Surveyor Training Courses

Locations of our Forthcoming Marine Mammal & Seabird Surveyor Training Courses (2018)

  • Thursday 13th September with Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve, Fareham, Hampshire - Advert
  • Saturday 13th October with Elmley National Nature Reserve, Kingshill Farm, Kent - Advert
  • Saturday 10th November at the Dolphin Shopping Centre (1st Floor), Poole - Advert*
  • Saturday 24th November with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust at Living Seas Centre, South Sea Road, Flamborough - Advert

*Special discount of just £45 per person for this Dolphin Shopping Centre supported course.

For information about our training courses and how to book, please see below

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MARINElife is a leading charity conserving marine wildlife through research and education. Our focus species include whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and seabirds in European waters.

Our core offshore work is in researching distribution, abundance and population trends for whales, dolphins, seabirds and other marine animals from commercial vessels. We have a particular interest in White-Beaked Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, Cuvier's Beaked Whales and Balearic Shearwaters. We operate year-round surveys along fixed 'transect' routes through the Channel, Bay of Biscay, North Sea, Irish Sea and wider Atlantic Ocean working on ferries, freight ships, cruise liners and smaller recreational boats. As a leading charity in the proactive conservation of marine wildlife through research and education, MARINElife relies on a diverse team of highly-valued volunteers.

We are always eager to welcome volunteers who can offer their support. If you are enthusiastic, reliable and want to make a positive contribution to the crucial work we do by becoming involved in our dynamic team, we would very much like to hear from you.

We adhere to strict scientific methodologies when conducting our research surveys and either look for experienced volunteers or provide ongoing training for new volunteers.

Many of MARINElife volunteers go on to have careers in the field of marine mammal observation or in scientific marine mammal and seabird research. The survey work with MARINElife has provided the foundation for their passion and the knowledge for their career next steps.

Why complete the Marine Mammal & Seabird Survey training course?

The marine environment is under-studied and therefore research on the status of marine wildlife, threats it faces and action required to protect it requires intensive study. MARINElife operates through a group of dedicated volunteers who help gather data on the marine environment and we are always looking for new volunteers to help conduct surveys, report their sightings or help with other aspects of charity operation.

The training will give you a thorough grounding on the diverse range of species we study, the methodologies we follow and the part you can play in safeguarding their future.

Even if you do not plan to become a surveyor and get involved directly, this training course is designed as an excellent introduction to conducting marine mammal and seabird surveys that are of scientific value.

Why attend a MARINElife training course?

No other organisation has been carrying out ferry-based research for longer than MARINElife whose work started in the early 1990's. MARINElife leads the science of ferry-based survey collection and was a founder and coordinates the Atlantic Research Coalition (ARC) which brings together data gathered by multiple organisations conducting scientific data on whales and dolphins. MARINElife is one of the few organisations collecting data on seabirds from ferries.

Our team leaders are experts in the field of data collection and identification of cetaceans and seabirds, giving you the immediate and ongoing training to develop your skills to a high level.

Where do you carry out surveys?

We focus on the European waters of the North Eastern Atlantic and North Sea, with teams of 2 volunteers, aged 18 plus, carrying out surveys on a number of ferry and freight routes throughout the year. We operate in the North Sea, East and West Channel, Irish Sea, Bay of Biscay and Bristol Channel.

We also carry out surveys from smaller vessels including dive boats, angling boats and other pleasure and commercial vessels.

Berths and tickets are provided free by our ferry partners, but you are responsible for your own travel to and from the UK ports.


Land-based courses: 10am arrival to a 4pm departure with an hour for you to get lunch (not provided)

Land-based course fee: £50, Wildlife Trust Members: £45

If you are enquiring on behalf of a group e.g. colleges, universities, U3A please contact for further information

Our Marine Mammal & Seabird Survey Training courses make fantastic presents.  Why not purchase a gift certificate for your loved one!  Please contact Tricia Dendle for more details:

Gift Certificate

Booking information

Pre-booking is essential, so to book a place, please contact Tricia Dendle:

A typical land-based programme would be:

10:00 Arrival and informal meeting
10:30 Background on MARINElife
11:00 Observation Skills
11:30 Cetacean Identification
12:00 Seabird Identification
12:30 Lunch
13:30 Methodology
14:15 Identification Quiz
15:15 Group Q&A
15:30 Close & individual questions
16:00 Depart




For more marine conservation jobs and courses please click on the links below:

WiseOceans for a wide selection of marine conservation opportunities