About the Sapphire Coast Marine Society

Serious fun at the seaside – bringing science to the coast and our community

The Marine Society has been in existence for over 12 years. It was established by Sam Nerrie to encourage everyone to enjoy, explore and learn more about our wonderful coastlines on the Sapphire Coast.


This is a particularly interesting region for the variety and range of species that inhabit the near coastal seas. Warming sea temperatures are changing things along our coast so SCMS are working to create a record of the creatures that are found here today. This is partly so that we ourselves can learn more about the marine environment, but also as a baseline for scientists studying climate change. We are working with scientistsand fishermen to add species to the national database – we invite you to help us build a rich record of our marine and coastal biodiversity.

New technology plus old fashioned fossicking makes for great observations. We all love looking along our tidelines and searching rockpools for interesting and unusual creatures and plants. These days we can also use cameras or phones with built-in GPS and dating to record what we see,
whether on land or under the water. This allows SCMS to collect and verify sightings made by everyone to build our database.

If you see something unusual wecan ask our experts to help identify it. Come with us on our frequent outings to different locations – walk with experts and let them show you the wonders of our coast.

Learn from our experts – We have members and friends like Alan Scrymgeour, Michael McMaster(President) and Guye Richards who are experts in many aspects of our coast and its creatures. They are happy to walk with you and help you learn more about the wonderful species that we can find here.

Beach and boardwalks and rocky shore rambles – Fun and learning for all the family

We organise a range of outings every season. You can be as involved as you like, you will always be welcome

Snorkels – day and night – explore our magic undersea landscape. Snorkel training offered

We are creating identification aids for different marine species to help you recognise more species

Add your sightings to the Atlas of Life database. We can teach you how to add sightings and build up your own journal of what you have seen.

You can send your sightings to us and we will help you identify what you have found.

How are things changing along our coast? SCMS is getting serious about research with serious scientific advisers. We are now engaged in
several long-term research projects. Led by scientists and worked on by us, we are now involved in several long term monitoring marine ecology
projects. You can learn how to be part of these projects too

1. tropical fish visitors – which ones, when and where? this is a 16 year project still going strong, we are seeing real changes in fish species, locations and arrivals

2. Rockpool surveys – adding to surveys further north, we will monitor rockpools along our coast, to see how species change as we travel southwards

3. Changing seaweed habitats – we know the great kelp forests around Tasmania are disappearing. How are seaweed habitats changing along our coast? This long-term study will use beachwalkers, snorkellers and divers to gather information.

We are delighted to announce our Patron is Professor Joe Baker (retired Chief Scientist of Queensland) and our committee members are:

VC Robyn Wimbush, Treasurer Alan Hepburn, Secretary Bronwyn McElvenny, Publicity Libby Hepburn and Liz Allen, Alan Scrymgeour, Scott Proctor, Harrison Warne, Scientific Advisors, Prof. Joe Baker, Prof. David Booth UTS/SIMS, Dr Chris Fulton ANU, Patrick Tegart

Contact the Marine Society