We're responding to marine mammal strandings.

The San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network began operating as a program of The Whale Museum in 1981. It operates under the auspices of the National Marine Fisheries Service through a Stranding Agreement which allows responders to investigate, collect data and potentially handle live and dead marine mammals.

Most of our live strandings involve harbor seal pups. When appropriate, some live animals are transported to Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Dead animals in fresh condition are studied through necropsies (animal autopsies) conducted at the University of Washington Friday Harbor Labs by scientists from The Whale Museum and the SeaDoc Society.

By working with local residents and visitors to the San Juan Islands who, by circumstance, encounter a dead or injured marine mammal, we are providing a long-lasting educational experience that builds a stewardship ethic in those it touches. The Stranding Network provides invaluable scientific information, helping us to monitor the health of marine mammal populations and their ecosystem in the San Juan Islands.

Click here for the 2015-2016 West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network Contacts for Puget Sound.

How is the stranding network funded?

Since 2002, the Network has been largely funded by the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program. The NW Regional office in Seattle recently compiled statistics on all the Stranding Networks operating in Washington and Oregon. Click here to link to this interesting report containing broad information on the NW Regional efforts as well as specific information related to the San Juan Islands.

You can help support our efforts by making a donation, adopting an orca or becoming a museum member.

How do I report a sighting or stranding?

To report sightings or strandings, call the Hotline (800) 562-8832 or send an email to hotline@whalemuseum.org.

How can I volunteer with the stranding network?

If you are interested in volunteering with the San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network, call us at (800) 562-8832 or send an email to hotline@whalemuseum.org.

Check out the blubberblog and watch the Marine Mammals Two by Two video!

Current volunteers can log in here to file reports.


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


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