Our volunteers are extremely important to us, without dedicated volunteers Shorewatch simply wouldn’t be possible. Volunteers are required to carry out regular 10-minute whale and dolphin (cetacean) watches from designated sites along the Scottish Coastline. Volunteers will be trained up to identify common cetacean species found in Scottish waters, use specialised watching equipment and record presence and absence sightings data.
No experience of cetacean surveys is necessary to take part in Shorewatch; the only requirement is that you are willing and able to contribute to the programme by carrying out regular 10-mintue surveys at one (or more) of the designated Shorewatch sites. A list of the designated sites can be found on our map.
As a WDC Shorewatch Volunteer, you will:
• Attend a WDC Shorewatch training day on topics including Shorewatch protocol, cetacean species-ID, strandings and raising awareness;
• Conduct 10-minute Shorewatches from a local Shorewatch site (you can watch as little or as often as is convenient for you but it must be from a specified Shorewatch site);
• Use WDC Shorewatch equipment (marine binoculars, watch kit);
Become part of a Scotland-wide Shorewatch monitoring network; taking action on behalf of whales and dolphins along your local coastline!
Meet our volunteers!
Watches from Isle of Benbecula (Outer Hebrides)
“I love the anticipation every time I head out with my binoculars...the potential of possibly seeing a whale or dolphin and helping to gather vital information. Also being able to learn more about the different species and observing them in their natural habitat.
My site is about a ten minute walk from the house and I often combine my watches with taking my 3 dogs for a walk. They happily play with bits of seaweed or driftwood whilst I watch.
The site is on top of an old Iron Age settlement. You can still see the old middens with scattered shells, bones and broken bits of pottery and parts of old buildings sticking out of the dunes. It's the highest point in Balivanich and looks out over the Atlantic towards the Monach Isles and St Kilda.
I fit my watches round work, but as from end of this month I’ll be off on maternity leave for a year and will be able to fit things round the weather/sea conditions instead. We have invested in an off road pram/buggy, so "Junior" can come along too! Since last summer my husband Hughie has been joining me too and we often do a ten minute watch each."
Watches from Forse Castle in Caithness
“The spot is quite near my home and I can walk my dogs as well as doing the watches. It is a beautiful spot so even on days when there are no cetaceans to be seen it is a joy to be by the shore for a while. Often weeks go by with no sightings and then when there is something out there waiting for me to spot it there is a real thrill. It doesn't matter whether it is one harbour porpoise or 50 pilot whales the thrill is just as great, although I must admit the first time I saw orca I was so excited it took me days to stop telling everyone I saw.”