Become a Marine Mammal Medic

kapiti 2020-615

Each year, hundreds of whales and dolphins strand on our shores. Whilst some are sick or injured, others are healthy and just need a helping hand back out to sea.

But saving whales isn't as easy as it looks and successful rescue often depends on properly trained volunteers. That's where you come in.

You can become a Marine Mammal Medic with our one day course. It costs $125 ($95 for students with valid ID) and once trained you'll be added to our national callout list. That means that when a stranding occurs your lifesaving skills can be called upon.

2021/2022 summer training courses

Our Summer 21/22 Marine Mammal Medic training locations and dates are;


Nelson - Sunday 26 September (Rescheduled)
Wellington - Saturday 16 October (Sold Out)
Wellington - Sunday 17 October (Sold Out)
Christchurch - Saturday 6 November (Sold Out)
Kaikōura - Sunday 7 November (Sold Out)
Auckland – Saturday 27 November (Sold Out)
Auckland – Sunday 28 November (Sold Out)


Nelson - Sunday 6 February
Auckland – Waiheke – Saturday 26 February (Sold Out)
Auckland – Waiheke – Sunday 27 February
Tauranga – Saturday 26 March
Waihi Beach – Sunday 27 March
Kerikeri – Saturday 9 April
Whangārei (Ruakākā) – Sunday 10 April

Book your course today.

Minimum age to take part in the course is 15 years old.
Courses are subject minimum number of participants and may be cancelled if this is not reached. View our cancellation policy here.

Course Content

Our one-day course is split into two parts;
The morning session is made up of lectures and presentations. We'll cover the adaptation and anatomy of dolphins & whales, their behaviours & social structures, and the reasons why they may strand. We will take a look at stranding rescue techniques, key roles & responsibilities and personal health & safety.

In the afternoon we relocate to the beach to put your newfound knowledge and skills to the test. We’ll practice first aid on our life-size, life-weight model dolphin and pilot whale and get to grips with rescue equipment including our dolphin lifting mats and specialised rescue pontoons.

By the end of the course you’ll be trained to:
  • Assist in the rescue of stranded whales and dolphins
  • Act as a role model to untrained rescuers
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities at a stranding
  • Avoid potential hazards for people and whales

You will receive a comprehensive handbook and be issued with a Project Jonah lanyard, stranding cue card, marine mammal medic ID card, certificate and high-viz vest. Most importantly, you will be added to our national database for future stranding call-outs.

Helping dolphins and whales both here and overseas

Over the years we’ve shared our knowledge and skills around the world. Our inflatable pontoons, rescue techniques and training programme are being used in Australia, Canada, the UK, Hawaii, Taiwan and Samoa to name but a few.

Whilst we can’t predict the exact timing and location of strandings in New Zealand, our job is to be as prepared as possible. No matter what time of day, where the stranding occurs, or how difficult the conditions, we’re ready to offer our lifesaving support.

Speed of response is essential, and quick action can prevent a disaster from becoming a catastrophe. We have learned from experience that being prepared plays a major role in saving these animals lives. But our team of volunteers and experts needs quality equipment and training to get the job done.

We urgently need to train more people around the country, particularly in remote regions and known stranding hotspots. We need more equipment and emergency gear, so we can provide the very best care to these animals when they need it most. And we need to be able to get our senior team of experts to the stranding site as quickly as possible.

By supporting our work through a donation today, your money will be used as soon as it is needed. Help us to be ready in advance, so we can save lives the next time disaster strikes. To make a donation simply click here.
 $20 Durable and re-usable bucket to carry equipment and to keep stranded animals cool
 $50 Bi-annual certification of a dive tank (used to fill our pontoons each and every time we save a stranded whale)
 $200 Purchases 10 high visibility vests so that Project Jonah medics can be easily identified during a stranding
 $500 Allows us to co-ordinate our volunteers via text during a typical stranding emergency
 $1,000 Buys a dolphin stretcher, essential for moving dolphins quickly back to water
 $2,000 Purchases a volunteer briefing banner
 $12,000 Buys an inflatable pontoon set, an effective whale flotation device
 $15,000 Buys an inflatable whale for ‘on beach’ training practice
 $20,000 Funds an inflatable rescue boat – a fast and reliable way to transport volunteers to isolated beaches and a vital way for us to monitor and track refloated whales
Report a Stranding
Become a Marine Mammal Medic-PINK-NEW
Like us on Facebook
About our company
Enter a succinct description of your company here
Contact Us
Enter your company contact details here