Participants will collect valuable data from on board our research vessel Silurian
Participants will collect valuable data from on board our research vessel Silurian
Coherent moitoring helps us better understand cetacean abundance and distribution
Coherent moitoring helps us better understand cetacean abundance and distribution
Living onboard, volunteers will assist with the day to day running of the vessel
Living onboard, volunteers will assist with the day to day running of the vessel
Full cetacean and sea bird identification training will be provided
Full cetacean and sea bird identification training will be provided
In the evening volunteers will have the opportunity to venture ashore to explore.
In the evening volunteers will have the opportunity to venture ashore to explore.

Sail The Hebrides

HWDT conducts cetacean surveys throughout our field season (May - October) from aboard our research yacht Silurian.

Every year we welcome aboard enthusiastic volunteers who are willing to contribute directly to our research work.  Volunteers, in effect, become marine mammal scientists for the duration of the survey; living and working aboard Silurian, assisting with day-to-day running, as well as working together as a team to carry out visual and acoustic surveys.  To find out more about the research onboard please click here

"The team was very knowledgeable and committed to conservation in the Hebrides and left us with the conviction that the data that we gathered was contributing to establishing an important base-line picture.” Graham Dock

Volunteers will assist fully in the collection of data, with mega-fauna and sea bird identification training provided.  Acoustic and visual methods are combined to produce comprehensive data sets. During encounters photographs are taken of dorsal fins to try and identify the individual, gaining a better understanding of species movements and interactions with each other.  The data collected, and subsequent information produced is essential when monitoring the distribution, relative abundance and habitat preference of cetacean species in the Hebrides. Only with coherent data can effective conservation and management strategies be designed to enable long-term protection of the amazing species found in our waters.

"Those 12 days sailing around the Hebrides changed my life.  I do not regret anything about this trip.  If I could, I would dedicate my whole life to the aid of nature." Lars Rumpel

As a volunteer onboard Silurian, you will have the opportunity to see first hand the amazing variety of marine wildlife the UK has to offer including whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sharks and seabirds. You will explore some of the remotest, wildest parts of the British Isles, anchoring each night in a different secluded bay off one of the many Hebridean islands, venturing ashore to explore.  The opportunity to gain sailing experience is also available, although no certificates are issued.

Rendezvous location is either in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, where HWDT is based or in Kyle of Lochalsh*  .  More information on specific surveys will be provided on request. There is a monetary value attached to participating, costs vary between £900 - £1,300 - this includes accommodation (aboard) and food throughout the duration.  The income generated allows HWDT to continue this well established research programme, you can be assured that without your contribution the research couldn't be undertaken.

2014 Survey Dates:

  • 5th - 13th May - FULL

  • 17th - 28th May - Spaces Available

  • 14th - 23rd June* - FULL

  • 24th June - 5th July*- FULL

  • 8th July - 19th July - FULL

  • 21st - 27th July (Teen Team Survey 1, participants must be aged between 15 - 17) - FULL
  • 29th July - 9th August - FULL

  • 11th- 16th August (Teen Team Survey 2 participants must be aged between 15 - 17) - FULL
  • 18th -  29th August - FULL

  • 1st - 12th September - FULL

  • 22nd - 30th September - Spaces Available

  • 8th - 16th October**
    - Spaces Available

  • **Joint Warrior military exercise off western Scotland.

    Please contact the volunteer coordinator if you have any questions about the survey. Moreover, if you would like to join an expedition please fill out an online form.


    Please note that this is a scientific marine survey and not a whale watching experience.

    Until we have received your deposit, your place is not secure