Marine Conservation Assistant

founded in 1992
The Baywatch Project
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Coordinator | Karen
Coordinator | Karen
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.
Volunteer for a marine eco-tour company which is dedicated to marine conservation. Learn all about the marine environment and conservation! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 20+

About Us

The Baywatch Project enlists the help of volunteers to educate the local community about the need to conserve the marine environment and its inhabitants. We are a non-profit Marine Conservation Volunteer Project located in Port Elizabeth. As far as we know, the Baywatch Project is the only marine volunteering project in the world where volunteers have the opportunity of seeing the big 7 animals (Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Buffalo, Rhino, Great White Shark, Southern Right Whale) in one day. We are the only organisation in Algoa Bay with a whale and dolphin watching license, which allows us close encounters with these wonderful animals.

Program Aims

  • Educate the community, especially the youth, about the marine environment and the need for its conservation and protection.
  • Assist organisations responsible for marine law enforcement and marine research.
  • Undertake our own independent research.
About the Program
Unlike many other marine operations, the Baywatch Project is owner-ran and managed. We are a compact, yet vibrant company driven by our passion to ensure the safety and preservation of our marine heritage. We generally run only one marine tour per day, the morning session and putting as much personalized attention and detail into it as possible. Besides, the afternoons are usually not conducive to charters and we feel that we cannot give our best trying to cram more than one cruise into a day. We would hate having to cut an interesting excursion short because there was an afternoon group waiting to be taken out at a specific time. Unlike most other volunteering projects, our volunteers are needed to help with the actual running of the business on a daily basis. This will include driving and maintaining the two motorized catamarans, providing the guests with information on marine animals and assisting with research projects.
During the cruises we collect information on the cetaceans we encounter, using photo identification (which is where we need your help), which gets added to the national database. This important information can then be used by researchers, who are still learning about their habits, numbers and migration patterns. This vital data collection is needed to conserve our marine animals in the long term.

Voluntary Work

Volunteers get to learn about the marine environment and the importance of marine conservation while working hands-on in the marine touring industry. Volunteers will get to see whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, penguins etc. in the wild and assist on the boat as well as assisting with research and other conservation initiatives at the time. During your stay with the Baywatch Project you will also learn about various aspects of the marine environment, which you can pass onto others. You can help to educate them about the importance of conserving both our coasts and oceans. The content of our many whale lectures is not only gleaned from other people's research but also from our own extensive observations made during the cruises. The Baywatch Project has a fairly flexible program and can accommodate any requests, all we ask is that the volunteers have a love for nature and marine life and be open to what we have to offer them in terms of a great experience! What we do provide is  a really invaluable experience that can be referred to for future jobs! Whether you are interested in becoming a tour guide, a researcher, a skipper, a conservationist, an animal carer, or even interested in improving managerial and office related skills, including marketing and computer skills.

Typical day

Volunteers will have to do tasks like data recording during cruises, as well as current research projects as previously mentioned.
The typical day depends on the things that are to do around Port Elisabeth. There will be lecture days, boat days and practical sessions. To get a more concrete impression, you can see what's to do on a typical boat day.

A typical boat day:
  • 07h00 - 07h30 = Breakfast
  • 07h30 - 08h30 = Travel to Yacht Club/Boat Preparation
  • 08h30 - 08h45 = Welcome briefing and orientation of guests
  • 08h45 - 09h00 = Safety briefing and harbour cruise
  • 09h00 - 12h00 = Penguin Island/Whale Watching cruise
  • 12h00 - 13h00 = Clean boat, restock and record observations
  • 13h00 - 14h00 = Crew lunch at Yacht Club
  • 14h00 - 16h30 = Marketing or other activities
  • 16h30 - 18h00 = Free time
  • 18h00 - 19h00 = Evening meal
Volunteers will eventually all be expected to participate in the various briefings and talks to tourists on the boat. They will also be taught the basics of boat handling and be expected to drive the boat on occasion. They will also be expected to undertake some pro-active marketing and make constructive suggestions to improving our marketing strategy.

Free-time activities

In the Eastern Cape there is much to do and to see. Port Elizabeth is a great city for water sport activities, hiking, wildlife viewing (as there are numerous game reserves), and much more!

Besides all of the activities that are included in the volunteer program, there are a lot of things to do around Port Elizabeth in your free time:

  • Kragga Kamma Game Park- This park hosts a lot of various game species including white rhino, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, nyala, bontebok, lechwe, and many more. All of these animals roam freely and unrestricted in natural surroundings. This owner-operated, animal friendly park, where no hunting or other disturbance of the game is permitted, means that you always get close-up views and great photo opportunities.For the really adventurous there is also the option of getting up close with the cheetahs.
  • Addo Elephant National Park- With more than 550 elephants as the main attraction, buffalo, black rhino, warthog, eland, kudu, and a variety of buck species can also be encountered. It's a huge and beautiful nature reserve which is a must see.
  • Bayworld- The oceanarium houses cape fur seals, sub-anarctic fur seals, African penguins, sea turtles and many fish species. The museum and snake park are also a great visit.
  • SAMREC- Visit our local penguin rehabilitation centre which focuses on educating the public about the drastic decline in the African penguin population, whilst helping any injured/sick penguins and other seabirds.

Scuba Diving- Various courses are available on request, at a price. We do have scuba gear available for those who are already certified.

  • Port Alfred- A small town in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It is situated on the eastern seaboard of the country, at the mouth of the Kowie River, almost exactly half-way between the larger cities of Port Elizabeth and East London. The city enjoys a mild climate and award winning beaches. Kelly's beach has blue flag status, meaning it is one of the top beaches in South Africa. Port Alfred has many activities for visitors including fishing, diving, canoeing, waterskiing and tubing. Other sporting activities include golf, hiking, horse trails, and surfing.
  • The Garden Route- Sandwiched between the Outeniqua & Tsitsikamma mountains and the Indian ocean. Cities and towns worth a visit include Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, and George. The Tsitsikamma National Park is also situated along the Garden Route. Walking with elephants is also possible at The Elephant Sanctuary where you can also ride on the back of an elephant. Sky diving and bungee jumping are also activities that can be found along this route.
  • The Transkei- Slightly further away but well worth the visit. Here you can see a lot of Xhosa villages, with their unique houses, which gives you a good impression of what South Africa used to be like. The famous Hole-in-the-Wall can also be found here.


Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 20 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Required Documents
CV and Photo
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Experience in a similar industry or anything outdoors and in nature/with wildlife may be beneficial but not necessary!
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 16:00

What's Included

Services by The Baywatch Project

Accommodation, breakfast and evening meals, transportation, use of vehicle, internet, boat trips, selected outings to game reserves and other tourist attractions in Port Elizabeth.

Airport Pickup at Port Elizabeth International Airport

Volunteers will be picked up from the airport and taken to accommodation and taken back to the airport at the end of their stay!


Accommodation with the owner of Raggy Charters and The Baywatch Project in the coastal village of Seaview. Some rooms are singles and some are for multiple people, seaviews from every bedroom. Beach is across the road! Lounge areas, kitchen facilities, braai areas and an incredible garden filled with thousands of indigenous trees and bushes! The house also comprises  two entertainment areas, which are also used as lecture facilities.There is also a spacious deck that overlooks the sea. The garden is totally indigenous, with over 100 species of trees. This is a wider variety of trees than found in the whole of Europe.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Breakfast and Dinner will be prepared. Lunch is not included. Volunteers can buy their own confectionary and alcoholic beverages

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for South Africa provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in South Africa you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for South Africa.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

The Baywatch Project is available from January to December. Volunteers are welcome to join us all year!

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
4 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks
9 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$675 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. The Baywatch Project will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with The Baywatch Project during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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All program fees are charged directly by The Baywatch Project.

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Marine Conservation Assistant

Volunteer for a marine eco-tour company which is dedicated to marine conservation. Learn all about the marine environment and conservation!


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