Snorkel Survey Techniques (SST) 


Snorkel surveying is a valuable tool for studying fish populations and assessing habitat use, fish abundance, and run timing.  The Snorkel Survey Techniques (SST) course is a two-day applied review of standard snorkel survey methods.  Course participants will conduct a number of applied exercises to learn first-hand how to plan, prepare and conduct a safe and efficient snorkel survey. Field training sessions will take place in a dynamic BC Coastal river where course participants will learn to conduct snorkel surveys for adult spawning fish and resident juvenile fish.

Each NRTG course includes free, lifetime admission. Enrol once - come back anytime.


Upon successful completion, SST course participants will be qualified and able to: 

  • Identify pre-planning steps and considerations

  • Identify who, what, when, where and why considerations for snorkel surveys

  • Research and construct a study design

  • Conduct standard snorkeling protocols to enumerate adult and juvenile fish

  • Identify adult and juvenile fish and habitats

  • Contrast standard population estimation techniques

  • Conduct population estimation techniques

  • Implement snorkel survey and river safety protocols

  • Collect and manage snorkel survey field data

Course format: 

The Snorkel Survey Techniques (SST) course is regularly scheduled for deliveries throughout western Canada.  The SST course delivery ‘season’ will vary by region, as the program requires suitable field conditions (unfrozen stream water, and suitable water temperatures and flow levels, etc.). 

The Snorkel Survey Techniques course is 1.5 days in duration. Day One is a 0.5 day classroom-based review of snorkel surveying. Day Two is field-based, where course participants conduct snorkel surveys and implement a snorkel survey plan.

Potential Students: 

Course participants typically include; current fisheries field technicians and biologists, Aboriginal stakeholders, and technicians working in other sectors. 



Personal Equipment Requirements:

Course participants will be required to supply their own wet or dry suit, mask, footwear, and gloves (optional). These items can be rented at local Dive Shops or other suppliers.  Participants should contact equipment suppliers well in advance of this training program, and find and secure suitable fitting equipment. Other items of mandatory equipment include suitable under garments and field clothing, bag lunch and refreshments.

Course Fees:

Course fees will vary by course delivery location.  For further information, please contact us.

How do I Attend?

The SST course is available via our website schedule, or on contract to community groups. The SST course is regularly scheduled for community-based deliveries throughout the year (providing suitable weather).  Interested groups or organizations can also arrange for an ‘in-house’ or contract delivery of this program.  In either scenario, contact NRTG for further information.

If you would like to have the SST course delivered to your group or community, please contact us. 

Instructor Profile: 

Kyle Milburn, BSc., Fisheries Biologist

Kyle Milburn has 10 years experience conducting fisheries and hydrometric studies in British Columbia. Since 2008, Kyle has worked with as a consultant conducting environmental impact assessments for Independent Power Producers as well as conducting water use plan studies for BC Hydro.

Kyle has worked on countless streams throughout British Columbia and has extensive knowledge in the fields of fisheries resource inventory, snorkel surveying, fish habitat assessment, in stream flow studies, ramping studies/stranding monitoring, water quality testing and hydrometric installations and measurements.

Kyle has numerous specialty safety certifications and is experienced and comfortable in all outdoor settings. He is extremely comfortable working with students and members of the general public, having previously been employed in the nature based tourism industry as a fishing guide, commercial bear viewing guide, naturalist and certified captain. Kyle has a passion for fish and people.

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