Marine Research and Outreach Assistant

Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch is seeking one full-time volunteer Research and Outreach Assistants (Dolphineer) for the 2024 season. The placement runs for ~4 months from 6th May 13th September. This position is being re-advertised, please only apply if you have genuine interest and availability to join us for the entire duration. Deadline is Monday 8th April 11pm. 

This is a unique opportunity to join our small but active team, becoming involved in all areas of research and outreach work whilst running our busy Visitor Centre.

Your time will be split between five core activities: manning the Visitor Centre, land-based surveys, boat-based surveys, office work, and outreach/education events. You will be working alongside 1 or 2 MWDW operational staff on a rota of indoor and outdoor tasks:

  • General: All office work takes place at the Manx Whale and Dolphin Visitor Centre which you will assist in managing. We provide information about local species, recent sightings, spotting tips, and sell merchandise. The centre is busy during the summer months with tourists as well as locals. Regular craft and educational workshops for children take place in school holidays.
  • Daily admin: Consists of maintaining our busy public sightings network; logging sighting reports of cetaceans and basking sharks and responding to social media messages and emails. You will create public interpretation materials and social media content using design software and video editing tools. You will enter and analyse data collected on land and boat-based surveys, keeping spreadsheets up to date. A major task this year will be updating our photo-identification catalogues of dolphin dorsal fins, reaching out to cetacean groups across the UK to collect images from other regions to compare with the Manx catalogue.
  • Land-based surveys: You will conduct land-based surveys from dedicated coastal sites whenever the weather is calm enough. This is a fantastic way of observing cetaceans and basking sharks behaving naturally in their environment without causing them any disturbance. All data contributes to our long-term dataset and understanding of how local species are using Manx waters.
  • Boat-based surveys: These will take place as the weather and other factors permit. These surveys allow us to collect photo-identification images and offshore data. You may also have opportunities to join local tourist boat operators, guiding passengers whilst collecting data and photographs. Volunteers must be aware that all boat trips are extremely weather dependent and can be infrequent. We will not guarantee you a certain number of trips during your stay.
  • Public outreach and awareness: Raising awareness is a key element of our work. We run frequent public watch events where you will communicate with the public about local species and help them spot cetaceans, basking sharks, and seals. We also attend events such as carnivals and fun-days with our travelling information stall.


As a volunteer for Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch, you will be spending the summer in the picturesque seaside town of Peel on the Isle of Man’s west coast. Peel is considered our most Gaelic town and is a fantastic place to live with two beaches, an impressive castle, entertaining pubs, and the chance of seeing our resident bottlenose dolphins in the bay.

Work pattern

We do not have a typical working pattern, but you will usually work 5 days a week including most weekends. Survey work can only take place in calm weather, so flexibility is key, and fieldwork must take priority where possible. There may be consecutive days when we are working out in the field with early starts or late finishes. Likewise, there will be days or weeks that we are office based. The season is extremely busy and it is important that we work together and rota ourselves correctly throughout the season.   

Who are we looking for?

We are seeking applicants looking to gain hands-on experience with a small but busy cetacean research group. You must have a strong work ethic and be able to think pro-actively, learning from the role and using your own initiative to develop new projects over the course of the summer. You will be happy working within a small, closely knit team. Experience is not essential, but you should be able to demonstrate a strong desire to pursue a career in conservation, marine mammal science, environmental education, or another related field. This is a busy placement, and we need volunteers who are active, passionate about the job, and willing to get stuck in to all of the tasks.

Travel / Accommodation

Please let us know on your application if you are able to bring a car. Work related fuel costs will be reimbursed and there is financial support available for the ferry crossing. We will also help with the cost of ferry foot passenger tickets or flights from the UK or Ireland.

This is a residential placement and accommodation has been sought locally at £125 a week (bills included) which is line with UK student rentals. You will have your own room in a large, shared town house in the centre of Peel. Local pub work in the evenings is easy to come by and has been a popular option for previous volunteers to help with living costs. 

You can get to the Isle of Man easily from the UK or Ireland via the ferry (Steam-Packet) or a flight to our airport (Ronaldsway).

To apply:

Email the following to 

  • A copy of your CV
  • A copy of your covering letter

Deadline: Monday 8th April at 11pm. Online interviews will take the place the following week.

Learn about previous Dolphineers by reading their blog ‘Diary of a Dolphineer’

Contact details: Jen Adams 07624 393496

Volunteer Grants and Fundraising Officer

Job: find and liaise with local corporates and trust funds with the aim of securing funds for ongoing running costs. Approach and apply for funding, chase via phone, email, or meet in person.

Would suit someone with: Prior experience and contacts in this field. Excellent communication skills. Professional demeanor.

Time requirement: Couple of hours a week, from home or the MWDW centre in Peel.

Boat Maintenence volunteer

Job: Assist with ongoing vessel repair work, with potential to join as crew or skipper on research trips.

Would suit someone with: knowledge of boat engines and mechanics.

Time requirement: Flexible, as and when required, onboard MWDW’s boat in Peel.

Register your interest

Please contact us today if you are interested in any of these local volunteer vacancies