Open-Water Whale Research

founded in 2011
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Coordinator | Tracy
Coordinator | Tracy
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Conserve Whales through conducting important research
Swim with an abundance of sea life including turtles and sharks
Undertake activities used for scientific purposes
Snorkel in the most amazing place in the world
Live aboard a whale research vessel and get as close as you will ever get to these majestic animals
Our organisation teamed up with an Australian marine research organisation to offer volunteers a spectacular and unforgettable opportunity. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

Research assistants are involved across a broad range of tasks that are fundamental to the program. This will be inclusive of marine radio operations, program health, safety and environment protocols, monitoring whale behaviour, data management, GPS operations, genetic sampling, video recordings and photo identification among other activities. 

Research assistants are involved across a broad range of tasks that are fundamental to the program. This will be inclusive of marine radio operations, program health, safety and environment protocols, monitoring whale behaviour, data management, GPS operations, genetic sampling, video recordings and photo identification among other activities. 

Duration: 6 nights

Work Roster: All day

Age Requirement: 18 years, however, we will take younger if a guardian is present.

The only skills required to be a valued member of the team is a love for marine wildlife, a desire to make a difference and a basic degree of physical fitness.

Typical day

The day will begin with a 7am meeting with the research team before a 7.30am journey aboard the Flying Fish vessel that takes the volunteers to the study site. Having taken in the wonderful marine wildlife and the environment on the shores of the Whitsundays, participants will be sorted into teams before venturing out to the Great Barrier Reef. It will be during inclement weather days when the teams will be focusing on data entry tasks before exploring the reef and enjoying the exotic landscape. The evenings will then see a review of the theory take place where lectures and presetations based on the day’s results will be conducted. No two days with the BPM team will be identical.

Free-time activities

In Airlie Beach there is a range of different activities that are open to travellers. For adrenaline junkies, you can access a variety of skydiving adventures, sailing and cruise opportunities, and helicopter excavations. 

For others that want to enjoy some much needed R&R, there is the scenic Cedar Creek Falls and Conway National Park, the tropical delights of the Airlie Beach Lagoon, the local markets at The Esplanade, nearby restaurants and bars, and Cape Gloucester, a luxurious beach beloved by locals and tourists alike. 

On the boat there will be free time to explore what the reef and the Whitsundays has to offer. Especially for those who register for consecutive placements, there will be a day off to see the sights. Traveling around the reef to remote hot spots like Whitehaven Beach, there will be ample chance to undertake snorkelling, swimming and sight seeing adventures.

Before or after the project, you may choose to complete a dive course. If you are a certified diver, or not, speak to O2E who can book you into a PADI Dive course to explore more of the Whitsundays and what it has to offer.


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.
Other Skills
Spending days and nights on the research vessel out at sea can be physically and mentally taxing for some individuals across the duration of the placement. Venturing a sizeable distance offshore will necessitate a degree of patience and persistence, as well as a basic degree of physical fitness to undertake some general tasks.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 07:00 - 17:00

What's Included

Services by Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers

Pre-departure support

Project Information Booklet

Project orientation


Field equipment and materials

Reef taxes and levies

1 nights hostel accommodation in Airlie Beach

6 nights accommodation on a whale research vessel

All meals & snacks


Participant certificate

24-hour in-country support

24-hour O2E emergency phone

All project fees are payable in Australian Dollars (AUD).

Prices include 10% Australian Goods & Services Tax (GST).

Spend the first night in Airlie Beach at a hostel meeting the group. The next morning you will depart from Abell Point Marina to the primary study site based within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. 

Volunteers spend 7 nights on a research vessel equipped with all of the necessary tools and guidance available for the planned activities. Volunteers are free to make their own accommodation arrangements after arriving back into the Abell Point Marina. 

Fly or take a bus to Proserpine, Australia, then a bus to Airlie Beach.
Dorm Room
Food & Beverages
All meals are provided for on the boat. All dietary requirements are catered for by the full-time chef onboard. Volunteers are required to purchase their own meal on arrival into Airlie Beach on the first night.
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. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Queenstown (UEE) in Queenstown. We assist you to find cheap flights to Australia.
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 Australia provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Australia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Australia.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

Volunteers spend the first night at a hostel in Airlie Beach before embarking upon the whale research vessel for the next 5 nights. 

2019 project start dates: 8-14 August, 15-21 August, 22-28 August, 29 August - 4 September.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 - 1 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
1 week (max. stay)
Average fees
$2,497 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers 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 Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers 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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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers cancels your trip
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We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

Open-Water Whale Research

Our organisation teamed up with an Australian marine research organisation to offer volunteers a spectacular and unforgettable opportunity.


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