Dream of working with The Whale Museum? Here are some opportunities:


Employment Opportunities: 

THIS POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED -- Position: Soundwatch Boater Education Program Coordinator

Location: Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington, USA

The Whale Museum is seeking a Coordinator of the Soundwatch Boater Education Program. Year-round FT employment includes benefits.

Established in 1979 as the first U.S. museum dedicated to whales living in the wild, The Whale Museum promotes stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem through education and research. The Soundwatch Boater Education Program was initiated in 1993 by The Whale Museum to reduce disturbances to marine wildlife caused by irresponsible boater behaviors. This innovative program educates boaters on guidelines and regulations for marine wildlife through shore-based education, reinforces the learning experience through on–the-water educational patrols, monitors vessel activities to characterize vessel trends, and evaluate existing guidelines and laws. The main focus of our work is the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs) but there are other marine mammal species of importance in our region, including Transient killer whales, Minke whales, Humpback whales, Fin whales, Harbor porpoise, Dall’s porpoise, Harbor seals, Steller sea lions, and many other cetacean and pinniped species. http://www.whalemuseum.org/programs/soundwatch/soundwatch.html.

The Program Coordinator is expected to oversee all aspects of the Soundwatch Program including, but not limited to: coordination of seasonal field operations; small vessel operations/maintenance, education/outreach on marine stewardship; maintenance of the program long-term data sets and database; preparation of program reports; coordination of volunteers, interns and seasonal contract employees; assistance with grant writing/fund raising; collaborate with partner monitoring programs, the whale watch industry and federal and state marine mammal management and enforcement teams. The Program Coordinator reports to the Museum Executive Director and must work cooperatively with other museum staff. The successful candidate should understand and have experience with recovery priorities related to the endangered SRKWs.


  • Bachelor’s Degree plus 7 years’ experience in a relevant field, specifically marine mammal research in the wild
  • Experienced boat operator with expertise in boat maintenance
  • Strong knowledge of marine ecosystems, marine mammal biology and natural history, specifically the endangered SRKWs and the Salish Sea.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills necessary for public interaction, conflict resolution, department planning, grant writing and project management experience
  • Team player with excellent interpersonal skills, able to interact effectively with staff & board, interns/volunteers, visitors, members, and the public.
  • Ability to multi-task and work flexible schedule, specifically some weekends and evenings.
  • Ability to collect and synthesize information; effective problem solving skills.
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail. 
  • Ability to lift 40 lbs. or more and to stand for long periods of time
  • Excellent computer/technological skills (i.e., database management, ArcGIS, Microsoft Office

POSITION FILLED Soundwatch Program Coordinator should plan to be in place by March 31, 2017. (Start date may be negotiable.) Active review of submitted applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Note: International applicants required to have approved Visa and documentation to work in the U.S. at the time of submission.

Position: Visitors’ Experience Associate

Location: Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington, USA
Hours: Part-time, varied
Reports to: Visitors’ Experience Manager

The Visitors’ Experience Associate (VEA) is part of a dynamic team that assists the Whale Museum’s visitors get the most out of their visit. VEAs are responsible for all monetary transactions, including admissions, memberships, and merchandise purchases, as well as answering the phone. Additionally, VEAs provide education and interpretation to visitors through answering visitors’ questions, leading tours, and assisting with education programs.

Duties and Responsibilities:
Admissions & Retail

  • Greet and welcome visitors into the museum and provides a brief orientation
  • Demonstrate excellent cash handling skills
  • Process transactions for admissions, memberships, merchandise, etc.
  • Ensure all merchandise is visible and accounted for
  • Receive new merchandise
  • Keep public areas clean and tidy

Education & Public Relations

  • Maintain a friendly and respectful attitude to all visitors and staff
  • Assist with guided tours and education programs as needed
  • Stay updated on and provides information relating to the Southern Resident orcas and the Salish Sea
  • Keep Store clean and organized

Desired Qualifications:

  • Customer service and retail experience
  • Team player with excellent interpersonal skills, able to interact effectively with Museum staff & board, volunteers, visitors, and members
  • Familiarity with the San Juan Islands, cetacean biology and natural history, specifically the Southern Resident orcas and the Salish Sea
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to work irregular hours, including weekends, evenings, and holidays

Please email cover letter and resume to emily@whalemuseum.org

Volunteer Opportunities

The Whale Museum has numerous year-round and seasonal volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in volunteering for us, click here to download the Volunteer Questionnaire, which has more information about specific opportunities. Email completed questionnaires to rebekah@whalemuseum.org and we will be in touch shortly!

Volunteer Museum Docent:

The Whale Museum's Exhibit Hall is open daily. Each year, approximately 30,000 people visit.  We are looking for volunteer docents! If you are interested in learning more or spending time telling visitors about the Salish Sea and the amazing marine life therein, please email rebekah@whalemuseum.org


Internship Opportunities:

THIS POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED-- The Whale Museum's Stranding Network Program: Summer Internships!

The San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network (SJCMMSN), a program of The Whale Museum established in 1980, is authorized by NMFS to respond to all marine mammal strandings in San Juan County, WA. We typically respond to more than 200 calls of both live and deceased animals a year.  SJCMMSN recruits a San Juan Island-based intern every summer to help respond to marine mammal strandings during our busy season. Interns and volunteers of this critical program serve as ambassadors between humans and marine mammals as well as contribute scientific data that is crucial to both human and animal health.

Internship is based in Friday Harbor, WA: approximately 30-40 hours per week, June-August; variety of tasks both in the field and in an office setting. Schedule may vary and involve weekends and “on call” time. Shared housing at reasonable cost is likely available.


  • Assist with stranding response including: health assessments of live seal pups in the field; tagging harbor seals that are not collected for rehabilitation; transfer of harassed or injured pups to a local rehabilitation center; Level A examinations of dead marine mammals
  • Perform first mate duties on board The Whale Museum’s stranding boat, the R/V Buzzard
  • Assist with necropsies of fresh dead marine mammals including: transfer of carcass to the lab space; preparation, set-up, and take-down of necropsy supplies; organizing and archiving biological samples
  • Assist with data entry and analysis


At least 18 years of age, physically fit (able to lift 40 lbs), possess a valid US driver's license. Preference will be given to undergraduates or recent graduates in the marine or wildlife sciences. Animal handling and/or boating experience is preferred but not required.  

Please send a letter of interest, a resume, and contact information for three references. Be sure to include what dates you can start/end. 
Applications for the summer season are accepted after the first of the year; decisions made by early April.

Please send application materials to:
ATTN Jennifer Olson
The Whale Museum, P.O. Box 945, Friday Harbor, Washington 98250
Or email (preferred) to: jennifer@whalemuseum.org

For more information, visit the Stranding page on our website


The Whale Museum’s Soundwatch Boater Education Program: Summer Internship

The Whale Museum is a successful and internationally acclaimed education and monitoring program working to reduce vessel disturbance to orcas (Southern Resident killer whales and Transient (Bigg’s) killer whales) and other marine wildlife in the Salish Sea region of Washington State (USA) and British Columbia (Canada). Data from this critical long-term program characterizes vessel activity trends around endangered orcas and other marine wildlife.

Internship is based in Friday Harbor, Washington: minimum of 12 weeks between May 15th and September 30th, ~ 30 hours a week, Monday – Sunday.

Key Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Assist with seasonal vessel patrols
  • Assist with boater education on and off the water on regional/federal guidelines and regulations
  • Assist with data collection while monitoring vessel activities around whales
  • Assist with data entry, volunteer organization and training
  • Field days: Interns must be able to spend many hours on the water sometimes in extreme seasonal conditions for typically eight hours and 2-4 days a week.

Applicant requirements: At least 18 years of age, physically fit (able to lift 40 lbs), must be able to swim, not easily susceptible to seasickness. Interns will need a valid US passport or an enhanced driver's license and CPR/First Aid certification.


Please send a letter of interest, a resume, and contact information for three references. Be sure to include what dates you can start/end.

PLEASE SEND APPLICATION MATERIALS TO: soundwatch@whalemuseum.org


Be Part of The Whale Museum’s Education Department Team: 2017 Internships Available! Click here for internship description and application.








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