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Volunteer for the New York Marine Rescue Center

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New York Marine Rescue Center

  • 155 people are interested

Learn. Contribute. Grow.

Volunteers play a vital role in the operation of the New York Marine Rescue Center. We simply could not do without them!

As a volunteer, there are plenty of support teams to choose from. Take part in fundraising projects, greet aquarium visitors at our Rescue Center, and spread awareness at fairs. Train to join our rescue team and support our talented biologists with rescuing and rehabilitating marine life. Whichever you choose, you will be making a significant difference. Join our team today!

Rescue Center Educator

The New York Marine Rescue Center (NYMRC) is a separate organization for the Long Island Aquarium. It is of the utmost importance that we educate visitors about our organization as they walk through our rescue center. It will be your job as a Rescue Center Educator to educate patrons about seals and sea turtles in NY waters, the rescue efforts of the NYMRC, and how they can get involved. Several rescue sea turtles can be see from the rescue center and you will get the chance to talk to visitors about specific patients receiving care in our hospital facility.

Exhibit Interpreter/Lecturer

There are locations throughout the Long Island Aquarium where we need the help of volunteers to interact with visitors and enhance their experience by representing the New York Marine Rescue Center and educating them on what we do and also how important our marine environment is with additional information about displays and exhibits. Current displays include the Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Center, Ray Bay, and Touch Tank. From your experience as exhibit interpreter you can take that to the next level by training and learning scheduled lectures or learn how to give behind the scenes tours. We always need anthusiastic educators teaching our guest about conservation issues and our different exhibits.

Education Programs

Education is a very important part of what we do here at the New York Marine Rescue Center. We have a variety of education programs from Lectures, mock strandings, beach cleanups, ecology walks and behind the scenes tours. We look for volunteers that are interested in learning how to give these programs so that we can reach a larger audience and share our mission of conservation with as many groups and schools as we can. There is training for this starting with shadowing and observing programs and when you are comfortable practice sessions can be scheduled or signed up for.

Beach Patrols/Clean ups

Become a Beach Patroller and search Long Island Beaches in the fall/winter months looking for cold-stunned sea turtles. Patrols are conducted October-January (seasonal opportunity, not included in the regular volunteer program). It is not necessary to attend a volunteer orientation if you are only interested in the beach patrol program. Instead you would need to attend a training session held September-November. For the beach cleanups you also do not need to become a volunteer to join us on the beach you just need to call and register for which location and date you would like to join us. We do look for individuals to join the volunteer program to become leaders at beach cleanups or data collector leads so that we can expand our program and adopt more beaches.

Fairs and Festivals

Spend time this summer and fall at conservation or environmentally focuses events as you work at a booth for the New York Marine Rescue Center, answering questions and informing the public about who we are and what to do when they see a marine mammal or sea turtle in New York waters. These are a great opportunity for us to educate areas that are less familiar with The New York Marine Rescue Center ’ s Programs.

Office Volunteer

The New York Marine Rescue Center needs your help with our day to day office operations from answering the phone and inventorying items to putting together packages for the mail. If this is something you would like to help with we appreciate having volunteers that can come in one day a week to help with these tasks and others.

Fundraising/Program support

We look for volunteers that can help us coordinate our fundraisers and find new sponsors and supporters of our work. Rescue is one part of the work that we do but it is where we spend most of the money we need to generate each year. One seal in our care for 2 months costs $10,000.00. Without help raising funds we would not be able to continue the work that we do. So we need volunteers for different committees and also to help make improvements to programs that we have like the adoption program and our donation can program.

Rescue Team

For those who are interested in hands on experience with marine mammals and sea turtles and have proved themselves to be a dedicated volunteer able to donate more time, you can join our staff biologists with the care of our injured marine life. As you can imagine, this can be an exciting position, and everyone over the age of 18 is eligible to assist the rehabilitation process after completion of an additional training session- scheduled based upon season and ability. However, it is important for all volunteers to become involved in at least one other part of the organization for two reasons. First, the New York Marine Rescue Center cannot function and attempt rehabilitation efforts without adequate assistance in all other aspects of the organization. Second, during periods when animals are not at the facility, being active in other parts of the organization will give a sense of belonging and keep you up to date on new programs. After a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer service and a recommendation from a staff member, volunteers who have expressed an interest can attend a Rescue Team orientation. If accepted to the Rescue Team a weekly commitment will be required.

There are some perks to becoming a volunteer in addition to the ability to participate in challenging and rewarding life experiences which offer personal enrichment. By donating a minimum of 8 hours of service per month you can receive the following benefits:

  • Receive a New York Marine Rescue Center Bronze membership package
  • Two free guest passes to the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center after first 6 months of service
  • 30% discount in the caf?, gift shop, and "Scoops" ice cream shop upon completion of training
  • One free meal on day of volunteer activity with a minimum of 4 hours of volunteer service
  • A membership to the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center after 50 hours of service, renewable on anniversary date
  • Annual recognition event/awards ceremony
  • Unlimited learning opportunities offering the ability to acquire new skills and knowledge

More opportunities with New York Marine Rescue Center

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No additional volunteer opportunities at this time.

About New York Marine Rescue Center


467 East Main Street, Riverhead, NY 11901, US

Mission Statement

The primary mission of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation is to preserve and protect our marine environment through education, rehabilitation, and research. The Riverhead Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization that operates the Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program in New York State. The Riverhead Foundation is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of seals, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Some of these species are critically endangered and may become extinct in our lifetime. The Riverhead Foundation is the only organization authorized by New York State to operate the New York State Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program. The Riverhead Foundation's educational efforts are dedicated to informing the public about our marine environment and how they can aid in its preservation. The Riverhead Foundation needs the help and support of the public to carry out its mission. We cannot do this alone.


The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation is located at Atlantis Marine World Aquarium in Riverhead, NY. Our facility is equipped to house and treat the many species of marine mammal and sea turtle that are present in New York's waters. If an animal is sighted and seems to be in distress, members of our staff and trained volunteers will go to the scene and attempt a rescue. The rescuee is then transported to our facility where they will undergo testing to determine what treatments are necessary for their eventual release back into the wild. Rescued animals will stay with us anywhere from 3-8 months.

In addition to rehabilitation an education, the Riverhead Foundation engages in research. The Riverhead Foundation is currently conducting an extensive marine mammal and sea turtle abundance study throughout the coastal waters of New York State. The study encompasses aerial, shipboard, and land-based surveys.



We'll work with your schedule.


467 Main StreetRiverhead, NY 11901



  • Public Speaking
  • Fundraising
  • Community Outreach
  • Animal Care / Handling
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Environmental Education


  • Teens
  • People 55+


  • Must be at least 12
  • Orientation or Training
  • 8 hours a month to be considered active

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