Marine Research and Outreach Assistants

Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch

Isle of Man

Volunteer • Full Time 07624 393496/01624 844686 Jen Adams

Sectors: marine conservation, conservation & wildlife

Closing date: Friday, 2nd March 2018   7 days left

Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch is a charity based on the Isle of Man dedicated to the conservation of cetaceans in Manx waters through research and education. We are recruiting 2 full-time Research and Outreach Assistants for the 2018 season to work from Monday 21st May to Monday 10th September. You will be joining our small but active team and become involved in all areas of our research work and public awareness campaigns. Please only apply if you can commit to the full time period. 

There are 5 key species of cetacean in Manx waters including the Risso’s dolphin which is understudied in most parts of the world. If you are passionate about cetaceans and the marine environment and are looking to get a foot in the door within the industry, this could be the opportunity for you.

The majority of your time here will be split between four activities: land-based surveys, boat-based surveys, office tasks and public outreach.

Land-based surveys are a fantastic way of observing cetaceans and basking sharks behaving naturally in their environment, without causing them any disturbance. These surveys form the majority of the effort based data that we collect. Surveys will always be carried out by at least two people and last up to three hours at any one location during which sightings data on cetaceans and basking sharks will be collected, as well as environmental data.

Boat-based surveys take place aboard our research vessel, ‘Galps’. Boat surveys allow us to calculate relative abundance of cetaceans and basking sharks and also are when we obtain the majority of our images for photo-identification. These are usually the highlights of the summer and provide us with all of the offshore information currently known about cetaceans in Manx waters. It is important that volunteers are aware that surveys on Galps are exceptionally weather dependent and can be infrequent.

This year we will be working with local tourist boat operators to offer expert guiding. You will be assigned a boat and expected to stay in regular touch with the skippers, joining them on-board as and when you can. You will guide passenger in what they can see, fill out survey forms and take dorsal fin photos when possible.Trips usually run a few times a week, depending on weather.

The principal office activities you will participate in are data entry and photo-identification analysis. You will be taught how we enter and process the data we record on our surveys, including the addition of tidal data. Photo-identification allows us to keep a record of re-sightings of individuals and to give us another derivative of abundance.

Public outreach and awareness raising is a key element of our work. We run monthly public watch events at a beauty spot in the south of the island where you will chat to people about local species and help them to spot animals. We attend numerous small events such as carnivals and fun-days with our stall to talk to the public about our work. It is important that you are confident enough to engage with the general public and go out of your way to spread your knowledge to the wider community. You may also have the opportunity to assist with children’s clubs and school visits.

As a volunteer for Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch, you will be spending the summer in the lovely city of Peel on the Isle of Man. Peel is a fantastic place to live with a beautiful beach, impressive castle, entertaining pubs and the chance of seeing basking sharks from the breakwater. You will be living in a shared house along with the other members of staff and will be expected to share a spacious single sex room. Rent is £50 per week plus bills.

We do not have a typical working week as we have to take advantage of good weather when it is available, however, we typically work five days per week including most weekends. Previous volunteers have taken up part-time evening work to help with living costs.

Previous experience is not essential but we like to take on people with a strong desire to work in conservation or environmental education who are looking to gain more experience.

The start date of 21st May is the very latest you can join us, as the TT motorbike racing begins the following week and travel to the island will be virtually impossible and expensive. You are very welcome to join us earlier, if you wish to get settled in and explore the island, but please be aware that we cannot train you earlier as we will be working with a visiting school group the week before.

To apply, please email us a copy of your CV and a covering letter explaining why you would like to come and volunteer with us. Deadline is Friday 2nd March 11pm. Skype or phone interviews will take place through March.

Please take a look at our website ( and find us on Facebook to learn more about our work, local species and recent sightings.

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