BC Whales 2024 Research Assistant


The North Coast Cetacean Society (BC Whales) is a non-profit, charitable whale-research organization that has dedicated more than 20 years towards research, education, and the protection of cetaceans along the north and central coasts of British Columbia (BC). Our objective is to better understand the seasonal distribution, abundance, social dynamics, and threats currently faced by cetacean species at risk through interdisciplinary and specialized research projects focusing on visual and acoustic data collection, and in collaboration with coastal First Nations communities.

 The Role: We are looking to hire 1 – 2 volunteers to join us in the field at a very remote land-based whale research station. During this placement interns and volunteers will receive project-specific training and will contribute to valuable data collection and the ongoing monitoring of the frequency, movements, and behaviours of whales and vessels in our research area. Specific duties will include hourly visual surveys, photo-identification, hydrophone monitoring, and the potential to assist on marine surveys. We encourage you to apply if you are passionate about marine conservation, have a love for the outdoors, and are extremely comfortable in incredibly remote back-country locations and in all weather conditions.


  • All applicants MUST be available to commit to at least one of the following placements:

    June – August 2024

    August – October 2024

  • Ability to respectfully live and tent in close quarters in a communal setting in an extremely remote environment with up to 4 people on an otherwise uninhabited island (no roads, no stores, no facilities external to the research cabin)

  • Strong observational skills, note taking abilities, and careful attention to detail

  • Ability to follow pre-determined procedures and methods for data collection

  • Ability to carry heavy loads up a rugged shoreline

  • Comfortable on open vessels in all weather conditions, and comfortable in a remote wilderness setting in all weather conditions


  • Experience with living in remote backcountry settings

  • Knowledge of marine mammal species local to British Columbian waters

Certifications (assets; not required to apply or to obtain for success in this position):

  • Marine Radio Operator (ROC-M)

  • Marine Emergency Duties (MED-A3/SDV-BS)

  • Active First Aid certification (Wilderness & Remote First Aid preferred)

 To Apply:

Please email a resume and cover letter as one document to janie@bcwhales.org AND grace@bcwhales.org with subject line “Research Assistant 2024 – Application”. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview. If you have applied in the past, we encourage you to apply again!


Please note that this is an unpaid internship/volunteer opportunity. Successful applicants will be responsible for their own travel from their home to Hartley Bay, B.C. All food, transport to and from the research station, and all necessary supplies will be provided throughout the placement. Thank you for your interest!