Author: CBMWC Officer

Volunteer Applications 2017 – Deadline Extended

Due to technical difficulties with our email and internet around the previous application deadline we have extended applications for the following positions – 

These positions run for the full research season 27th March – 30th October and volunteers must be able to commit to the full research period. 

Volunteering for the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales at CBMWC is a fantastic opportunity for you to make a positive contribution to marine conservation, meet new people who share your interests and experience Wales’ amazing marine life. You will learn about the species and habitats in Cardigan Bay, gain vital experience in field work, research methods, community engagement and much more.

Past volunteers have gone on to further education, work as Marine Mammal Observers and to work for other conservation or Government organisations.

The closing date for applications is 23:59pm on Sunday 19th February 2017

Team of Volunteers 2016


All Day Surveys 2017

A fantastic opportunity to join researchers from the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre on an All Day (minimum 8 hour) marine mammal survey in Cardigan Bay with Dolphin Survey Boat Trips. Throughout the survey researchers from CBMWC will collect important information on marine species in Cardigan Bay and the surrounding waters.

This is a great opportunity to see some of Wales’ amazing coastal views as well as our wonderful marine and seabird life. By joining a survey trip you will be contributing to marine conservation in Cardigan Bay as well as having the unique opportunity to join our team of experts.

All day trips provide avid wildlife watchers with the opportunity to see Cardigan Bay’s Big Three: bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises and Atlantic grey seals (seal pups on surveys during the pupping season September/October).

As well as the Cardigan Bay BIG 3 sightings in previous years have included, but are not limited to, common dolphins, sunfish, numerous jellyfish species, possible Minke whale sightings and sightings of thresher sharks. For those keen twitchers there were many wonderful sightings of sea birds including gannets, Manx shearwaters, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars, puffins (and pufflings), skuas, scoters, petrels and occasional views of other shearwater species, great views of nesting auk colonies, in particular on New Quay headland, a fantastic sight from April until end of June when the adults and their chicks head out to sea.

Dolphin Survey Boat Trips boat, Anna Lloyd out on survey in Cardigan Bay

How to book…

Survey trips are run by and conducted aboard Dolphin Survey Boat Trips’ motor vessels, Anna LloydAnna Lloyd is a state of the art bespoke catamaran built in 2014, famous for their increased stability and thus perfect for long days at sea. Anna Lloyd is fully licensed and MCA registered to carry 12 passengers and is equipped with all necessary safety equipment and a part-sheltered deck and toilet.

Tuesday 4th April
Friday 14th April
Saturday 29th April

Monday 8th May
Thursday 18th May
Wednesday 31st May

Friday 9th June
Saturday 17th June

Monday 24th July
Saturday 29th July

Wednesday 2nd August
Saturday 12th August
Friday 18th August
Wednesday 23rd August
Thursday 31st August

Sunday 10th September
Thursday 21st September
Saturday 30th September

Monday 9th October
Friday 20th October

Please note in addition to scheduled dates, we may also run All Day surveys at short notice to take advantage of any ideal weather conditions. If you would like to be included on a mailing list to be notified of these short notice surveys then please contact CBMWC on

We also recommend that you keep an eye on our website, Facebook page and Twitter feeds for updates.

For more details and to book your place on one of these unique boat trips please call CBMWC on 01545 560032 between 10am and 4pm. The cost is £60 per person for the day, payable in advance. Full refunds will be given if trips are cancelled by Dolphin Survey Boat Trips. Places must be booked in advance due to limited spaces. All trips will depart from New Quay harbour and will last approximately 8 hours (occasionally longer depending on survey route for the day).

These specialist trips run subject to the weather conditions forecast, a decision whether the trip will go ahead will be made as soon as possible but to avoid disappointment we try to make the decision as close to the departure date as possible (usually 20-48 hours before departure), although they are subject to last minute cancellation. We will always do our best to contact all passengers booked and therefore rely on passengers providing us with the appropriate contact details. We also ask that all passengers contact the CBMWC by telephone prior to travel to confirm the trip departure details and any for any additional information required. Please note mobile phone signal in this area is unreliable.

Please bring your own food (the skipper, researchers and volunteers particularly like biscuits and cake!), warm clothing, binoculars, sensible shoes and don’t forget your camera to capture those unforgettable moments!

Please remember that these are surveys for wild animals, sightings of particular species cannot be guaranteed and that you are joining a scientific survey. The boat used may be subject to change at short notice.

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin in Cardigan Bay

Jess Grimbley, ShoreFin Volunteer 2016, England

After reading positive comments, I decided to apply for a volunteer position at CBMWC to gain more experience in the field of conservation. After initially applying to be a Living Seas volunteer, I was encouraged to apply for the ShoreFin position as I was interested in photography. After becoming extremely invested in the project I continue to volunteer with CBMWC to aid the continuation of the project, and help photograph and identify dolphins throughout the winter.

I would absolutely recommend applying for the ShoreFin position. Nothing compares to the satisfaction attained from carrying out this research project which contributes to a long-term examination of individual dolphins in New Quay. It feels like you have a deep connection to the research as you get to know individual dolphins, and can recognise them from sight and their behaviours when they visit New Quay bay.

For example my favourite dolphin Jacky is known for foraging within New Quay harbour itself, and is always seen in close association with her juvenile Joey. A particularly exciting time for me was when I recently photographed Jacky with a newborn calf! It will be interesting to see how the social dynamic between Jacky and her older calf Joey change now that she has a new calf, and this is just one of the fascinating aspects of photo-ID work. This work is also very important for tracking individuals and conducting population estimates.

On completion of the project a report is written up, which not only emphasises the importance of this volunteer position, but also gives you great experience in report-writing for a non-profit organisation. During this position you can also gain experience in public engagement, use of social media for conservation, production of educational materials such as newsletters, and ultimately learn a lot about marine wildlife through first-hand experience. Many of these skills are invaluable and are what employers look for in the field of conservation.

Hetty Upton 9th May- 4th July 2016, England

After completing my undergraduate degree in Conservation Biology, I was faced with the realisation of how competitive the conservation career industry really is. Understanding that experience is a key addition to qualifications, I began researching volunteer/intern opportunities and decided to apply for CBMWC after reading many positive comments.
I have taken part in various other voluntary conservation roles, but nothing honestly compares to CBMWC. This volunteer programme has provided me with the most useful experience and skills than the rest put together, as the staff are all really dedicated and enthusiastic about their roles and you can gain as much experience as you like – the more you put in, the more you get back!
The wide range of activities and tasks that you are responsible for as a volunteer allows you to gain so much experience, particularly if you are hoping to pursue a conservation-based career as there are research, data, field work, environmental education and community outreach aspects that you can get involved with. No two days are the same either, which makes a nice variation – some days you could be assisting with rock-pooling sessions with local schools or out surveying dolphins from a boat, whilst other days you could be helping with GIS mapping of data or even being interviewed for the BBC! It’s also a great chance to gain some general customer service and communication skills if you want some more experience in these areas, as these are highly transferable into any role.
I couldn’t believe the wealth of wildlife that was inhabiting a small town in West Wales – it really felt like you could have been in a tropical country with pretty much daily dolphin sightings and so many amazing species of sea birds, jellyfish and other wildlife to study. If I could have stayed longer, then I certainly would have! Since volunteering with CBMWC I have gained employment within the Outreach Team of my old university, which was certainly helped by the development of my communication and public engagement skills whilst based in Wales.

Susan Vester 14th March – 5th September 2016, Germany

Almost six months spent by the Welsh coastline have left a lasting impression on me. After graduating from university I decided to pursue my interest in wildlife conservation and marine biology by volunteering at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre. I learnt a lot during my time there, both personally and professionally. Surveying bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoise and Atlantic grey seals was an amazing experience. We got the opportunity of doing survey work from New Quay harbour wall, Birds Rock and on the boats with Dolphin Survey Boat Trips. Beside the rich marine megafauna found in Cardigan Bay, I learnt much about the interesting birdlife as well. Not only was the field work great fun, but the opportunity of interacting with the public was a very beneficial experience. One part of the volunteer work I personally found very important was doing regular beach cleans to raise awareness of marine litter, as this is one of the biggest issues of today.

New Quay is an amazing place to spend time, with a beautiful coastline and stunning wildlife just on the doorstep. While bank holiday weekends and the holiday months are very busy, it is a very peaceful place out of season. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the CBMWC, the whole team was brilliant and if anything I wish I could have stayed longer. I would not want to miss any of the experience I gained or the memories I made and cannot wait to get back for some dolphin spotting again.

Wildlife Watch Group

Do you live locally? Love marine wildlife life? Are you between 6-11 years old?

Come and join CBMWC Wildlife Watch Group to go searching for shells! Sunday 12th February 10am-12pm. 

We’ll explore the local rock pools searching for creatures that live in shells such as hermit crabs, limpets, periwinkles and dog whelks. Please bring waterproof clothing and footwear.

The group will then head back to our Discovery Room where you can create your own salt dough shell to take home with you.

The session can also be conducted inside in case of bad weather.

Each meeting costs just £2 per child. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Booking is essential please email or call 01545 560224 (Mon-Fri) to secure your place.


Perfect Christmas Gifts

It’s that time of year again. Are you looking for a unique gift for your loved ones this Christmas? The let us help you …

Why not Adopt a Cardigan Bay dolphin for just £30 for a year? Choose from one of five Welsh dolphins, including newcomer Jacky who is a favourite of our Living Seas Volunteers.  Packs can be catered to adults or children (12 and under) and are filled with information about dolphins and the local marine life, a photo of the chosen dolphin and also comes with £2.50 voucher off a Dolphin Survey Boat Trip.

You can also treat your loved ones to a wildlife watching experience with a Dolphin Survey Boat Trips Gift Voucher, with prices from just £22.50. Give someone the chance to spot some of Wales’ amazing marine life including bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoise, Atlantic grey seals and a range of marine birds including gannets, razorbills and guillemots.

Not only are these great gifts but your money and support will help us to continue our vital research as well as allowing us to raise awareness of the amazing marine life found in Wales and the problems faced by our marine animals.

Please be sure to order gifts by 14th December to make sure they are dispatched in time for Christmas. All orders after this date will not be fulfilled until the new year. 

And the winner is….

And the winner is….

As part of the 20 year anniversary celebrations CBMWC hosted a marine-themed art competition for local schools.

Some fantastic pieces of art were submitted inspired by the title; ‘Why you love Cardigan Bay’.


Some of the beautiful art work submitted to the competition

Six local primary schools participated in the competition; it was great to receive so many different pieces of art all inspired by Cardigan Bay.

Celtic Sustainables sponsored the competition with the winning school receiving £200 worth of paints from their Earthborn range.

TV presenter Iolo Williams and Celtic Sustainables had the difficult decision of choosing the winner with so many interesting and inspiring submissions. After much deliberation they awarded Llanarth Primary School (Ysgol Gynradd Llanarth) the winning prize for their beautiful piece of art which highlighted why they love Cardigan Bay and different ways we can look after it.


Llanarth Primary School’s winning piece with Iolo Willams and Morag Embleton

Thank you to Llanarth Primary School (Ysgol Gynradd Llanarth), New Quay Primary School (Ysgol Ceinewydd), St Padarn Primary School (Ysgol Padarn Sant), Trewen Primary School (Ysgol Gynradd Trewen), Cenarth Primary School (Ysgol Gynradd Cenarth) and Beulah Primary School (Ysgol Gynradd Beulah) for all your beautiful art work.

Name a Dolphin Competition

To celebrate the Wildlife Trust’s National Marine Week, 23rd July to 7th August 2016, CBMWC are giving you the chance to name one of Cardigan Bay’s bottlenose dolphins!

Jacky and her calf 657 are frequent visitors to New Quay Bay and as 657 seems to becoming independent of its mother we have decided it needs a forever name!

675 can be identified by scarring on its dorsal fin

675 can be identified by scarring on its dorsal fin

To be in with a chance of naming a dolphin, submit your chosen name for £1 at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre or online for £2 (due to paypal admin fee). Your donation will help to support our research and educational and awareness work. The competition is running from 23rd July to 7th August 2016.

Good luck!


Siobhan Edney 14th March – 8th May 2016, England

I had an amazing time volunteering at Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre for 8 weeks from March to May 2016. I was very nervous before I came to volunteer, but there was no need for me to worry as all the staff and other volunteers were really friendly and made me feel at home. Even though it was hard work I loved helping out and really enjoyed being on the wall on sunny days during land watches and on the all-day boat surveys. You can often spot dolphins from the harbour wall and it was interesting to record and observe their behaviour. We regularly had sightings of: bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic grey seals, harbour porpoises, gannets and lots of other birdlife from the wall.  I also had a great time on the boat surveys and enjoyed watching the dolphins especially when they would bow ride the boat. On an all-day boat survey, we went on we could even spot the dolphins bow riding the boat underwater before they surfaced. The water was so clear we could have been in far more tropical waters and shows you don’t need to travel far as there is also amazing local wildlife here in Wales!

The volunteers would often have film nights and venture out to the pub for quizzes which was fun.  New Quay is a really lovely laidback place to live for a few months and the surrounding areas are also great to explore. I went to University in Aberystwyth so knew a little about the surrounding area but had never ventured as far as New Quay. There is also an hourly bus service that runs daily which takes you too places such as Aberystwyth and Aberaeron which you can easily explore on your days off.


Living Seas Volunteer Experience

Love dolphins? Want to make a positive contribution to marine conservation? Looking to volunteer with locally?

Then come down to our Living Seas Volunteer Experience morning on 11th June, 10am-12pm. This is your chance to experience what it’s like to volunteer at CBMWC, meet some of our current volunteers and find out how you can get involved.

The Volunteer Experience will begin at 10am with a tour of our visitor centre and a quick chat about our Living Seas work. We’ll then head out to New Quay Harbour Wall to conduct a mini dolphin watch survey and possibly spot some dolphins, seals or marine birds. After our mini survey we’ll head back to our Discovery Room for tea, coffee and biscuits and a chance for you to talk to some of our current volunteers as well as our Living Seas Volunteer Coordinator Laura.


We’re looking for any members of the local community, whatever your age, experience or background, with a passion for marine life or someone who wants to use their skills to help a local marine conservation charity.

To find out more about volunteering then please visit our local volunteer page

For more information about this event then please contact Laura Evans via email or call 01545 560224.

Our volunteering programme is supported by the Volunteering in Wales Fund via Wales Council for Voluntary Action.


Living Seas Volunteers Conducting a Dolphin Watch

Discover Living Seas

Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre provides year round marine environmental workshops and activities to schools and groups of all ages. We now have a new brochure available that highlights our Living Seas Marine Education and Awareness programme and the activities available.


The brochure is available in electronic format only and can be downloaded from here:

The brochure contains information on the activities available and the associated costs for the sessions that we offer. All our talks, workshops and corporate days can be tailored to meet your individual requirements and interests.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact our Living Seas team via email or telephone 01545 560224.