VOLUNTEER crew members on MV Freedom are taking part in a scheme to monitor seagrass around the British coast.

The crew of the boat, which helps disabled people to explore the Jurassic Coast, is joining the Community Seagrass Initiative (CSI)'s Sailing Into Science programme to carry out crucial monitoring work around water clarity.

Clarity of the water is essential to nurturing seagrass meadows as it affects the amount of light that they are able to get to help them grow.

In areas where pollution is introduced into the water, this can make the surface murkier and limit the potential of seagrass to grow.

Volunteer crew member Andrew Harding said: "Our aim on MV Freedom is to help all less able people enjoy our beautiful coastline.

"We got involved with the seagrass monitoring to expand what we do to help life under the sea too.

"We’re lucky to live on such a lovely bit of coastline so we all have to do our part to look after it."

Seagrass is the world's only fully marine flowering plant and acts as an underwater rainforest, forming in large meadows.

These unique ecosystems provide homes for some of the most unusual and interesting species of underwater wildlife, including seahorses and cuttlefish.

Seagrass meadows can also improve water quality and reduce the effects of coastal erosion.

Jess Mead, Weymouth project officer for the CSI, said: "It’s amazing to have such an enthusiastic bunch of volunteers on board with our Sailing into Science programme and we’d love for more boat users to come forward to help us as well.

"The project provides all the training and equipment needed and the monitoring itself is very quick and easy so everyone can take part.

"All the information we collect is vital for understanding more about the potential threats to seagrass and working to reduce them."

The Community Seagrass Initiative is spearheaded by the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth and is being supported by a number of conservation organisations, including Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park.

It was made possible by a £475,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

To find out more about the initiative and how you can get involved, visit csi-seagrass.co.uk.