Train to be a Marine Mammal Surveyor

ORCA Marine Mammal Surveyors

Marine Mammal Surveyors are the back bone of all of ORCA’s research

ORCA Surveying offers people from all walks of life the opportunity to actively participate in whale and dolphin conservation.

These dedicated volunteers help ORCA's work by donating their valuable time so that important marine mammal habitats can be studied and monitored on the many sea crossings the charity surveys in both UK and European waters.

Survey teams board ferries and cruise ships leaving ports across the UK to conduct scientific surveys to record the species seen, where they are and what they are doing.

Almost anyone can take part in our surveys

All you need is a passion for whales and dolphins, a reasonable level of fitness and to take an ORCA Marine Mammal Surveyor course, which will teach you everything you need to know to become a citizen scientist.

These one day, classroom based courses take place all over the UK and will give you all of the skills you need to identify and record whales, dolphins and porpoises during offshore surveys.

You will learn about the species encountered in European waters, how to  interpret their behaviour, as well as understanding ORCA’s distance sampling survey protocol and preparing you for travelling at sea.

What you need to do and know...

  • Ferry tickets are provided for you
  • Cabins for overnight sailings are provided for you
  • Surveyors are responsible for their own travel to and from the ports
  • Surveyors are responsible for their own travel, insurance and food on board
ORCA marine survey

Book a place on our Marine Mammal Surveyor Course

Courses are £79 per person and open to over 16s (though please note that you must be 18 to participate in a ferry survey and 21 to participate in a cruise survey). Once you have completed the course and become an ORCA member (starting at £5 per month or £60 per annum), our offshore surveys (ferry tickets and cabins where applicable) are provided free of charge.

These one day, classroom based courses take place all over the UK and will give you all of the skills you need to identify and record whales, dolphins and porpoises during offshore surveys. You will learn about the species encountered in European waters, how to  interpret their behaviour, as well as understanding ORCA’s distance sampling protocol and preparing you for travelling at sea.

Please refer to our ORCA Training Course Terms & Conditions for more details.

All you need is a passion for whales and dolphins

Surveyor Courses 2018

  • October 2018

    Saturday 13th October 9:30AM - 4:30PM (SAMS, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA) - Oban SOLD OUT

  • November 2018

    Saturday 17th November 9:30AM- 4:30PM (Newcastle University Lindisfarne Room, Hadrian Building, King's Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU) - Newcastle SOLD OUT

    Saturday 24th November  9:30AM- 4:30PM (Marine Station, University of Plymouth, Artillery Place, Plymouth PL4 0LU) - Plymouth SOLD OUT

  • December 2018

    Sunday 2nd December  9:30AM- 4:30PM (National Oceanography Centre, European Way, Southampton, SO14 3ZH) - Southampton SOLD OUT

  • January 2019

    Thursday 24th January  9:30AM- 4:30PM (IBM South Bank, 76/78 Upper Ground, South Bank, London, SE1 9PZ)

    Saturday 26th January  9:30AM- 4:30PM (University of Portsmouth, King Henry I Street, Portsmouth, PO1 2DY) - Portsmouth 

Can't make any of this year's dates? Register your interest for 2019/2020 here!

Where do ORCA survey?

  • FERRIES

  • CRUISES

Book a Surveyor Course place today

Please refer to our ORCA Training Course Terms & Conditions for more details.

In this section...

Train to be a Marine Mammal Surveyor

Train to be a Marine Mammal Surveyor

Book a Whale & Dolphin Sea Safari

Book a Whale & Dolphin Sea Safari

Become an ORCA Wildlife Officer

Become an ORCA Wildlife Officer

ORCA in Schools

ORCA in Schools

Make a Small Change

Make a Small Change

Photography Competition

Photography Competition