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Now Seeking: Blue Ocean Discovery Center Interns, Volunteers and Seasonal Staff I Volunteer  Internship FAQ  I  How to Apply 

Interns on the boatInternships

Click here for one time and ongoing volunteer opportunities

Whale Research and Education Internship Application Deadline: March 15 each year
All materials, including recommendation letters, must be postmarked or emailed by March 15.

Note: Applications for Blue Ocean Discovery Center Interns (working in Hampton Beach) are still being accepted, and will be accepted until positions are filled!

How to Apply

We are looking for enthusiastic, motivated people to join us as interns for 10-12 week sessions throughout the year.

Summer Research and Education Internship Description
Summer Interns work one-on-one with our researchers/educators aboard commercial whale watch boats in the beautiful Seacoast, New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts areas. This internship will give you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in whale research, data collection, educational techniques and the inner workings of a non-profit organization. You will attend guest lectures to expand your insight into the expansive field of marine biology, assist with beach cleanups and school programs, as well as have to opportunity to help at our Blue Ocean Discovery Center in Hampton Beach or at our touch tank in Portsmouth. This is a fun and exciting opportunity to experience the daily challenges of studying wild marine life on the ocean in all conditions and also interacting with and inspiring the public to protect the marine environment.

The ideal candidate will be outgoing, enthusiastic, detail oriented and have a strong desire both to learn and teach. A desire to practice or improve public speaking skills is essential. Background knowledge of biology is helpful, but prior experience is not necessary. Although all training is provided and weekly meetings are required, we are looking for motivated individuals who have the ability to learn on their own and work independently in addition to working with our staff.

Summer Duties and Responsibilities (Whale Watch Research and Education Focus):

Interns will work 1-2 whale watch trips daily, 5 days/week (June-August). Trips are 4-5 ½ hours each. On these trips, you will be searching for whales and other marine life, recording detailed data on animals and marine debris, interacting with passengers of all ages and backgrounds, and explaining teaching tools such as baleen and whale sounds. You will also be given the opportunity to give short presentations over the PA system if desired. While most of your time is spent on the boats, there will be times (bad weather days) when you will work in the office entering data, assisting with mailings and other fun tasks. Research and Education Interns are also required to complete an educational project during the first month, attending weekly evening meetings and lectures, completing weekly reading assignments and assist with special events as needed. Research projects are optional.

  • Whale Watch Boat with HumpbackQualifications: Our internships are geared toward college students and recent graduates, but are open to anyone over age 18. Those who have completed their sophomore year of college will receive preference. Those under age 18 should contact us about volunteer opportunities outside of our internship program. Non-U.S. students are welcome to apply.
  • Schedule: Positions are available full- or part-time (applicants who can commit to 30+ hours per week will receive priority). Full-time summer interns can expect to work 40-55 hours per week. To maximize your experience, a minimum 10-week commitment is suggested. Summer interns must be available to start work by June 1 and be available on weekends and holidays.
  • College Credit: We will help you arrange college credit if desired. It is your responsibility to find out how to get credit through your school, but we will complete any paperwork your school requires.
  • Compensation: The position is unpaid. While it is possible to find a part-time job, this internship is your first priority and we will not work around other schedules. Applicants that have funding to intern full-time (5 days/week) will be given priority. Interns in the past have received assistance in the form of grants or scholarships from their school and we highly suggest looking into this option.
  • Housing: Interns are responsible for their own housing. We will assist if possible and will put interns needing housing in touch with each other as soon as possible to find a common apartment.
  • Transportation: Interns must have their own reliable transportation. Public transportation is extremely limited in the seacoast area. Interns will work on boats that are located in the towns of Rye, Hampton and Newburyport, and trainings/meetings are at our office in Portsmouth.
  • Other Opportunities: In addition to research and education on whale watch boats, interns may be involved in several shore-based programs. At our Blue Ocean Discovery Center in Hampton Beach or touch tank in Portsmouth, interns may assist in conducting educational programs about the local rocky shore marine life (crabs, sea stars, anemones, mussels, etc.); more information about this internship focus is below.  Interns may also develop presentations and materials for our beach cleanup program or school programs, and conduct educational programs for local schools and groups as needed.

Applications for the Summer Session (beginning June 1) are due March 15. Applications for Spring and Fall/Winter Sessions are accepted year-round. If interested in Spring or Fall/Winter sessions, please inquire about specific duties/responsibilities as whale watch boats only run through mid-October.

Interested in a Different Experience, or Broadening Your Experience While You’re Here?

Touch Tank (Rocky Shore Marine Life) and Shore-Based Educational Programs

Help us inspire people to protect the marine environment while introducing them to some of the Gulf of Maine’s smaller marine life!  We have two educational facilities– our brand-new Blue Ocean Discovery Center in Hampton Beach, NH, which opened in June 2013 and has a touch tank and several engaging exhibits and activities, and our marine life touch tank located on the dock of the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company in Portsmouth, NH.

Volunteers at Blue Ocean Discovery CenterThis internship is open to students 16 years and up.  Families with younger students may also volunteer together – Families and students under 16 should click here to access our volunteer application.

A typical day may involve:

  • Hampton Beach: Assisting with education of sometimes hundreds of visitors at our Blue Ocean Discovery Center, located in the heart of the very lively town of Hampton Beach. You will teach visitors about our local marine life, assist children with crafts and games, and assist with conducting our daily beach cleanup.  This opportunity is available weekends from April through mid-June, and daily from mid-June through early September. Click here to view our Facebook Page
  • Portsmouth: Opening our tank in Portsmouth, NH (located on the dock of the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company) for the morning and setting up a craft table. Introduce visitors to our local marine life and assist children with crafts and story time. This opportunity is available some weekdays in May and June (due to school field trips, in which we conduct education aboard the M/V Thomas Laighton and daily from late June to late August. Click here to view our Facebook Page


Interns with Dianna Schulte at beach cleanup



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