The Coastwatch Survey is designed to give an overview of the state of the coast. It involves volunteers from all walks of life checking their chosen 500m stretch of coast (survey unit) once around low tide, and jotting observations down on the survey questionnaire while on the shore. This citizen science work can be augmented with water tests. Data is then collected and pooled to provide a snapshot of state in areas surveyed at that time – see examples from Ireland N and S below.

The Coastwatch survey was born in 1987 and has adapted over time with updates from paper maps to modern GIS and alignment to  EU water law like the MSFD, WFD, Waste and Nature law. It takes in several countires all around Europe, with some common base questions that are identical and can be pooled for an European report.


Here you will find all relevant documents and links for the SW of Englad Coastwatch Survey. The survey takes place from Sept 15th to Oct 15th (at the same time as the All Ireland Survey). If you have any questions, please email

Overall Coordination:  or  +353 (0) 868111684

1. Find an area and plan your survey

Coastwatch Map

Go to the map for the SW of Englend and choose a survey area. Zoom in and click the blue and white lines denoting a 500 meter survey unit and the ID code will show up.


Contact us / Book your survey area

You can contact the International Coordination or to (1) get an area allocated or get more info (2) get extra materials (Nitrate/nitrite test sticks, etc.)



Check for low tide at plan your survey to start about 1 or 1.5 hours before low tide.

2. Download the Materials

Coastwatch Survey Questionnaire

(with Extra Questions) - Use one for every survey unit (500 m)


Survey Guide Notes

draft - Read them before you go out to survey

While you are out on survey you might also want to do some extra things:
3. Data Return

Alternatively you can post your questionnaires and photos (CD) to Civil & Environmental Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, College Green, Dublin 2, Rep. of Ireland