Volunteer Citizen Scientist




28 Main Street
Isle of Mull
PA75 6NU
United Kingdom


Are you a budding marine scientist, keen to explore Scotland’s West Coast by sea, or generally interested in some hands on experience with marine conservation? Join us as a volunteer on our research boat Silurian for one of our live-aboard monitoring surveys.


You and five other volunteers can join our crew on board, working as marine mammal field biologists. Full training in visual and acoustic data collection is provided, as well as practical sailing experience.


For over a decade our research vessel, Silurian, has collected information of international importance on the marine life in the Hebrides. Each year Silurian travels thousands of nautical miles to monitor whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks off the Scottish West Coast. This pioneering Cetacean Research Programme, now in its 15th year, holds the largest database of its kind for UK waters and provides the evidence to support marine conservation efforts in Scottish waters. A citizen science programme at its core, every sighting in the database has been collected by a member of the public.

Expedition Survey:

The core of the Cetacean Research Programme. Each year we attempt to survey as much of the Scottish west coast as possible. Trip itineraries aren’t pre-planned, so you will never be quite sure where you will end up on your expedition. Maybe you will travel far west of the Outer Hebrides or sail around the breath taking Argyll isles. Adventure awaits. This autumn we have berths available on our trips departing from Ullapool. These surveys will allow for the exploration of the more northern parts of our study area - which are frequented by some of the rarer species recorded in the Hebrides (white beaked dolphin and Risso's dolphin). Areas covered include the Outer Hebrides and the seas off northern Skye. 

  • Duration: 7-12 days
  • Cost: from £895 per person
  • Participant age: 18+


Joint Warrior Survey:

Surveys are scheduled to coincide with the NATO military exercise, Joint Warrior, in spring and autumn each year. The Trust believe it is important to monitor cetacean presence and behaviour during these exercises. Unusual behaviour has been documented historically and the Trust is committed to better understanding the impact of these activities on cetaceans.

  • Duration: 7-12 days
  • Cost: from £950 per person
  • Participant age: 18+

Teen Team Survey:

To celebrate Scotland’s Year of Young People, we are now running three Teen Team Surveys for the first time ever! Teen Team trips provide a fantastic experience for younger environmentalists, with participants gaining the fundamental skills required to forge a career in marine conservation. The protocol during the Teen Team Surveys is exactly the same as the Cetacean Monitoring Programme, however there will be more staff provision to offer insight and support.

  • Duration: 7 days
  • Cost: from £895 per person
  • Participant age: 16-17  


Berths Available 2018:


Teen Team 1:

27th July -2nd August - £200


Teen Team 2:

5th – 11th August - £200


Expedition Survey 11:

13th-24th September - £1,395


Expedition Survey 12:

27th September – 5th October -£1,195


Expedition Survey 13:

6th-12th October - £895


Teen Team 3:

13th – 19th October - £895


If you’re interested in joining us aboard, please complete our online form here, or email Lauren at volunteercoordinator@hwdt.org


If you’re interested in joining us next summer, keep a look out on our website for our 2019 timetable.





Fee Required


  • Training Provided


  • Groups
  • International Volunteers

How To Apply


Please email indicating your preferred survey start date or complete a booking form online.