Updated: Thursday, May 19, 2016
The current volunteer opportunities are listed below.
Seasonal Volunteer Guide
Join the Aquarium Guide program and share the Monterey Bay Aquarium's mission to inspire conservation of the ocean. As a Seasonal Volunteer Guide, you'll explore and share the ocean and Aquarium exhibits with our guests.
Seasonal Volunteer Guides stand at various exhibits throughout the Aquarium on a four-hour shift per week or five-hour shift every other weekend. Guides handle live animals and plants in cold water touch pools and should be able to communicate effectively in large and small groups. Guides interact with multicultural and multilingual guests in a respectful and engaging manner. Volunteers must be age 18 and older. If you're under age 18, please check out our Teen Programs.
Length of Time Commitment
Six months of regular volunteering (once per week on weekdays or every other weekend) is required. We encourage new volunteers joining our program to commit to one year or more of volunteering to experience all the Aquarium Guide program has to offer. Initially, new volunteers joining the program will focus on learning key exhibits and then add to their knowledge banks by completing additional training.
Recruitment for the Aquarium Guide program will be open from May through August 19, 2016. Please note there is an application, interview and training process. After submitting an application, we ask all applicants to attend an information and interview session on Tuesday, August 9, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. or Saturday, August 13, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. inside the Aquarium Auditorium. Please enter through the Main Entrance. We also ask that applicants attend three evenings of mandatory onsite training on September 19, 22 and 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. Following training, volunteers are scheduled to immediately begin shifts and are required to complete three additional training sessions during their shifts.
The volunteer dive teams' primary responsibility is to help maintain the Aquarium's exhibits including Monterey Bay Habitats, Kelp Forest and Sea Otters. These dives consist mainly of animal evaluation, window cleaning, bottom-siphoning and feeding.
Volunteer Divers are assigned to at least one recurring maintenance shift every other week. The maintenance shifts occur on Tuesdays from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesdays from 8 to 10:30 a.m., Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 8 to 10:30 a.m., and Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m. Due to the popularity of this program, we have an exceptionally large applicant pool. Generally, we review the applications with location, availability and diving experience as the leading indicators. We also require all of our divers to be trained through Advanced and Rescue Diver, have current CPR/O2/FA/AED certifications, as well as have a minimum of 20 cold-water dives before entering the program.
Volunteer diving at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) is under the guidelines of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA). These governing bodies set standards for Scientific and Occupational Diving in the United States and California, respectively. Applicants must meet the following certification requirements in order to apply for Volunteer Diver certification at MBA:
Current Certifications: CPR, FA, AED and O2 provider certifications. Photocopies of your current certification cards or equivalent must be provided.
Diving Physical Examination: Applicants must pass an occupational diving physical. This is an extensive physical that goes beyond a routine physical; proper physical conditioning is required. This physical is paid for by the Aquarium (excluding any additional testing deemed necessary by our Diving Physician).
Minimum Age: Applicants must be age 18 and older to apply for MBA diving certification.
Minimum Dive Experience: Applicants must be Open Water, Advanced and Rescue certified from a nationally recognized scuba agency (or equivalent) and produce dive logs that document experience of at least 20 dives in Monterey Bay or similar cold-water environments within the last five years.
Equipment Requirements and Inspection: Each applicant must provide his/her own mask, snorkel, dive weights and thermal protection. The Dive Office will inspect all equipment to ensure it meets MBA standards before use in any Aquarium diving activities. All other equipment will be provided by the Aquarium.
Swimming Evaluation: Applicants must successfully perform in swimming tests in the presence of the Dive Safety Officer (DSO), or an examiner approved by the DSO.
Scuba Evaluation: All applicants will be evaluated in the presence and to the satisfaction of the DSO, or an examiner approved by the DSO prior to becoming a Volunteer Diver. All skills shall be performed in scuba diving gear appropriate to the conditions found in Monterey Bay.
Knowledge Development: Applicants must complete assigned training modules in a timely manner. Knowledge reviews will cover topics including, but not limited to, diving safety and planning, equipment, physics and physiology, emergency rescue procedures and MBA diving standards and procedures. Minimum passing score for all assessments is 80 percent.
Length of Time Commitment
We ask all Volunteer Divers to commit to a minimum of one year. Due to the extensive time commitment for this program, which is difficult to maintain if you don't live in the area, we ask that Volunteer Divers live within 45 minutes of the Aquarium. A dive team performs duties every other week with each diver committing to a minimum of 24 dives annually.
Sea Otter Program (Research and Conservation)
Otter Care Volunteer
The Sea Otter Program, which focuses on research and conservation for the threatened southern sea otter, accepts preliminary applications year-round and takes volunteers on an as-needed basis. Volunteers accepted into the program as Otter Care Volunteers will assist the Aquarium's sea otter research and conservation program with the care for and release of abandoned, ill or injured sea otters.
Volunteers serve on weekly shifts for 5.5 hours. Because of the nature of the program, we're looking for volunteers that are comfortable working in cold/wet environments and will carefully observe and follow all protocols for the position. Volunteers must be age 18 and older.
Length of Time Commitment
Due to the level of training involved, we require volunteers to commit to at least one year of service. Otter Care Volunteers have periodic classroom trainings on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Availability for these trainings is also required.
There is an application process, including interviews and trainings.