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More about the Marine Dynamics Volunteer programme​

The Marine Big 5

Experience a wide range of South African marine wildlife, including the Marine Big 5! We research and are active in the conservation of sharks, whales, dolphins, seals and our endangered African penguins.

Marine Biologists

Learn from and work with a team of marine biologists that are actively contributing to research and conservation objectives in our Fair Trade Tourism certified programme.

Making a Difference

As a volunteer or intern, you play a critical role, helping us do invaluable work in protecting the Dyer Island ecosystem and the marine world off the Cape coast, for many years to come.

International Marine Volunteers programme

Marine Voluntourism in Gansbaai

Our Projects

Great White Shark & Marine Species Research

The seas around Dyer Island have historically attracted one of the
most accessible populations of great white sharks, creating a rare opportunity for our marine biologists to conduct invaluable research from our eco-tourism vessels and dedicated research boats. We also contribute to research on other shark and ray species, whales, dolphins, seals, and seabirds.

African Penguin Conservation

The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) is where we treat injured, oiled or ill seabirds. Our team is involved in their rescue and releases, which are on or close to their home colony of Dyer Island. African penguin conservation includes a nest project providing critical protection to the penguins during their fledgling stage. Volunteers assist with feeding times at the APSS.

Marine Animal Rescues

We are the first port of call for marine animal rescues in the area, due to our expert team and dedicated recovery vessels. Any necropsies are done on site, and samples provided to various scientific studies.

Estuary Monitoring

A consistent monitoring programme of the Uilenkraalsmond Estuary helps in assessing the health of this important system and is essential to our understanding of the important role wetlands play in the ecosystem.

Community Education

Our Education program, known as DEEP, works with dedicated groups of young learners and runs for three years to monitor and evaluate the impact and growth of every individual learner. These young learners are exposed to the field of science and conservation that serves as a forerunner for future skills training. Besides this, the Trust’s outreach programmes reach thousands more learners.

Marine Pollution

Marine pollution efforts include regular beach clean-ups, and our unique fishing line bin project that is along the South African coastline. Project Storm address ocean bound waste through the storm water network.

BRUV | Mark & Recapture

Baited Remote Underwater Video studies, as well as tagging of smaller shark species helps us to investigate the diversity, distribution, and abundance of sharks and fish around Dyer Island, and contributes to similar studies around South Africa helping drive decisions on marine protected areas.
Great White Shark & Marine Species Research
African Penguin Conservation
Marine Animal Rescues
Estuary Monitoring
Community Education
Marine Pollution
BRUV | Mark & Recapture

FAQ's about our volunteer program

Sign up today for a life-changing marine volunteer experience. We answer a few of your questions here but our detailed prospectus and more information can be found on our Marine Dynamics Academy website. You will love our blogs from our volunteers.

Our voluntourism project is year-round as every day is a marine adventure at Marine Dynamics. Our volunteer intake arrives every Monday for orientation.

We prioritise your time at sea, but note we are affected by weather, tide, sea conditions and seasonal demand. You will form part of our crew assisting guests on board and tasks on land. Some of the tasks can be quite physical so a healthy degree of fitness is required. You will receive educational talks from our team of marine biologists and have experiences as related to their work and our research, conservation, and community projects. You will also support the team at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary – we have two feeding times a day. Marine animal rescues and strandings happen in the area. Wherever possible we ensure you are part of all the action.

No. We will teach you some basics, but the responsibilities remain with Marine Dynamics. You will no doubt get your sea legs after a few days, but you may need motion sickness tablets initially if this is something you are concerned about. We ask that you always respect the skipper’s decisions and listen to the instructions from the crew.

On your first day, you will enjoy the cage diving experience as if you were a guest so that you understand how things work. Your assistance on our boats and on land is greatly appreciated and provides you with a great overview of eco-tourism in action. We ensure you have some cage time and fun too. As space and time allows, the skipper will let you know if you can get in the cage so always be ready. And if we have been busy and there has not been a chance for volunteers to dive, we try to plan an exclusive volunteer trip, again depending on weather/time etc.

This depends on the number of trips and number of volunteers to assist. So, you could work one trip for the day and possibly a second. Some volunteers like to pick up on the second trip, if possible, when space allows to get more sea time, so anything from half a day to a full day’s work. We fit in presentations and other activities, including fun excursions when you are not at sea.

The short answer is at least two weeks, to ensure you get sufficient time on sea and exposure to as many of the projects as possible, plus a little free time to see this incredible area as we arrange excursions when weather and sea conditions keep us off sea. Four weeks is best, so you get more time for everything, and hopefully some rare and unique experiences. We also have time to get to know you better. Many of our volunteers return and some stay for months. Some have gone on to do research and guiding experiences with us. We aim to give you a good overview of all we do, and perhaps inspire your career path.

Our programmes generally run from Monday to Monday. However, you can start on any Monday of the year.
Contact details

5 Geelbek Street, Kleinbaai
Western Cape, South Africa
GPS: -34º 36′ 53.74″, +19º 21′ 10.75″

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Conservation Partners

Dyer Island Conservation Trust

African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary

Department: Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

Cape Nature

Overstrand Municipality

Plastics SA

Tourism Partners

Fair Trade Tourism


Cape Town Tourism

Cape Country Routes

Gansbaai Tourism