Become a Marine Mammal Medic

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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 $120 ($85 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.


2019/2020 summer training courses will be announced in July.

Make sure you are signed up to our newsletter to be the first to find out!

Minimum age for participants is 15 years. Dates and locations are subject to demand.

Course Content
Our one-day course is split into two parts.

The morning session is made up of short lectures and video presentations. During this session you’ll learn about the evolution and anatomy of dolphins and whales, their behaviour and social structures and some of the reasons they may strand. We’ll examine stranding rescue techniques - what to do and what not to do, key roles and responsibilities at a stranding and personal health and safety.

In the afternoon we’ll hit the beach to put your new-found knowledge and skills to the test. We’ll practice basic first aid on our life size inflatable whale and get to grips with rescue equipment such as dolphin lifting mats and Project Jonah’s very own whale rescue pontoons.

By the end of the course you’ll be trained to:
  • Assist in the rescue of stranded dolphins and whales
  • Act as a role model to untrained rescuers
After the course you’ll be issued with a marine mammal medic card and 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
 $8,000 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
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