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Volunteer with Dolphins!

Written By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer

Have you ever imagined being close to dolphins, feeling the cool ocean spray while watching them jump and play? If this idea makes you super excited, then volunteering with dolphins might be the perfect adventure for you. This guide will show you how to get started on this amazing journey, highlight ethical considerations, and help you find the right volunteer opportunities with dolphins.

The Magic of Working with Dolphins


Dolphins have long captured the human imagination with their intelligence, grace, and sociability. By volunteering with dolphins, you have the chance to experience the magic of these marine mammals in their natural habitats. Volunteer work with dolphins often includes research activities like data collection and analysis, which helps in understanding their behaviors and social structures. Such opportunities not only enrich your knowledge but also foster a deep, respectful connection with marine life.

Why Volunteer with Dolphins?


Choosing to volunteer with dolphins is a decision that brings a multitude of rewards. It’s an excellent way to contribute to the conservation of marine ecosystems and understand more about marine biology. You’ll gain hands-on experience in marine research techniques and conservation strategies, making it an ideal choice for those studying or interested in marine sciences. Additionally, these volunteer experiences often offer the chance to meet and collaborate with people from around the globe who share your passion for marine life.

Ethical Volunteering with Dolphins


When looking to volunteer with dolphins, it’s crucial to choose programs that operate in the open ocean rather than those that keep dolphins in captivity. Ethical volunteer opportunities with dolphins focus on observation and research and are unlikely to involve feeding, touching, or otherwise interfering with the dolphins. This approach ensures that the animals remain wild and are not conditioned to seek human interaction, which can adversely affect their survival skills.

Finding the Right Program


So, where can you volunteer with dolphins? Numerous organizations across the globe offer the opportunity to volunteer with dolphins, particularly in countries like Australia, which is known for its rich marine biodiversity. When selecting a volunteer program, consider the following:

  • Location and Environment: Australia, South Africa, Fiji, and Tenerife offer fantastic opportunities to volunteer with dolphins in diverse marine settings, from vibrant coral reefs to rich coastal waters, just to name a few! 
  • Type of Work: Are you interested in research, education, or conservation? Each program has a different focus.
  • Duration: Volunteer commitments can vary from a few weeks to several months. Consider how much time you can dedicate.
  • Costs: It’s important to understand that the most ethical volunteer programs often have associated costs. These expenses contribute to the sustainability of the program, ensuring that resources are available to provide for the dolphins’ welfare and support the local community. Volunteering for free can sometimes place a financial strain on the host organization, so paying for your volunteer experience helps maintain the integrity and effectiveness of the program.

Available Volunteer Programs and Providers


Explore the following ethical organizations with great opportunities to volunteer with dolphins worldwide!

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

Discover the Marine Conservation Volunteer Project in Gansbaai, South Africa, with International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ). Dive into marine life conservation efforts focusing on a variety of species, including dolphins, sharks, whales, penguins, seals, and seabirds. Spend most of your time at sea, engaging in diverse activities that support research and conservation initiatives. 


The program fee includes accommodation, meals, airport pickup, orientation, and comprehensive support, all for an affordable fee starting from $1276 for two weeks. Experience firsthand the stunning South African marine environment while making a significant impact on its preservation.


Explore unique volunteer opportunities with dolphins through GoEco, each offering a distinct experience in marine conservation. Below, we outline the different programs available, helping you choose the perfect fit for your interests and commitment level.


Each program offers a unique way to engage with marine life and contribute to the preservation of these magnificent animals. 

  • Italy – Liveaboard Dolphin Research Expedition: Set sail along the Italian coastline on a historic boat, and help with critical dolphin data collection. This initiative, operational since 1991, played a pivotal role in establishing Neptune’s Kingdom as a marine protected area. Highlights include living aboard a renowned vessel, direct involvement in dolphin conservation tasks, and more!
  • Tanzania – Dolphin and Marine Conservation: Join this vibrant program on a tropical island, focusing on dolphin conservation, community work, and educational outreach about local marine life. Your daily activities might include swimming with dolphins, conducting coral bleaching surveys, and enjoying cultural immersion like dining in local village homes.
  • Australia – Great Barrier Reef Conservation: Dive into the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and engage in activities to protect its delicate ecosystem and diverse marine life, including dolphins. This program is perfect for those who are looking to become PADI certified or for experienced divers aiming to contribute their skills towards marine research and coral reef conservation.
  • Mozambique – Whale Shark and Marine Conservation: This program offers a comprehensive experience in marine biology and conservation, with a focus on whale sharks, but also includes studying dolphins and other marine life. Activities include diving, data collection, and participation in ocean safaris designed to monitor and protect the region’s marine biodiversity.

African Impact

Volunteer with African Impact in Zanzibar for a truly immersive dolphin and marine conservation experience. As a dolphin volunteer, you’ll help protect these playful creatures during human interactions and boat tours. Immerse yourself in the heart of Zanzibar’s vibrant marine ecosystem through daily boat trips, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, and conducting important research to monitor dolphin behaviors and interactions. 


You’ll stay in a comfortable, secure volunteer house with communal living spaces and a pool, sharing dorm-style accommodations that foster a community spirit. The program fee includes all meals, accommodation, airport transfers, and project-related transport, ensuring you have everything you need for a rewarding experience. This program not only offers a chance to witness dolphins in their natural habitat but also contributes to crucial conservation efforts, safeguarding the future of marine life in Zanzibar.

Global Vision International (GVI)

Global Vision International (GVI) offers diverse volunteer programs across various global locations. These programs provide a unique blend of hands-on conservation work, cultural immersion, and education, allowing volunteers to make a substantial impact on marine ecosystems. Each of these programs by GVI not only supports critical conservation efforts but also offers volunteers the chance to gain valuable field experience and make lasting connections with like-minded individuals from around the world.


Here’s a brief overview of each program:

  • Dolphin, Turtle and Shark Conservation in Fiji: Travel to the remote Dawasamu region of Fiji for an adventurous marine conservation program. Volunteers will dive and conduct fieldwork to monitor and survey dolphins, turtles, sharks, and other marine species. This program offers an opportunity to immerse in Fijian culture, explore rainforests and volcanic mountains, and participate in vital marine research.
  • Dolphin, Turtle and Dugong Conservation in Mozambique: Located in the stunning Bazaruto Archipelago, volunteers will engage in activities such as diving, data collection on marine life, and beach cleanups. This program focuses on monitoring the health of ecosystems and the species that inhabit them, including dolphins, turtles, and the rare dugong.
  • Penguin, Dolphin and Whale Conservation in South Africa: Based in Gansbaai, volunteers will work within the Marine Big 5 environment, focusing on conservation and research efforts aimed at dolphins, penguins, whales, and other marine species. Activities include assisting with the rehabilitation of endangered African penguins, collecting data during boat trips, and participating in community outreach and educational campaigns.
  • Whale and Dolphin Conservation in the Canary Islands: This program in Tenerife allows volunteers to observe and collect data on whales and dolphins, contributing to conservation efforts and helping to ensure sustainable practices in local tourism. Volunteers will also participate in beach cleans and other activities aimed at preserving the marine environment.
  • Citizen Science Island Conservation in Tenerife: Volunteers can join efforts to tackle marine and environmental challenges, observe dolphins and whales, and contribute to data collection and research in partnership with local organizations. This program focuses on marine debris, biodiversity surveys, and the promotion of sustainable tourism practices.

Beyond the Surface

Volunteering with dolphins is more than just a trip; it’s a transformative journey that can change the way you see the world and yourself. It’s an opportunity to learn, grow, and make a meaningful difference in the conservation of these incredible creatures.

Volunteer Forever - Volunteer and Intern in Italy

If you’re ready for an adventure that combines your love for marine life with the thrill of exploration, start planning your volunteer experience with dolphins today. Remember, the most rewarding journeys are those that not only take you across the seas but also deeper into the heart of what you love.