Please note: In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Aquarium's volunteer programme is currently suspended. Please keep an eye on our social media for regular updates.
Do you love the oceans? Would you like to be immersed in a fascinating underwater world of colour, beauty, tranquillity and magic?
Discover the wonders of the oceans surrounding Cape Town and meet some of your marine neighbours. Volunteer at the Two Oceans Aquarium!
- What is volunteering at the Two Oceans Aquarium all about?
- Who can be a volunteer?
- Volunteer course details (for adults)
- Volunteer scuba divers (for commercial divers)
- Volunteering for high school learners (Grades 10 to 12)
- What do volunteers do at the Two Oceans Aquarium?
- News from our volunteers
What is volunteering all about?
Two Oceans Aquarium volunteers are the men, women, boys and girls who love the ocean and offer up some of their free time to help us spread the love of the sea's life, care for the animals in our care and assist in the technical aspects of running a top Cape Town attraction. You don't need any prior experience or qualifications to become a volunteer, so this is the perfect opportunity for people who want a taste of what their future career in marine science may hold, or who already have a career in an unrelated field and simply want a hobby that keeps them in touch with the ocean.
All are welcome - as an ambassador for the oceans, you will share your knowledge with our visitors and assist us in conveying the message of the oceans and its inhabitants.
Who can be a volunteer?
Who can be a volunteer?
Our volunteer programmes are open to anyone, here's who can apply and what they need to do:
- Adults can sign up for our Volunteer Course, no prior experience or qualification needed.
- High school learners (Grade 10 to 12) can sign up for the FET Young Biologist Volunteer Course offered by the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation.
- Qualified commercial scuba divers can join our Volunteer Diver programme.
Please note that Young Biologists and adult volunteers who have not volunteered at the Aquarium in over a year will be required to retake the Volunteer Course. Prospective volunteers who have a marine sciences qualification or former zoo or aquarium experience will still need to take the Volunteer Course, as this pertains to the running of our specific facility, but these applicants may be able to assist in unique ways should they opt to become behind-the-scenes volunteers.
Adult volunteer course
Applications for the Volunteer Course are currently closed. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown, the 2021 volunteer induction courses have been postponed. To receive further updates, please consider subscribing to our newsletter above.
During the course, you will be introduced to the fascinating lives of a variety of marine animals such as sea anemones, sea urchins and starfish and a range of sea plants. We will also visit a marine reserve to explore the diversity of plant and animal life found on our rocky shores.
All our volunteers need to complete a volunteer training course before doing any volunteer work at the Two Oceans Aquarium. This enables you to work on the floor with our visitors, educating them on the animals and plants found along our coastline. We require each new volunteer to volunteer at least 45 hours as a front-of-house volunteer before being allowed to assist in other roles too.
For more information about the training course please contact Visitor Services at the Aquarium on 021 418 3823 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer scuba divers
If you would like to become a volunteer diver and assist with the cleaning of our exhibits, help with the feeding of our animals and join the collections team on occasional trips into Table Bay, please note that you are required to have valid commercial diving certification. Class IV and higher are suitable for all volunteer diving work, and Class VI and Class V are only suitable for work inside the Aquarium's exhibits.
We are legally obligated to only allow commercial divers with up-to-date dive medicals* to work with us, even in a volunteer capacity. If you have a commercial diving qualification and would like to volunteer, please contact Natasha Townsend directly on email@example.com.
*Regular volunteer commercial divers are invited to join the Two Oceans Aquarium staff team for their annual dive medical at the Aquarium's expense.
Volunteering for high school learners
Children who wish to volunteer at the Two Oceans Aquarium are eligible when in Grades 10, 11 or 12. The FET Young Biologist Volunteer programme is a free course for Grade 10s, 11s and 12s who are passionate about the marine environment and committed to positive action by volunteering at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
What do volunteers do?
Our volunteers are as diverse as the roles they fill, and the daily schedule of no two volunteers is the same. In general, volunteers begin as front-of-house assistants on the Aquarium floor and as they gain competence and experience they may specialise in other types of service that they find fulfilling.
As a general rule, our volunteers work flexible schedules and may sign up for shifts that suite their family, work and school commitments, but in return, we ask that volunteers keep their commitments to us too. If you prove yourself a reliable volunteer, here's what you have to look forward to:
After completing your course you'll begin volunteering on the floor of the Aquarium, assisting visitors with information and taking care or the plants, animals and equipment of the Touch Pool and Microscope Exhibit in the Skretting Diversity Gallery.
This is the first step for all volunteers and the perfect way to learn about the animals and exhibits they may care for later.
Note: All volunteers, except commercial divers, need to complete at least 45 hours of front-of-house service before being allowed to assist in other roles too.
Behind-the-scenes volunteering involves a wide range of tasks, from assisting aquarists with exhibit maintenance and cleaning, to small husbandry tasks such as the feeding of some animals.
A great way to gain experience in animal husbandry, behind-the-scenes volunteers may have the chance to help maintain the exhibits of the Skretting Diversity Gallery, help or Animal Nutrition Coordinator prepare food for the diverse animals in our care, and assist with moving animals in an out of the Aquarium. No two days are ever the same!
Note: All behind-the-scenes volunteer are required to have a valid tetanus vaccination (and we recommend that front-of-house volunteers have one too)
Volunteers with a passion for working with children, or who love spreading the love of the ocean may enjoy helping our Environmental Education programme.
Join the Aquarium's teachers on school fieldtrips, assist in school group visits to the Aquarium and hop aboard the Oceans In Motion and Smart Living outreach vehicle to join our team taking lessons into the greater Cape Town community.
Penguin team volunteering
Penguin volunteers get to help clean the penguin exhibits, prepare food for the birds, assist with presentations, feeding the penguins, record-keeping and spending quality, interactive time with the birds.
Volunteers who work with penguins will share many of the same duties as other behind-the-scenes volunteers, but because the birds in our care take time to form an affinity with they carers, most duties will be on and around the Penguin Exhibit.
Note: Working with penguins requires a reasonable degree of fitness and mobility and may not be suitable for all volunteers.
Volunteers who have completed their front-of-house service may be called on to assist our conservation programmes. These tasks can range from helping to feed and care for stranded turtle hatchlings to joining the team for a spur of the moment sunfish rescue. There is never a dull day for our volunteers!
Note: Volunteers may be required to complete additional on-the-job training courses before having the opportunity to work with rescued sea turtles. The availability of volunteer posts in the rehabilitation centre is dependant on the number of turtles in our care.
Volunteer scuba divers
Volunteer scuba divers get to help with a diversity of underwater tasks at the Aquarium and beyond. From assisting with tank maintenance, cleaning, assisting with underwater husbandry and joining our collections team on trips into Table Bay.
Note: A valid Commercial Diving qualification is required to become a volunteer diver. Class IV or greater is required to volunteer outside the Aquarium.
News from our volunteers
Take a look below for some news, updates and stories about our volunteers, staff and company culture:
- Turtle Heroes: Celebrating the everyday people that have helped save turtles in 2019
- Class of future Young Biologists graduate thanks to the support of De Beers Marine
- Two Oceans Aquarium named Best Responsible Attraction at the 2019 African Responsible Tourism Awards
- Microscopes and marine artefacts in the Skretting Diversity Gallery
- Valuable lessons learned at the first Sea Turtle Training Programme Volunteer Course
- Honouring our long serving staff and volunteers
- Class of Young Biologist graduates with the support of I&J
- Work Integrated Learning internship programme at the Two Oceans Aquarium
- The Wild Ones: Two Oceans Aquarium before opening time
- The Aquarium celebrates International Volunteer Day
For any queries regarding the training programme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.