Volunteer Opportunities


Volunteer Opportunities
Learn something new, share what you know and do what you love!

Are you interested in making a difference? Our dedicated team of volunteers helps the Ocean Institute inspire children to learn every day! With a variety of specialized departments, we are sure to have an opportunity that is just right for you. A complete list of position descriptions and minimum qualifications are outlined below.

Volunteer Roles

Education Docent

Serve as an educator and work alongside staff in a variety of education programs. Programs with students from pre-K to 3rd grade.  


  • Applicants must be at least 21 years of age
  • Applicants must possess a four year degree
  • Applicants must pass a live scan background check 
  • Applicants must have weekday availability from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Public Program Docent

Public Program Docents are the heart and soul of our visitor experience. These individuals serve as interpreters, exhibit facilitators and continually inspire members of the community through hands-on marine and maritime education. 


  • Applicants must be at least 14 years of age

Tidepool Interpretive Program (TIP) Docent

TIP Docents educate tidepool visitors about the wonderful natural resources present along our coastline in a way that promotes environmental stewardship. This program occurs outdoors, with its home base behind the Ocean Institute at the entryway to the beautiful Marine Protected Area (MPA). The program operates approximately 12 times per month during daytime low tides, when the marine resources are most vulnerable (but also most visible). 


  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age

Information Booth 

Information Booth volunteers assist in greeting students and their teachers as buses arrive. Volunteers direct and manage flow of multiple groups to ensure a timely and safe welcome. Information Booth volunteers serve as Ocean Institute ambassadors by providing information and directions about programs and facilities available, as well as information about the Dana Point harbor. 


  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age

Chambers Gallery Book & Gift Store

 Volunteers assist with the usual functions of a retail operation including visual merchandising, ticketing, stocking, assisting customers and finalizing sales at the register. 


  • Applicants must be at least 15 years of age

Tall Ships Crew

Crew volunteers maintain and repair the Pilgrim and Spirit of Dana Point. From woodworking and sail mending to rigging and sailing skills, these volunteers work to ensure the continuation of maritime heritage. Volunteers will primarily participate in dockside maintenance and may have the opportunity to be involved in educational/sailing programs. 


  • Applicants must be at least 16 years of age

Volunteer Process

Volunteers are accepted on an as-needed basis. In order to volunteer, please submit an application online. All submissions will receive a response, please allow one week for processing. 

General information

Sand Dollar Guild

The Sand Dollar Guild is a group of dedicated volunteers who help raise funds for the Ocean Institute. The guild was founded in 1988 and have raised more than $1.4 million for the Ocean Institute.


Volunteer Application

Interested in joining the Ocean Institute volunteer team? To be considered, please fill out an application here


Beach Cleanup Opportunities

Looking to give back to the ocean and your community? Join us for a two hour Beach Cleanup!

Cleanups run on select Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Please come prepared with a filled reuseable water bottle, a snack and closed toed shoes. Ocean Institute will provide trash pickers and bags! 

Select the “Book Now” button below to sign up.


Summer Camp Volunteers

We are not currently accepting applications. Please check back in March 2019 for your next opportunity. 

Summer Camp Volunteers are an essential part of running fun, successful summer camps at Ocean Institute. In this role, you would assist our staff in the set-up, tear-down and facilitation of educational camp activities.