Volunteering with the Ocean Discovery Rangers

Our Public Engagement Team Volunteers are part of our enthusiastic Ocean Discovery Rangers who engage and inspire all visitors to the National Marine Aquarium, the Ocean Conservation Trust’s centre of excellence.

You’ll join a formidable team of dedicated conservationists who inspire the public to save our Ocean! We do this in a variety of ways, all focusing on fun and participation.

These interactions take many forms, from informal chats with families, to marine focused games and even scheduled talks to the public. You’ll receive on the job training in both Ocean Conservation and Public Science Communication from an internationally recognised team. We’ll provide all the training you need, so this opportunity is available to all, from yellow-bellied land-lubbers to certified mermaids, all you need is a passion for the Ocean! Hosting is great for improving communication skills and gaining confidence, as well as having fun in the UK’s biggest Aquarium.

The team is dynamic and fast paced, taking on lots of extra projects, meaning the volunteering role is always varied. There are loads of extra opportunities to broaden your skills. These could be getting stuck into birthday parties and VIP Behind the Scenes Tours, or even assisting in one off events such as rock-pooling, beach cleans and representing the OCT at shows and events around Plymouth. We welcome 30,000 school pupils to the Aquarium each year too so you’ll have the chance to get involved with formal education including school tours, art and science workshops if you wish.

To get the most out of our Volunteer Programme we recommend long term volunteering (6 months plus) as there is lots to learn, and lots to get involved with! We recommend that people looking for shorter term opportunities consider our Work Experience Programme, Dive Volunteering, or the Husbandry Internship.


  • To volunteer, you must be aged 17 or over (If you are 17 you must have a letter of consent from a parent or guardian).
  • Volunteers are requested to come in at least 1 day a week, with shifts from 10am-4pm (6 hours long with a 30-minute lunch break). We can always be flexible for holidays, etc.
  • If you have great people skills and a passion for the Ocean, then we’d like to hear from you. Prior knowledge is not essential as training is provided, but an enthusiasm for the marine environment and a willingness to learn will get you a long way!
  • Please be aware that this role requires lots of standing or walking, please get in touch if you would like to discuss this further.

Note: We are unable to offer expenses for travel or sustenance as part of regular volunteering.

How to Apply

We hold recruitment evenings 3 times a year, the dates for our 2024 recruitment evenings are:

  • 5th  of February
  • 3rd of June
  • 4th of November

Please email our Volunteer Coordinator with a brief outline (no more than 200 words) of why you would like to Volunteer at the National Marine Aquarium and any skills or experience you have that you feel make you a strong candidate. If your application is successful, you will be sent a link which can be used to book onto any 2024 recruitment evenings.

If you are a College Student interested in Voluntary Work Placements, please consider our Work Experience Programme instead.

Contact Details:
Volunteer Coordinator
Email: volunteer@oceanconservationtrust.org

The National Marine Aquarium (NMA) is the UK’s largest aquarium, located in Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth. It is run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the Ocean.

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