Volunteer on Offshore Surveys

- ORCA Marine Mammal Surveyors recording the GPS position of a cetacean sighting.

Volunteer on Offshore Surveys

ORCA works to identify and protect critical whale and dolphin habitats in UK, European waters and adjoining waters. We strive to create safer places for whales, dolphins and porpoises and we couldn't do it without the help of our network of volunteers.

The identification of important whale, dolphin and porpoise habitats is carried out by ORCA’s Marine Mammal Surveyor Teams, who are all volunteers. Our volunteer teams go on board ferries and cruise ships to conduct regular scientific surveys, recording the species they see, where they are and what they’re doing.

Where do we survey?

The maps below show all of our current and past routes. These range from day sailings to three nights on board:

ORCA Ferry Survey Routes

ORCA Cruise Survey Routes (these vary year to year)

There are more cetacean species found in UK waters than you might think - up to 25 in fact!  Some species can only be seen on certain routes but as whales and dolphins travel such large distances, you never know when you might get the odd surprise sighting.  Here are a some sightings maps from previous surveys, which were recorded by volunteer Marine Mammal Surveyors:

How you can join in?

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer Marine Mammal Surveyor, all you need to do is book onto an ORCA training course. Anyone over the age of 16 can attend a course, but you do need to be 18 and over for ferry surveys and 21 and over for cruise surveys. This is a fantastic opportunity to be close to these amazing animals in the wild, while collecting vital information that helps us work towards solving the problems they face.Once you have trained, our surveys are free to attend for ORCA Members.

Hear what our volunteers say…

"Being a volunteer has been life changing and so rewarding. Knowing my work is helping towards the conservation of whales & dolphins is an amazing feeling and to see them in their natural habitat an unforgettable experience. Thank you ORCA!"
 - Emma Howe-Andrews, Volunteer Marine Mammal Surveyor