White Shark Projects Volunteer
If you are reading this, then it probably means that you are ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. An adventure which will nudge you out of your comfort zone a little and maybe even change your perspective on the world around you. It also probably means that you are searching for the ultimate experience in travel; authentic, local experiences and a deep personal connection with people. Combine the above with a passion for the ocean, a fascination for sharks, an urge to give something back, and you end up with ‘The White Shark Projects’ Volunteer Programme. Not only will you have multiple bucket-list experiences and memories to last you a lifetime, but you will also be able to make a difference and ultimately inspire others to become Shark Ambassadors & Ocean Defenders!
About the organisation
White Shark Projects was established in Gansbaai, South Africa back in 1989. We were the first cage diving operator to open a research centre and international volunteer programme. We are dedicated to the exploration and conservation of sharks and their environment. We have the pleasure of working with the Great White Shark, Bronze Whaler Shark and the marine big five dependant on the season and other environmental factors. Our project works with tourists, volunteers, local and international enthusiasts, and scientists to gather data on shark’s around the Southern African coastline. We aim to correct negative misconceptions about sharks and assist in stopping the needless slaughter of over 100 million sharks annually. Current programmes involve eco tourism, public education, environmental advocacy as well as various social upliftment projects.
South Africa has long been known for its abundance of sharks, making it a prime area to observe these magnificent creatures. Owing to massive negative media publicity over the years, sharks have become one of the most maligned, misunderstood, even hated animals on our fragile planet. They have been pursued, hunted, and indiscriminately slaughtered, to the point where many species are endangered.
About the programme
Please note that your duties may change from day to day and you will always be working with a qualified White Shark Projects crew member. Below is a list of some of the daily duties expected of you:
- Ensure cleanliness of boat
- Boat check before trip
- Make sure equipment for diving, chumming, food etc. are on the boat
- Assist with anchoring
- Assist with securing the cage
- Education of clients and general interaction with them
- Assist clients as needed
- Preparing and distributing wet-suits for clients
- Data recording
- Data capturing
- Writing for our blog
- Constant and vigilant shark spotting
- Point out sharks to crew, clients and fellow volunteers
- Clean boat post-trip
- Clean and put wet-suits away
- Tuesdays assist at our recycle Swop Shop
Training will be given on how to work on the shark cage diving vessel and how to collect observational data on sharks. Students may be able to obtain university credit for their experience, depending on your university.
Our boat trips run from Kleinbaai, which is a small bay on the coastline of Gansbaai, South Africa. We are a seaside village located approximately two hours southeast of Cape Town on the Atlantic Ocean coast.
Volunteers stay in a cosy brick house situated five minutes from the harbour, which bustles with action and boats as people head out to sea. The house is very comfortable with dorm rooms, a nice open plan kitchen dining area, a lounge with DSTV television and DVD player, board games, WiFi and an outside braai area for those hot evenings. All bedding is provided in the house and there are self-catering facilities. The house is located in a very safe and beautiful area, where you can freely walk around during the day. There is a small shop nearby where volunteers usually buy basics and provisions. You will be taken into town on allocated shopping days to the main supermarket so you can stock up on food.
The programme starts every month on the 1st, and the 15th. You must arrive in Cape Town the day before as pick up times can be very early in the morning. Please bear in mind that the sooner you apply, the better your chances of securing your placement!
Costs and pre-requisites
This programme is aimed at creating ocean awareness and promoting sharks and their need for protection. It is open to any dedicated, hardworking individual with passion for sharks and ocean conservation. So if you have a sense of adventure, a love for marine life, and are looking for an experience of a lifetime, then we are what you are looking for! Please note that you do NOT have to be a qualified diver to join our volunteer programme, all diving in the cage is done by means of a simple breath-hold method. And no prior sea-experience is required either. We do our best to involve volunteers in all the different aspects of the project and will teach you everything you need to know about sharks.
Volunteers are required to sign an indemnity form acknowledging and accepting the consequences of working in close contact with wildlife. Applicants must be over 18 years old
The cost of the programme will cover accommodation, breakfast, lectures and regular trips to sea. Air travel to and from South Africa is not included, but transport from and to Cape Town Town International Airport. Please arrange your flights to land and depart from Cape Town. Depending on the applicants habits, lifestyle, and length of stay we usually suggest adding to their monthly budget about 5000 to 10000 South African Rand for their souvenirs, excursions, entertainment and other personal daily needs.
How to apply
To find out more and apply, please visit the White Shark Projects website