses, though can
Brings the marine environment to all visitors have an anti-virus system running constantly
Non-destructive Only one person can use system effectively at
Can have information in different languages any one time
and learning levels
Can produce print-outs
Links to World Wide Web (Internet) can
increase networking and allow visitors to
make a “virtual” visit to your site!

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

SECTION 4: ARTS AND EVENTS

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Arts based interpretation is the use of expressive media such as storytelling, music, dance, drama,
sculpture, painting and drawing etc, to engage an audience and communicate messages in a creative and
provocative way not often experienced by the visitor.

These techniques are very good for promoting marine conservation but are often overlooked as they are
not always considered “serious”. However, some messages are hard to get across in words, particularly
with the use of the more conventional forms of interpretive media. The use of performing arts and
events within environmental interpretation can communicate far more because they are successful at
touching peoples perceptions, making emotional links between the site or objects and the visitor. Arts
and events can often reach audiences that other intrepretive techniques do not target. The main thing to
remember is to make the activities as much fun as possible whilst combining artisitic and conservation
aims.

Audience
These techniques will appeal to, and be appropriate for, all audiences. Such activities provide the
opportunity for a high level of personal contact. Each activity is easily modified to cater for a specific
audience, or can be very broad. Art is often perceived by many as being inaccessible, its reason and
meaning only obvious to those within artistic circles. But many projects are now centred around
community input, to ensure that these projects can actually mean something to everybody.

Logistics
In terms of organisation, the ways in which arts and events form part of an interpretive programme, fall
into three broad categories.

1. ‘Do it yourself’ projects


Arts activities often start in a small way, as isolated events stimulated by staff’s own interests and
enthusiasm, but can build up to become a major feature of the work at a site. Such activities or events
are easily incorporated into an existing interpretive programme, providing that the interest and
enthusiasm exists and can be maintained. Training exists within the arts world, which can provide you
with new ideas and skills.

2. Commissioned projects
This approach uses art in a more conventional sense. Artists are brought in from the outside, to work on
specific projects. They work to a brief, set by the organisers (yourselves), without involving the visitors
in the design or execution of the work. This approach requires a clear brief which will include the aims
of the site, good support and channels of communication between artists and the organisation.

3. Community projects
This approach also involves artists who are commissioned from the outside, but includes the
involvement of the local community in a project. This ‘community-based’ approach is often applied to
projects which involve performance work. It can also produce more lasting and often impressive work,
such as sculpture. These types of projects draw on the skills of artists who have chosen to work with,
not for, the general public. The community may be a particular interest group, a collection of local
residents, or visitors who are passing through. In the majority of cases, the main function of a project
will be to foster community development and possibly to promote community action.

These techniques can require a huge amount of time, organisation, commitment and money, depending
on the type of project you wish to develop.

Other important factors to consider are as follows:

• geographic location
• size and average age of voluntary helpers and audience
• affluence of the community
• facilities available
• material and financial resources available
• administrative back-up
• marketing
Equipment
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The range of equipment for these techniques can be as diverse as the projects themselves. They can
range from simple pencils and paper (end of roll newsprint paper from the local newspaper is excellent)
to an outrageous costume or scraps of metal, a blow torch or a trombone! Some pieces of equipment
can be made in-house, others designed and produced by professionals, hired or purchased.

Finance
Again, the cost of conducting an arts based activity or event will vary greatly. For example, a basic
story-telling activity will cost very little, mainly staff time. A sculpture project will involve costs for
materials and artists labour. Such projects can cost several thousand pounds. The time and materials
involved in the organisation and staging of a full scale procession will incur substantial costs.

Fitting into an existing programme for a site


Arts and events fit into an existing programme very well. They can be one-off activities or form a
regular part of an activities programme. Projects can continue over a period of time, a sculpture project
for example, may be run over several years. Arts based techniques are easily combined with each other
and other techniques. Due to the time and work involved in the running of activities, they are usually
included within a site management plan.

1. Sculpture
This technique can fall into the ‘Commissioned art’ or ‘Community art’ categories. Under the
‘Commissioned art’ category, sculptors are employed to work to a specific brief, which may or may not
be a result of community consultation. Under the ‘Community art’ category, professional sculptors are
often employed to complete work on a residency basis. This can involve artists staying in the local area
for a period from possibly two to six months, liaising with the landowners/managers and local
community to develop the sculptures. Permanent sculptures may require planning permission. Projects
can be finite or continue over a period of time, where new sculptures are created according to new or
changing themes and so forth.

Sculptures can be placed along a specific trail, thus creating a new set of self-guided or guided walks, or
can be placed less strategically to encourage people to find the pieces and thus explore the environment.

2. Theatre
Beach theatre
This technique can involve anything from Punch and Judy type shows, to full scale performances, with
costumes and props. This old style beach entertainment must include: bright colours which are highly
visible in a large open space, lively music with a good rhythm or catchy tune to help people get
involved, a number of short acts which don’t require much concentration but constantly entertain; a
theatrical style set which quickly pulls any audience, souvenirs which serve as a reminder of the event
and the message. Past events have been organised and staged with help and advice from local theatre
groups.

Theatrical guided walks


This technique is essentially a combination of a guided walk and theatre. The use of drama on a walk
adds a further visual dimension to the themes and messages covered, giving visitors and locals the
opportunity to look upon and enjoy the landscape in an entirely new way. Existing events have been
organised by a County Council and involve professional theatre groups. The actors dress up in weird
and wonderful costumes, reflecting the rich and diverse environment and lead visitors along a trail,
using music and sculpture.

Schools based drama projects


Many environmental education projects have incorporated school drama groups or students training for
teaching degrees, in the production of drama pieces. The students are given a brief which includes the
messages and themes to be covered in the script. The final script, props and costumes are often
designed and made by the students themselves. The final piece is then presented to children of all ages
in schools.

‘Living history’ theatre


This technique involves actors taking a role, dressing in period costume, and conducting live
interpretation. It is a method that is becoming increasingly popular in museums and heritage centres.
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Actors are specially trained in theatre improvisation and interpret the museum to its visitors, through
improvised period roles. Actors usually build their characters upon factual information, specific to the
theme and subjects covered in the museum. Live interpretation allows a great deal of one-to-one contact
and is therefore a good method of interpretation for people with special needs and other disabilities.

3. Music and sound


There are three kinds of situations where music can be used in interpretation;

(a) Music as a space enhancer


Music can add to the atmosphere of a space. When using this activity the group of visitors must be
comfortable and at ease. They can then be encouraged to listen to the sounds already in a space and
then to make a list of all the sounds they can hear, those which are close-by and furthest away. The next
step could be to ask each individual to choose one sound and mimic it with their own voice. This will
build up into a harmony. A small chant or song can then be added which describes the particular space
and its sounds.

(b) Processional music


Music, in this situation , is played for people to travel from one space to another in a procession. The
sound needs to be loud, with lots of rhythm, for this musical activity to be a success. A strong rhythm,
e.g. similar to a Caribbean Carnival, African drumming or South American samba, always creates an
exciting atmosphere, which will get people going, encouraging them to become actively involved.

(c) Music and action


Music and sound are very good for enhancing story-telling and plays which have an environmental
theme. For example, instruments can be played to represent each character within a story. It is a good
idea to listen to the way sound is used in films and live performances, to get some ideas. The most
difficult part is the working out the cues for each of the musicians. This needs a lot of time to organise
and perfect. One activity which works very well is ‘shadow puppetry’, which can be performed outside,
at night, with music and other sound effects to create a very magical experience.

4. Story-telling
Stories are most effective if they are told rather than read. When starting story-telling events, it is
advisable to start with a story that sparks something in yourself. Perhaps start with a story from a book,
then write one yourself and get to know it really well. It is worth remembering that the location in which
you tell your story is as important as the story itself. The immediate environment will affect the
atmosphere and props or related activities that you may want to use. Such props or activities can
include: the addition of songs, chants and dances, and the use of musical instruments, which all add to
the overall enjoyment and inspiration of story-telling. You must also consider the seating and comfort
arrangements.

EVENTS
An event is simply a culmination and celebration of all arts based interpretive activities and techniques.
They can include carnivals, festivals, fêtes, parades, or fireworks displays, for example. World Oceans
Day is an international festival of the marine environment which takes place in June each year.
Hundreds of public events are held around the UK coast, ranging from guided walks and talks to
theatre, the visual arts and music.

ARTS AND EVENTS

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ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS

Encourages participation Very time consuming


Highly enjoyable Can be expensive
Reaches the non-converted visitor
Very good for promotion of all coastal and
marine messages
Encourages people to look at their
environment in a new light
APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor
Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

SECTION 5: INTERPRETATION AND VISITOR CENTRES, INFORMATION DUTY


Visitor centres are a widespread media for welcoming visitors and explaining about a site to them.
They have many functions, such as providing an initial information and orientation point for visitors, a
home for displays and other indoor interpretation, a base for site managers, staff and volunteers, and
retail, catering and toilet facilities. Some have additional space that can be used for more formal
education purposes.
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Logistics
The siting and content of an interpretation centre must be carefully considered, as visitors are attracted
to this type of facility and they offer an important opportunity to present information to the public. The
management of a centre will depend on its size and the type of displays it contains. Although large
centres will normally be manned, it is also helpful for the personnel to be present at smaller facilities to
interact with visitors.

Any visitor centre will need planning permission, and should be designed and located in a way which
does not detract from the scenic quality of the site. A wide range of back-up services will be needed,
including insurance, lighting and heating, cleaning, annual maintenance, sewerage and so on. A car
park will normally be required near the centre. Facilities should comply with all the necessary health
and safety regulations that apply.

Equipment
A simple information centre might contain only display boards, whereas others might have video
facilities or interactive computer displays. The amount of equipment will depend on what is required of
the centre and the resources available to set it up.

Personnel
Larger centres will need staff on site but small display areas can be left to stand alone. Back-up staff
will be needed to service the building and the associated facilities.

Policy
Developing a visitor centre will take some time and will involve administrative support as well as the
site manager. The site managers will need to decide if this is an appropriate way to use resources for the
site. If the site policy is not to attract visitors then a large centre would be inappropriate as part of the
policy.

Finance
Interpretation centres can be very costly. It is important to ensure there are sufficient resources for the
displays as well as the building itself. A good quality modern display will cost from £1,000 per square
metre floor space (including planning, scripting, design and construction costs).

It is also important to budget for the costs of servicing and running the centre. It is often possible for a
visitor centre to raise some of its own income through retail and catering.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


The visitor centre will be a showpiece and orientation point for the whole site or area of coast. It will
be very important to integrate the interpretation in the centre with the interpretation and visitor
management in the rest of the site. Unfortunately, visitor centres are often seen as a necessity at larger
sites, but with the current proliferation of centres many are facing stiff competition and may end up as
‘white elephants’ that drain the resources of the managing body. Getting a good financial and
marketing plan is essential to the development of a facility as costly as a visitor centre.

INTERPRETATION AND VISITOR CENTRES

82
ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Range of techniques can be used Expensive to build
Personnel on hand to answer queries Revenue costs
Can provide flexible indoor space Competitive market
Can cover many topics Often needs associated facilites like car
Opportunity for fund-raising parking
Potential revenue generator

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

INFORMATION DUTY
The presence of a site manager or volunteers at a site can be regarded as an opportunity to be on
"information duty". This would generally involve responding to queries but can be a means of
highlighting specific concerns of the site manager or aspects of the site.

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Audience
Whilst on information duty the site manager will be available to answer queries from any members of
the public at the site. However, it is not possible to determine which visitors will use this facility. This
method is less likely to reach people with no interest in the environment, unless the site manager takes
the initiative to approach visitors.

Logistics
Visitors must be able to recognise site staff or volunteers on information duty. A badge, label, uniform
or some other form of identification must therefore be provided. Site managers can choose to be based
in an area passed by most of the visitors, a site where visitors tend to congregate, or to move around the
site. "Impromptu events" by the site manager can also be part of this work. Visitors are usually curious
if they see the site manager busily doing something. A seashore survey for example will provide the
perfect opportunity to inform interested people on marine topics.

Equipment
No equipment is required.

Personnel
This role should be taken on by someone who knows the site and is able to communicate with visitors.
Public information duties will normally form part of the basic work of a warden, ranger, site manager or
volunteer.

Policy
Staff providing public information can be especially useful in explaining the overall management of the
site to visitors.

Finance
If site managers are already employed to work on the site no extra finance is required for information
duty.

Fitting into the existing programme for a site


Site managers are already likely to be involved in information duty at their sites. As they build up
knowledge on marine matters, they will be able to provide more information on this topic. The marine
theme can therefore be incorporated gradually into their work.

INFORMATION DUTY

84
ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Good personal contact Requires good public relations skills
Can tailor what is said
Can reach new audiences
Answers questions that people want to ask
Marine aspects can be incorporated gradually
Can be used to enhance safety
Building on people's interest

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

SECTION 6: LINKS WITH MUSEUMS AND SIMILAR ORGANISATION

Museums come in many different shapes and sizes and they can be venues for a variety of interpretive
techniques and conservation of aretfacts. Museums also have a range of traditional (and developing)
85
characteristics which influence the way they approach interpretation. Museums have a reputation for
independence, impartiality and authority. Some will find it difficult to interpret controversial issues but
others may be happy to serve as a neutral forum in which a variety of points of view are expressed
through interpretation. Museums also have an academic, curating tradition which means they can be a
useful source of information for interpretation at other sites - some museums host local biological
recording centres so are well respected as sources of accurate information. Many museums are now
developing close links with local community organisations.

The one interpretive feature that is special to museums is their collections. However, organisations
should be aware of the distinction between using objects for interpretation and the more fundamental
step of creating their own collections (see below under Policy). Many of the interpretive benefits of
using objects can be derived as easily from everyday items as from museum artefacts which tend to be
valuable and irreplaceable.

Ability to promote the marine environment


Objects bring people into direct contact with the physical world. In terms of the natural environment
this usually means natural history and geological specimens. These may represent the ‘dead’ world but
natural history displays remain very popular with many visitors as they provide an insight into the past.
They demonstrate the wonder of natural diversity and are a very practical aid to the identification of
species. It is perhaps harder to bring conservation issues alive through traditional natural history
collections but this can be achieved by combining them with other museum objects and more innovative
interpretation techniques. Social history, archaeology, industrial history and art collections can all show
how people have used or influenced the marine and coastal environment over time. In this sense, a
strength of museum collections is that they can highlight the relationship between people and the
environment. They can also put this relationship into an historical perspective.

Audiences
Different objects appeal to different people. However, for most people objects come alive when there
is an opportunity to handle and discuss them. This means they are particularly valuable for organised
group work with schools and community groups. Many museums create ‘handling’ or ‘loan’ collections
specifically for this use.

Logistics
Most museum objects have special conservation needs depending on the nature of the material. While
some objects may need to be restored in some way, the long term concern is for preventative
conservation to minimise the effect of temperature, light, humidity and chemicals. The effects of these
elements on objects may seem slow but it is very real. Preventative conservation measures may restrict
the way objects are handled or displayed. This is particularloy true of maritime artefacts which may
have been recovered from the marine environment and require specialised and expensive conservation
measures. There is also a question about the removal of artefacts, such as those found on wreck sites,
from the seabed, because once removed they are no longer in situ so the contextual setting is lost.

Equipment
The display of objects may require special cases and lighting to control the environmental conditions
and ensure security. Similarly, buildings may need to meet minimum standards for environmental
condition and security, depending on the material to be displayed. Many museums are becoming
increasingly reluctant to take in newly recovered maritime artefacts as they are very expensive to
conserve and take up a lot of space.

Personnel
Museums should have access to the professional skills necessary to ensure proper care for objects. The
best use of objects is often made by an interpreter, demonstrator or group leader.

Policy
Creating collections entails important long term responsibilities for local and national heritage. A UK
Museums Registration Scheme has been established by the Museums & Galleries Commission to
safeguard minimum standards in the care and use of collections. Fully registered museums will have
86
collecting policies, documentation relating to collections and suitable storage and display facilities.
Any organisation may wish to create its own collection of simple material, such as shells or beach litter.
Organisations should be aware of the responsibilities associated with collecting rarer, more important or
more valuable items. It will usually be appropriate - whether these items are required for permanent
display or for a temporary project - to work in collaboration with a local registered museum.

Finance
Ensuring buildings and displays provide suitable environmental conditions may require investment, but
many museums will be able to loan interesting material that does not require this sort of outlay. Loan of
collections sometimes requires insurance. There may be a fee for the hire of collections.

Fitting into an existing programme for a site


Within an exhibition a small number of carefully selected objects can be used to provide a focus for the
theme. This is where the unique ‘realness’ of objects can give extra depth to the interpretation. Where
objects are to be used with groups they can be very effective in introducing people to new ideas through
question and answer sessions. Consequently, they might be used to introduce a group to an unfamiliar
subject area, perhaps at the start of a community environmental project. Schools should be encouraged
to do preparation and follow-up work, before and after sessions with objects.

The Scottish Museums Council’s Environmental Initiative (1994-97) supported Moray Firth
Oceanwatch as part of its programme of demonstration projects. Moray Firth Oceanwatch was a survey
of the coastline carried out by the public, assisted by nine museums and other venues around the Firth.
The survey findings were the inspiration for a series of exhibitions based at some of the museums.
Inverness Museum & Art Gallery created a series of small loan boxes of natural history materials as
part of promotional displays for the project and to help the public identify species they discovered on
the shore. Over 400 people took part, surveying over 100 different stretches of coastline.

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LINKS WITH MUSEUMS AND SIMILAR
ORGANISATIONS

ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS

‘Realness’ Needs preventative conservation


Good focus for participation and discussion Display of objects needs imagination or they
Reveal links between people and the can appear dull
environment Use of objects in group work is also a skilled
Can complement other interpretive techniques activity

APPROPRIATENESS FOR MESSAGES Good Fair Poor


Aim 1: Promoting appreciation 
Aim 2: Prompting the need for concern 
Aim 3: Describing how visitors can help 
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESENTATION TECHNIQUE
Active involvement 
Enjoyment 
Generate curiosity and interest 
Show relevance 
Personal contact 

Notes:

88
CHAPTER 4: HOW DO I KNOW IF I'M SUCCESSFUL?

4.1 EVALUATION
Having decided which interpretation techniques to implement, is is important to consider how you will
know if you have been successful. If you have thought through what you want to achieve by using a
particular technique, this can be straightforward. Some useful questions to ask yourself as a guide to
assessment have been outlined by Wood & Wood (Conservation & Education; A Planning Guide,
published by the U.S. Fisheries & Wildlife Service).

What has the target audience learned, and do they understand and believe the programme's message?

If not is it because they:


• have not encountered the message?
• have not understood the message?
• do not believe the message?
• do not trust the educator or the agency he/she represents?

If they have grasped the programme's material, are they not changing their behaviour because:

• there is lack of concern about the environmental problem?


• social pressure exists?
• the actions advocated are unrealistic or economically unsound?
• people are nervous about the consequences of changing behaviour?

If people are implementing the measures advocated by the programme but the condition of the
environment has not improved, is it because:

• the solution advocated was inappropriate?


• the people whose behaviour has changed are not those affecting the natural resources in question?
• more time is needed to evaluate the situation?

A lot of time and effort is usually put into developing and using techniques for interpretation but it is
also important to re-examine them regularly. Evaluating their success will ensure that you continue to
use the most appropriate mechanism for promoting marine conservation at your site.

4.2. SAMPLE CHECKSHEETS


Chapters Two and Three provide advice on planning your programme of marine interpretation and
details of the range of techniques available. The checksheets in this section can be used to guide you in
the final stages of deciding upon a technique, and thinking about what is required for its
implementation.

• Checksheet 1 can be used to assess whether the techniques you already use are appropriate for
promoting marine conservation.

• Checksheets 2 & 3 take specific examples of techniques (Rock Pool Rambles & Touch Boxes) and
guide you through the questions you need to ask before using these techniques. This format can be
adapted for any technique.

• Checksheet 4 is a general worksheet which can be used to clarify whether a technique is suitable
for your site.

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CHECKSHEET ONE

CHOOSING TECHNIQUES TO PROMOTE MARINE


CONSERVATION

Techniques of Interpretaion Used Marine Themes Which Can be


at Your Site Promoted
Appreciation Concern How you
can help

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CHECKSHEET TWO

ORGANISING A ROCK POOL RAMBLE FOR YOUR SITE

SITE NAME:

WHO ARE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?

WHAT IS THE MAIN MESSAGE UOU WANT TO GET ACROSS DURING THE
WALK?

WHERE WILL YOU START YOUR WALK?

WHAT TYPES OF HABITAT WILL YOU BE ABLE TO SHOW YOUR


AUDIENCE?

HOW WILL YOU ADVERTISE THE WALK?

WHAT WILL YOU NEED FOR THE WALK (Personnel, equipment, funds etc.)?

LIST FOUR MARINE ANIMALS OR PLANTS YOU WILL BE ABLE TO TELL


A STORY ABOUT DURING YOUR SHORE WALK?

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CHECKSHEET THREE

ORGANISING A TOUCH BOX FOR YOUR SITE

WHO ARE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?

WHAT IS THE MAIN MESSAGE YOU WANT TO GET ACROSS?

WHERE WILL YOU SET UP THE TOUCH BOX?

WHAT ITEMS WILL YOU PUT IN THE TOUCH BOX?

WHAT ARE LIKELY TO BE THE VCONSTRAINTS ON USING THIS


TECHNIQUE AT YOUR SITE?

WHERE WILL YOU FIND SUITABLE ITEMS FOR THE TOUCH BOX?

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CHECKSHEET FOUR

PLANNING MARINE INTERPRETATION AT YOUR


SITE

SITE NAME:

AUDIENCE:

MESSAGE YOU WANT TO PROMOTE:

TECHNIQUE:

WHY DO YOU THINK THIS WILL BE AN EFFECTIVE TECHNIQUE AT


THIS SITE?

WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR THIS TECHNIQUE?

Personnel:

Materials/Equipment:

Funds:

Other:

WHAT ARE LIKELY TO BE THE CONSTRAINTS ON USING THIS


TECHNIQUE AT YOUR SITE?

WHAT WILL YOU LOOK FOR TO SEE THAT THIS TECHNIQUE IS


SUCCESSFUL?

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4.3. HEALTH AND SAFETY, AND RISK ASSESSMENT FOR COASTAL ACTIVITIES
The coastal zone presents many different scenarios relating to safety issues and different procedures
will be necessary depending upon the availability of resources and facilities when dealing with
emergency procedures. There are now specific requirements to comply with health and safety
legislation and to carry out risk assessments on coastal activities involving visitors. The main
requirements are: to have an appropriate system in place,and the ability to carry it out. A written
statement of safety policy is necessary and there might also have to be additional systems in place above
that of the site owner, even when leading activities on other sites. Without going into specific detail it is
important when carrying out a risk assessment to take into account Duty of Care, reasonable care,
provision of a safe system and the relevance of foresight ie. "if it happens once it is likely to happen
again” and if it “happens somewhere it may happen at your site next”. Other important issues to take
into consideration are occupiers liability, safety of using facilities ‘as intended’, taking extra care when
children are present, warnings must be clear and the competence of employees. The information
provided here is not intended to be a comprehensive account of carrying out risk assessments, or to
alarm you, but more to direct your thinking and questioning!

Risk assessment need not be difficult and although there is no universally agreed method many
organisations have their own standard format. Risk assessment takes account of a combination of hazard
and risk, i.e. what might happen and how often. Risk assessment is required under many regulations and
different types of assessment may be necessary for different situations and audiences. Risk assessment
aims to reduce the risk after calculating the risk. A competent person who can best identify the
problems and issues carries out the risk assessment.

Implementation of risk assessment is important. Decisions need to be made upon the financial
implications, and the competent person responsible for the site will need to keep an adequate
information base, and review the situation in light of external events, such as recent court cases.
Basically, risk assessment identifies the hazard, who might be affected, evaluates the risks, and records
the findings. Numerical calculations are sometimes used to assess the risk, but a general coding such as
low, medium, high risk might be preferential. Assessments should be carried out at the beginning of the
planning process, not just prior to the event or on the day. Advance planning is essential, as well as a
review of the event so that changes can be made for future activities if necessary.

As a provider you have specific responsibilities:


• To your staff
• Complete a risk assessment
• Adequate provision of accident and emergency procedures
• First aid provision
• Supervision
• Vehicles
• Adequate insurance of premises
• Fire safety and evacuation procedure

Some of the questions you might like to ask yourself when carrying out an assessment on interpretive
and educational activities include:
• Do the group in your charge need to be there?
• Are the learning objectives matched with the experience that you and the site can offer?
• Is the site safe and robust?
• Will conservation value of the site be damaged by the activity?
• Have you discussed issues with specific groups, such as school parties, who have booked a visit?

Hazard and risk assessment includes:


• Legislative compliance
• Company practice
• Site hazard cards
• Staff qualifications
• Daily assessments
• Accident and “near miss” forms
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Emergency procedures should be written down and should cover:
• Lines of responsibility
• Access and assistance
• Injury/fatality
• Contact numbers for Emergency Services
• Means of communication (e.g.with the school)
• First aid provision
• Insurance provision
• Qualifications of staff and competence of volunteers
• Vehicles
• Counselling provision
• Dealing with the media

The following checklist provides a framework for carrying out a risk assessment, but is not intended to
be comprehensive. You will no doubt be able to add further detail according to your site characteristics,
and the nature of activites carried out. If in doubt always seek advice to help you compile a risk
assessment and provide you with up to date information about Health and Safety legislation. The
following organisations are just a selection that can provide relevant information and literature:

The Coastguard Agency:


http://www.coastguard.gov.uk/safety/csmart.htm

Health and Safety Executive:


Guide to Risk Assessment Requirments IND(G)218(1)
Construction Industry Health and Safety Checklist CIS17

ROSPA (Royal Society of Protection of Accidents)


Safety on British Beaches – Operational Guidelines ISBN 09070 82955

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4.4. SAFETY CHECKLIST FOR COASTAL ACTIVITIES
This checklist identifies some of the hazards most commonly encountered at coastal sites. It is not
exhaustive but should help you to decide whether the site is safe and suitable place to visit.

SAFETY CHECKLIST FOR COASTAL SITES


Is there an easy access/exit point at all states of the tide?
Is the access/exit point suitable for all members of your party,
ACCESS TO SITE e.g elderly, young, disabled?
Are there steep climbs or slippery rocks?
Do you know the weather forecast?

Do you know tide times?

Are there any unusual tidal conditions, undertows or rip currents?

Will you take and insist upon the use of sunblock – even on windy days when
WEATHER & TIDES the sun does not feel as hot but can still burn?

Will you issue instructions with regard to the use of suitable clothing for
protection against extremes of temperature and the sun?

Be aware of changes in temperatures and wind conditions.

Are the winds offshore?


Do not allow climbing on cliffs unless suitably qualified and equipped
leadership is available – a further and more detailed risk assessment should be
performed on high risk activities.

Keep all of the party away from the cliff edge – even gentle slopes can be
dangerous when wet.
ROCKS, CLIFFS,
COAST PROTECTION Are there physical risks on the site such as rocks, groynes, breakwaters and
STRUCTURES other structures? What rules will you make to ensure the safety of your party
near these features?

Is the beach at the mouth of an estuary?


Are there any flags to indicate the saftey status of the beach?
Instruct your party as to the information that any such flags indicate.

Are there any specialist warning notices?


INFORMATION Bring any such warning notices to the attention of your party.

Gather as much information as you can about the area you are to visit.
Useful sources are the coastguard, beach patrol, local inhabitants, local paper.
Always devise an emergency plan for your site.

All leaders should know WHO, WHEN AND HOW to contact emergency
services.
EMERGENCY
CONTACTS & Emergency equipment needed will depend on the facilities immediately
EQUIPMENT available and the sort of activities that are envisaged.
A first aid kit and a method of communication is normally required.

If your party will be spread along the shore how will they contact each other in
an emergency (runner, whistle, VHF radio, mobile phone)?

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A clear chain of leadership and responsibility should be established.

Unless a small group is anticipated, a list of the participants should be held


with two leaders.
LEADERSHIP
Decide on the type of activities that your party is able to do and inform them
of your decision. REMEMBER, this may change by the time you arrive on site
or during your visit/activity.
Are there any other seasonal dangers associated with the site/locality, e.g.
weaver fish, algal blooms, mud slides?

Ensure that you have an adequate supply of drinking water, especially on hot
OTHER days.

Inform your party of facilities on the site such as toilets.

Are any other site users likely to present a danger, e.g. power boats, jet skiers,
surfers, anglers?

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AT A GLANCE CHECKLIST FOR AN ACTIVITY
SHORE CONFIGURATION Notes
gradient
shelving
BEACH sand bars
sediment type
vegetation
flat ledges
ROCKY boulders
SHORE vegetation
height
material
CLIFFS stability
access
TIDES range
state
WAVES type
height
CURRENTS rip
longshore
direction
WIND force
warning signs
MAN MADE FEATURES
groynes
seawall
pier
slipway
ACTIVITIES
swimming
scuba diving
rockpooling
type and jet skiing
behaviour fishing
boating
age & gender
group size

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MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS Notes
lifeguards
wardens
life preservers
first aid points
telephones
beach flags
child zones
rescue craft
fences
handrails
steps
lighting
radio contact
zoning scheme
CONTACT ADDRESSES
Coastguard
Police
RNLI
Hospital
Doctor
Beach Office
Env. Agency
Local
Authority
Harbour
Master
HM Customs
and Excise

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4.5 THE MARINE CONSERVATION SOCIETY SEASHORE CODE

This Code explains how you can best enjoy the coast and wildlife without causing harm.
Here are the main points of the Code – for a full copy contact the Marine Conservation Society

Show Respect for Seashore Creatures


✰ Leave animals where you find them
✰ Take care when touching soft bodied animals – they are very delicate
✰ Carefully lift and replace any rocks you may have moved – there are
animals underneath
✰ Leave attached seaweed in place
✰ Do not trample through rockpools

Take Photos, Not Living Animals


✰ If you want to collect shells, please make sure they are empty, as many
contain living animals
✰ If you want a souvenir buy a photograph, book or poster rather than marine
creatures or other marine curios

Avoid Disturbing Wildlife


✰ Watch from a distance, through binoculars if possible, especially
if animals are nesting, or pupping, in the case of seals
✰ Keep your dog clear of birds and other animals
✰ It is illegal to disturb or harass many species of birds and animals

Take Your Rubbish Home With You


✰ Take your rubbish home – burying it is no solution
✰ Keep your dog from fouling the beach
✰ Report cannisters or drums washed up on the beach – do no touch them
✰ Take part in beach cleans such as the MCS BeachWatch or Adopt a Beach
✰ Bag It and Bin It – don’t flush plastic bathroom waste

Watch Where You Go


✰ Keep to established paths and dune boardwalks
✰ Park in designated car parks and keep access to footpaths clear
✰ Do not use beaches for “off-road” vehicles
✰ If you dig holes in the beach, fill them in again
✰ Leave pebbles and rocks on the beach

Be Careful!
✰ Take care near cliffs
✰ It is dangerous to climb up or go near the top or bottom of cliffs
✰ Please don’t throw or push anything over the edge of cliffs
✰ Play safe on the beach – check tide times
✰ Keep away from soft sand and mud – it is easy to get stuck!

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CHAPTER FIVE - SOURCES OF ASSISTANCE AND INFORMATION

5.1 WHO IS DOING IT?


There is no better way of finding out whether a particular interpretive technique is appropriate for your
needs than to talk to someone else who has tried it. Better still, if you have the opportunity, visit them
in order to assess it for yourself. All the techniques listed in this guide are being used at coastal sites
throughout the world.

5.2 ORGANISATIONS INVOLVED WITH COASTAL MANAGEMENT AND MARINE


CONSERVATION
Many organisations are involved in administering, regulating and monitoring aspects of coastal zone
management. These include local organisations and Government Departments. If you are concerned
about an issue on your coastline it is best to contact the appropriate local group in the first instance, but
at a later stage, you may need to inform the relevant Government Department.

CoastNETand the Marine Conservation Society (see 5.5 for addresses) can give you information and
assistance on how to find out who these organisations are, and how to contact them.

5.3 WHICH BOOKS CAN GIVE ME A GOOD BACKGROUND?


There are a considerable number of books on the market which provide background information on
aspects of marine conservation. The Marine Conservation Society ( MCS Sales Ltd.) stocks a carefully
chosen selection of publications such as identification guides, coastal zone management and marine
conservation textbooks, educational publications and resources, factsheets and slide sets.

5.4. WHAT OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION ARE AVAILABLE?


Apart from contacting organisations and looking through relevant publications there are a variety of
materials which can be useful sources of information and provide ideas for interpretation.

• Leaflets and publications produced by coastal groups such as local Wildlife Trusts, local
authorities etc.
• Journals and magazines e.g. New Scientist, Marine Conservation (MCS), CoastNET Bulletin,
ENDS etc.
• Local/National media reports e.g. newspapers, press releases, radio interviews, television
programmes

5.5. HOW CAN COASTNET AND THE MARINE CONSERVATION SOCIETY HELP ME?
CoastNET and the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) are both good sources of additional
information if you are wishing to develop your interpretive and educational provision. Both
organisations are active within the field of coastal management, marine and coastal conservation.
Joining CoastNET and MCS will give you access to a thriving network of experienced coastal
managers, conservationists and individuals who care and have an interest in coastal and marine issues.
The marine Conservation Society is the only UK environmental charity solely dedicated to conserving
the marine environment.

• CoastNET
CoastNET was established in 1996 by coastal field staff and managers with support from national
agencies Countryside Commission, English Nature and Scottish Natural Heritage. It aims to “provide a
practical network and training for all those involved in caring for the UK’s rich coastal resource.”
CoastNET is serviced by a small Secretariat and managed by an independent, elected Board of
Management, including regional field staff representatives. CoastNET is responsive to the needs of its
membership by:
• Linking coastal management groups, organisations and individuals
• Promoting communication between all who care for our coasts and seas
• Exchanging information, advice and best practice
• Delivering training, advice and key contacts
• Contributing to policy development and future research

As a membership organisation CoastNET has both individual members and Affiliates. It publishes a
quarterly Bulletin packed with articles, features and news from the coastal scene. It also publishes the
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popular Directory of Coastal Management, listing details of over 3000 contacts in the UK involved in
the many aspects of coastal management. It organises cost effective, professional training events and
regional seminars on topical issues.

• The Marine Conservation Society


The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the national UK charity dedicated to conserving the marine
envirionment. MCS brings issues of concern and threats to the marine environment to the attention of
government, industry and the public through education, lobbying and research. Areas of research and
campaigning include: fisheries, species and habitat protection, coastal zone management, sewage and
nutrient pollution, marine litter, toxic chemical, offshore oil and gas exploitation, and aggregate
extraction. MCS actively encourages public participation through voluntary action in almost all aspects
of its work – there is no better way to learn about an issue or subject than by taking active partipation.
Everyone is welcome to get involved!
Resources and materials available from MCS include: books, reports, factsheets, education packs,
posters, field guides, project packs etc. For further details contact the Marine Conservation at the
address below.

USEFUL CONTACT ADDRESSES:

CoastNET 9 Gloucester Road


The Gatehouse Ross on Wye
Rowhedge Wharf Herefordshire
High Street HR9 5BU
Rowhedge
Essex CO5 7ET Tel: +44 (0)1989 566017
Fax: +44 (0)1989 567815
Tel 01206 728644
email: admin@coastnet.org.uk http://www.mcsuk.com

www.coastnet.org.uk
www.coastweb.info

WWF-UK
Natural England Marine Unit
Maritime Team Panda House
Northminster House Catteshall Lane
Peterborough Godalming
PE1 1UE Surrey

Tel: 01733 455000 Tel: 01483 426444


Fax: 01733 568834 Fax: 01483 426409
http://english-nature.org.uk Email: wwf-uk@wwf-uk.org
http://wwf-uk.org

Marine Conservation Society


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