management header graphic

Sanctuary Ocean Count Volunteer Information

Volunteers are essential in conducting the sanctuary's annual Ocean Count event. Volunteers monitor the water for signs of humpback whale activity. The majority of participants are local residents, however expanding interest has brought us calls from the mainland, Australia and beyond. Don't miss your chance to get involved!

Registration for the Sanctuary Ocean Count takes place from late December to March each year.

The 2019 Sanctuary Ocean Counts have concluded. The 2020 Ocean Counts are scheduled for the following Saturdays: January 25, February 29, and March 28, 2020. Registration for 2020 will commence in mid-December 2019!

Interested in registering a group of 5 or more? Please see group information.

Interested in being a site leader? Please contact us at the numbers listed above.

Some sites fill up quickly so we recommend that you register as early as possible. If your site is already full, your count coordinator can recommend an alternate location for you.

As the event date gets closer your site leader will be responsible for contacting all registered volunteers for their site with any important information for the event day. They will also include a sample list of things to bring that will help make the 4 hour data collection more comfortable for you. The site leaders will be guiding the volunteers at your site and relaying any last-minute information from the Ocean Count coordinators.

On the day of the event, you will be asked to arrive at your site around 7:30 a.m. (or earlier if a hike is required) to get settled and receive instructions for data collection procedures. Some items you may consider bringing with you include pens or pencils, clipboards, binoculars, beach chairs or mats, hats, jackets, umbrellas, sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks, and water. A cellular telephone is also helpful in case of emergencies.

Site leaders will be responsible for collecting all data sheets from the volunteers and submitting them back to the count coordinators. Volunteers are also asked to fill out an evaluation form to provide comments and suggestions for improving the event. Feel free to give them to your site leader to forward or send them directly to the sanctuary office.

Safety is a primary concern during the Ocean Count. If weather or environmental conditions during the ocean count become unsafe, please abort the effort and vacate the area to ensure the safety of yourself and others. We recommend that while whale watching, all necessary precautions be taken as conditions at some of these shore sites can become unsafe. We advise that proper clothing and footwear be worn at all times. Never turn your back to the ocean or walk along steep cliffs.

Thank you for your interest in the Sanctuary Ocean Count and we hope you have a great day whale watching!


whale blowing sidebar graphic
NOAA logo