course thumbnailProtected Species Observers (PSO) are trained in protected species monitoring and mitigation procedures. PSOs may be placed on vessels or platforms to monitor for marine species and implement mitigation measures during geophysical and geological exploration operations.

This BOEM and BSEE-approved two-day course combines theory and practice to give you a thorough grounding in all aspects of the PSO role.

About the course

This two-day course combines classroom study with practical experience at sea and provides delegates a broad insight into all aspects of life as a Protected Species Observer (PSO). Combining technical theory with hands-on experience, the highly interactive PSO training course is ideal for anyone aspiring to become a qualified professional within this field. The course starts in the classroom with a comprehensive look at the PSO role in sessions exploring: how noise impacts marine mammals; the legislative landscape; record keeping; reporting requirements; and mitigation measures. Then delegates put the theory straight into practice by boarding a vessel to get personal experience of life offshore. A certificate for offshore work will be awarded upon successful completion of this professional qualification.

Course Requirements

Delegates should have a scientific background, preferably in biology and marine sciences.


Day 1 (classroom)

  • Anthropogenic Noise in the Sea
  • Effects of Noise on Marine Mammals
  • Legislative Background
  • Role of the PSO
  • NCC Mitigation in Practice: Seismic Surveys, Vertical Seismic Profiling, Piling and Explosives
  • ID of Marine Mammals

Day 2 morning (classroom)

  • Introduction to PAM
  • Reporting Requirements
  • Recording Forms in Practice

Day 2 afternoon (on a vessel)

  • PSO and ID in Practice
  • Life Onboard


SB expertSmall

Stephanie Barnicoat has an MSc in Biological Diversity from University of Plymouth and is hugely experienced in conducting visual and acoustic marine mammal surveys all around the globe.


Loraine Grantsmall

Loraine Grant has an MSc in Environmental Science from University College Dublin, Ireland and is hugely experienced in conducting visual and acoustic marine mammal surveys all around the globe.


What's Next?

Delegates who complete the PSO training course can progress to the three-day Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) Level 1 course. PAM provides PSOs with an additional tool to detect marine mammal species. The PAM Level 1 course will equip you with the skills required to become an offshore PAM operator while widening your knowledge of acoustic monitoring and increasing your understanding of industry requirements for environmental mitigation. Delegates may also wish to extend their knowledge on our BioAcoustics Course.

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  • Protected species observer course

    “Wonderful course, thank you!”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “All sections of the course were really useful”

  • PAM

    “Great practical’s”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “I think it is quite effective as an introduction on physical aspects”

  • Protected species observer course

    “Stephanie was great. She kept us engaged. Excellent material!”

  • PAM

    “Fun course!”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “Teacher’s knowledge, course materials and presentation. Refreshments were very good!”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “Paul and Victor brilliant Lecturers”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “Excellent lecturers, very passionate and well prepared. Excellent material provided! Nice small groups-good discussions! Excellent venue, facilities and catering”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “Highlight of the course is the quality if the instructors”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “The whole course has been really interesting, well presented and enjoyable”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “Thorough explanation of standards and terminology”

  • PAM

    “A good introductory course, thank you”