Shark Conservation Volunteer

The White Shark Diving Company  »  Shark Conservation Volunteer

Shark Conservation Volunteer

from £1,385
Duration: from 2 weeks to 3 months
Countries: South Africa
Get involved in groundbreaking marine research in a location unlike any other & have the opportunity to get up close & personal with Great White Sharks & South Africa’s wildest marine life!

Shark Conservation Volunteer


Become a Shark Conservation Volunteer at White Shark Diving Company 

Join our volunteer research programme at White Shark Diving Company and have an experience unlike any other in the great white shark capital of the world. It is an incredible opportunity for early-career scientists, post-graduates or passionate conservations who are looking to gain experience or get involved with marine conservation initiatives. 

Volunteers work alongside our marine biologist helping collect data for great white shark, elasmobranch, fish and environmental research projects. All the data you collect is used to help monitor, protect and preserve our incredible marine species. This programme gives you an opportunity to contribute to meaningful conservation research and support the development of marine science around South Africa's coastline.

On top of this there will be ample chances to enter the cage, giving you the opportunity to come face to face with great white sharks in an unforgettable diving experience!

White Shark Diving Company

We are a fully licensed cage-diving tour operator recognised by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, allowing us to undertake great white shark cage-diving activities and research monitoring.

We have a strong focus on conservation and have invested tremendous time and effort into protecting not only the great white shark, but our environment as a whole. Whilst our cage-diving tours offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to come up close and personal with the majestic great white shark, our volunteer programme gives you the chance to work with these amazing creatures and support our conservation research.

With at least 100 million sharks killed every year and the climate constantly changing, it is vital we continue our efforts to understand our sharks and oceans so we can help save them for the future of our planet.

Volunteer Research Programme

The programme is hosted in Gansbaai, roughly two hours out of Cape Town. Here, a short distance from the mainland is an incredibly dynamic ecosystem known as Shark Alley, considered one of the best places on the planet to study great white shark behaviour and demographics.

Our research projects are designed to take a holistic approach towards shark conservation by looking at the whole ecosystem and monitoring not only the charismatic great white shark, but also the diversity, abundance, and habitat use of a number of commercially exploited shark, fish, and marine species that inhabit our coastline. Our aim is to detect disturbances and identify potential human impacts through monitoring changes in populations and the environment.

To achieve this aim we obtain day to day great white shark monitoring data and conduct scientific baseline surveys of other species in the area. Once a long term data set is obtained we will be able to detect population fluctuations, environmental changes, and disturbances to ecosystem functioning. In the meantime our monitoring data enables us to contribute to ongoing research projects and assist with informing managing authorities accordingly to help protect and save our sharks and oceans! 

What will I be doing?

Whilst the programme does include multiple opportunities to cage-dive with white sharks our focus is on research. We currently have five research projects running which our volunteers are involved in:

1. White shark behaviour and demographics
2. Elasmobranch diversity and abundance
3. Fish diversity and abundance
4. Rocky shores surveys
5. Marine debris surveys

Volunteer tasks involve collection of white shark monitoring data, white shark photo fin ID, controlled angling shark and fish surveys, tagging with conventional spaghetti tags, genetic sampling, baited remote underwater video surveys (BRUVs), snorkelling, and a number of shore based survey techniques. Whilst staying with us you will learn ethical handling and angling of the animals, local species identification and how to collect and manage biological data. You will be fully trained in all field techniques and expected to participate in all projects running at the time. 

Whilst out in the field you will encounter an array of marine life including but not limited to great white sharks, bronze whaler sharks, smoothound sharks, shysharks, seals, a number of fish species, and marine invertebrates. You may also be lucky enough to see dolphins and during whale season (May-November) you will likely have the chance to see the Southern Right and Humpback whales that visit our coastline. 

Our programme is designed to be fun and challenging. It is suitable not only for early career scientists seeking hands-on experience in the field but also for passionate conservationists who want to learn and get involved in meaningful conservation research. We hope to inspire you to continue to be involved with conservation initatives and the sustainable use of the world's marine resources. Your stay with us will be educational, hard work but also an experience you will never forget. You will return home with new friends, stories and incredible memories.

So come and join us, help us make a difference and continue our efforts towards saving our shark populations! 

Interested in this; ready to enquire?

Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. The White Shark Diving Company should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.


Further Details

More information about this gap year opportunity...

Price details:

from £1,385

Our volunteer package includes:

• Programme fee which goes back into the programme to fund running costs including equipment, vehicles, fuel, accommodation and foodstuffs, as well as a contribution towards ongoing research projects that we support.
• Pre-departure support including all information regarding medical, safety, visa and project advice
• Transfers to and from Cape Town International airport
• One nights accommodation on arrival in Cape Town
• Transfers to and from the project site
• Transport during the programme and for all field activities
• Accommodation in Hermanus whilst on the programme
• Internet access and satellite TV at the accommodation
• Breakfast basics and lunch provided on working days
• Laundry and maids service provided
• Assistance and support from the volunteer manager before, during and after your stay
• Welcome pack (including information about the programme, warm top, cap, t-shirt, buff and DVD of bonus white shark footage)
• Waterproof deck boots to use for the duration of your stay
• Lectures and information on all current research projects
• Training in all current research projects which includes both field work and data management
• Training in boat-handling skills
• Involvement in outreach and education projects
• Some excursions if we have a number of consecutive bad weather days
• Unforgettable cage-diving experiences with great white sharks!


As we rely on good weather conditions, we recommend staying for a minimum of one month to obtain the full experience of working at WSDC and ensure you have adequate sea time. Start dates are on the 1st of each month. In December we only run a two week programme from the 1st – 14th.


No skills are required to join our programme, you will be taught everything that you need. We suggest you have a moderate level of fitness as there are some long days in the field. Otherwise, we simply ask that you come with a passion for sharks and the ocean, lots of enthusiasm, and a willingness to learn and work!


Photo Gallery

White Shark Diving Company Volunteer Programme
White shark cage diving volunteer boat
Great white shark next to cage
White shark dorsal fin ID and baited remote underwater video system BRUVs
Volunteer photographing white sharks
Great white shark close up
Image 7 of 7 images
Email Enquiry

Interested in this; ready to enquire?

Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. The White Shark Diving Company should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.

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