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Become a Marine Mammal Medic

Successful rescue often depends on properly trained volunteers.

That’s where you come in.

We offer a one day course 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.

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.

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2023 – 2024 Summer Training Courses


Christchurch – Saturday 23 September (sold out)
Wellington – Saturday 14 October – (sold out)
Wellington – Sunday 15 October – (sold out)
Auckland – Saturday 18 November – (sold out)
Auckland – Sunday 19 November – (sold out)


Nelson – Saturday 17 February (sold out)
Nelson – Sunday 18 February (closed)
Tauranga – Saturday 23 March (sold out)
Tauranga – Sunday 24 March (closed)
Tutukaka Coast (Ngunguru) – Saturday 13 April (sold out)
Kerikeri – Sunday 14 April (closed)

Cost: $140 ($99 for students with valid ID).

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.

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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
  • A Project Jonah lanyard
  • A stranding cue card
  • A marine mammal medic ID card
  • A certificate of course completion
  • A high-viz vest.
  • Most importantly, you will be added to our national database for future stranding call-outs.

Testimonials from Our Course