Marine Field Research

founded in 2007
Marine Field Research
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Coordinator | Jackie
Coordinator | Jackie
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Learn Seamanship and crew in a research vessel
Techniques are taught on how to correctly catch & handle sharks, how to tag them, and how data on catch, tag & release can be used to monitor shark populations
Learn to deploy and operate Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) equipment, Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV) and drones
Gain experience in how to best maintain research boats and scientific equipment
Get a PADI OWD, AWOD or RD certified
Work with leading marine biologists as they undertake ground-breaking research on the charismatic marine mega-fauna of Southern Africa, including great white sharks. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

Oceans Research Institute’s field research program provides a first-hand practical experience in marine research and conservation. Anyone with an interest in marine research, conservation and/or education can benefit. Our program focuses on long-term research projects like the population assessment of white sharks or the habitat use and bio-acoustics of marine mammals. 

We have projects focused on teaching research skills to our students, like how to use ROVs or drones in marine research and monitoring projects. But we also teach practical skills from what to do when an boat engine won’t start, to how to fish responsibly in order to tag sharks. Furthermore, the ability to apply the research knowledge our students obtain into our various conservation and awareness programs in the local schools, adds to the diversity of skills and experiences. 

Our program has been recognized by many international universities providing up to a full semester credits for one month with us due to the intensive experience obtained by the students.

Projects & Activities:

Population assessments & trends of white sharks, humpback & bottlenose dolphins, southern right & humpback whales and Cape fur seals

Habitat use of white sharks and marine mammals

Population structure, trophic and movement ecology of endemic benthic catsharks

Predator-prey behavioral strategies of white sharks and Cape fur seals

Shark stress physiology and behavioral studies

Intertidal community assessment

Ecological monitoring of rivers

Marine Mammal Stranding Response workshop

Science Communication Course

*Some projects are seasonal


Additional Information:

Gain course credit

Career development skills

Certificate of completion


Getting Credit:

Approximately 150 to 200 working hours per month

~ 40-80 sea hours

~ 20 conservation/education hours (beach clean ups and community outreach)

~ 90-100 research hours

Each student gives a research based presentation at month end

Datasets for additional projects are available on request

Up to 15 credits per month

- to be coordinated through professor/university

- Forms, MOUs, evaluations can be agreed upon

Typical day

Program Structure:

Arrival 1st of the month - any time

2nd - 3rd orientation & safety briefing

4th to month end - program activities

Work conducted Monday through Friday

Work hours are between 7 am and 6 pm

Some night/weekend work

-based on research needs

Weekends are left for resting & additional recreational activities

Departure on the 1st of the next month

Free-time activities

We offer weekend trips to Cape Town, Big 5 Safaris, and Garden Route Adventures. You will also have evenings to enjoy a local dinner and spend time with friends.  

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 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 (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:00 - 18:00

What's Included

Services by Marine Field Research

Price includes

Research fee

Dorm-style accommodation

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Local transport

Local airport pickup/drop off



Price Excludes




Tourism activities

Spending money

Airport Pickup at George Airport

We arrange airport transfers on your arrival and departure. 

We are flexible with arrival and departure times but request arrival and departures to be planned for the 1st day of the month.  


Dorm style which is gender separated. 

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Included in the program fee is your catering for the entire month.

We can accommodate vegetarian, vegan, gluten free & lactose intolerant dietary requirements.
Halal and Kosher will require special arrangements.    

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 George Airport (GRJ) in George. 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

Program Dates:

1st to the 1st of the next month


Every month of the year

Arrival & Departure Airport:

George Airport, Western Cape, South Africa

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)
8 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$768 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Marine Field Research 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 Marine Field Research during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Marine Field Research cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Marine Field Research.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

Marine Field Research

Work with leading marine biologists as they undertake ground-breaking research on the charismatic marine mega-fauna of Southern Africa, including great white sharks.


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