Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network

Dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals through rescue and rehabilitation, research and education.

 Become a Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network Volunteer!

Group TrainingGroup Beach Release

If you are interested in volunteering with the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, you may fill out the volunteer application below and submit to tmmsndrt@yahoo.com. Approved applicants will be asked to attend a one day training session which includes lectures as well as an in-water/physical training.

Your application will be reviewed prior to our next training sessions. If we feel that you meet the needs of the organization, you will be notified of our next training day. All applications must be complete to qualify for consideration, no exceptions.

Thank you for your interest in our organization!

Download TMMSN Volunteer Application Form Here

  • Please be aware that membership is required to attend the volunteer training session. View membership levels/perks/dues on our  Membership page.

  • Training consists of lectures on various aspects of the TMMSN and a series of physical tests both in and out of the water. If you are aware of physical limitations please notify us on your application.

  • Please be patient as we have a large number of applications and quite a waiting list. (Which we are certainly grateful for!) We typically hold several volunteer training days per year. Please, no phone calls or e-mails to inquire about the status of your application.

Thank you for your interest in TMMSN! There are many aspects of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network that volunteers may become involved with including education, live animal rehabilitation, dead animal recovery, necropsies, research, and more.

How do you become a TMMSN volunteer?

  • In order to become a volunteer, you must be at least 18 years of age and attend a training session. Volunteers are expected to be hard-working, punctual, honest, and respectful of TMMSN policies.  We do not require our volunteers to have any special skills related to marine biology, however it is very important that volunteers be able to follow directions.

Volunteering for the right reasons

  • Volunteers for the TMMSN are reminded that we are not here to promote or engage in "spiritual" experiences such as swimming or communicating with the dolphins.  With your continued commitment of time you will gain much valuable experience that you may be able to use in your studies, career, or personal life but your enrichment is not the goal of our program.  We are here to further the conservation of these animals and to contribute to the body of knowledge about these amazing creatures.

So what's in it for you? 

  • The TMMSN is pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to people from all walks of life.  Students gain valuable experience that is difficult to come by, and such experience adds to their studies and may often lead to employment opportunities within the field.  Those who aren't students gain the same valuable experience and are able to take part in bearing a unique responsibility--the care and well-being of a protected species whose intelligence rivals any in the animal kingdom.  In either case, you may witness the rewarding process of bringing a sick dolphin or small whale back from the brink to good health and a long life.  An experience of a lifetime and one that's rarely matched anywhere!

Volunteer Opportunities


Because most of the animals that we recover are already dead, we use this opportunity to conduct research on the tissues and organs. A necropsy might be conducted on the beach or in a lab depending on the circumstances. Field recovery and necropsy of dead dolphins and whales is a frequent and standard part of the TMMSN volunteer experience.

Dolphin NecropsyBeach Recovery  


Whenever TMMSN receives a call to retrieve a live animal, trained TMMSN personnel respond to the call for help. The TMMSN CCT (Critical Care Team--an experienced team of responders) moves quickly to ensure a high probability of survival for the animal.

Beach RescueBeach Rescue  


Whenever a live animal is rescued, 24-hour care is required for the complete recovery of the animal. Volunteers fill 4-hour observation shifts for round-the-clock supervision.   

Only those regular and reliable volunteers who put in their valuable time will reach the level of experience that will enable them to participate in activities requiring interaction above and beyond the observation shifts.

Observation ShiftIn-Water Support  


Release is a bitter-sweet moment for all volunteers who have been involved with an animal’s care and treatment. Release is determined by a number of factors: 1) age and maturity, 2) overall health, 3) swimming and foraging abilities, and 4) length of time devoid of medication. The decision to release an animal is made by National Marine Fisheries Service with input from TMMSN.

Dolphin ReleaseDolphin Release  


Education is an important aspect of the TMMSN. Volunteers play a vital role in educating the public on important marine mammal related concerns. The TMMSN regularly hosts educational booths at various community events, leads presentations to students and other groups, performs educational necropsy demonstrations, and raises public awareness through formal and informal venues.

Education BoothBeach Rescue Training