I want to help rescue whales and seals. How do I become a member of the ORRCA Rescue Team? Do I need any specific background or experience, or is just being interested in marine mammals enough?
Attend a Marine Mammal Rescue Training Workshop. Interest and enthusiasm is all you need. When you complete the workshop, you will receive a certificate validating your membership of the ORRCA Rescue Team. We will contact you whenever strandings or haulouts occur in your area.
When are Training Workshops held?
They are usually held over one day of a weekend. Our Workshop season runs from February to May.
Where are Training Workshops held?
We try to set up our workshops in various locations on the NSW Coast, some in WA and some in Qld. We try to pick locations that are easily accessable so more people to attend. If you are able to organise a group of 25 people in another location, please contact us and we endeavour to organise a workshop in your area.
I'm just so keen to help ORRCA, my talents are simply wasting away. But I have no idea what's needed or how to start. It's so frustrating.
ORRCA is a hands-on organisation and everyone is encouraged to become involved. Please don't hesitate to contact hotline between the hours of 9-5pm, or contact us by email, and ask for further details. We are more than happy to help you match your interests and skills to ORRCA's needs. There are always possibilities.
What's involved in being a Hotline Operator?
Our Hotline is the critical lifeline of ORRCA! We are always in need of individuals to assist and back up the Hotline on an occasional, casual or regular basis. This is achieved by simply diverting the ORRCA Hotline to your home or mobile phone, at times which are suitable.
The only requirements are that you must ensure that all calls are answered.
If you are an occasional Operator, you would refer emergency calls to one of the more regular Hotline Operators. Backup assistance is always available and only a phone call away. Full training and an instruction manual are provided.
If you think that you would be able to assist, please contact the ORRCA Hotline for further information.
What can I expect at an ORRCA workshop?
The first session is in the "classroom", where you will learn from several presenters the essentials of marine mammal biology, possible causes of stranding's, first aid techniques, rescue strategies and methods, safety, and legal issues.
The atmosphere is informal with emphasis on the practical side - questions and discussions are encouraged in a team environment.
In the afternoon, we hold our a practical session on a nearby beach, where the teams can put into practice what was learned earlier in the day.
Although the material presented is extensive, participants gain assurance with the practical work. By the time we wrap up in the afternoon, you will feel confident to assist at any marine mammal event.
Do I need a wetsuit?
No! A wet suit is not a pre-requisite to being on the rescue team. If you already own a wetsuit, bring it along to the workshop in the afternoon. However, if you don't have one, just ensure you wear appropriate footware, e.g. closed in shoes are a requirement such as an old pair of runners.
How do I make sure I get into the next ORRCA workshop?
Future workshops will be listed on our website and in our member communications such as ORRCA's Newsletter which is distributed to all members. Workshops are also advertised well in advance, with full details on how to enrol. One thing to remember is to enrol early as spaces are limited. The cutoff date for enrolments is usually one week prior to the date of the workshop.
Do I have to be a member to attend a workshop?
If you are not already a member, you will become one when we accept your registration for a training workshop at a nominal additional fee. Membership is renewable annually.
What if I find out at the last minute that I can't go to my workshop?
Your workshop fee will be refunded or you can register for a future workshop.
If I join the ORRCA Rescue Team, what happens if I'm called to a stranding and I can't go?
As Volunteers we understand that Members have other commitments which may prevent them from attending to a callout.
I'm allergic to water and my back's playing up. Would I be any use at a stranding?
Yes! We are always short of 'dry people' at strandings and are needed just as much as 'wet people', if not more so. There are a thousand and one vital tasks that are required to be carried out.
I sent in my membership application two weeks ago but I haven't heard anything from you.
Please contact us if you are concerned as to whether your application has been received. We are an all-volunteer organisation, and occasionally this process may take a little while.
Where can I get paid work or work experience with marine mammals in Australia?
Unfortunately, we are unable to assist you with paid postions or work experience.
Where can I get information sheets or help with school projects?
With no paid staff, ORRCA lacks the funds or resources to assist the public in this way however, you will probably find what you need by:-
- Joining ORRCA and learn about marine mammals
- Consulting our resource area
- Exploring our site
What's involved in being a Hotline Operator?
Our hotline is our crucial lifeline! We are always desperately in need of individuals to assist on an occasional, casual or regular basis. This is achieved by diverting the ORRCA Hotline to your home, at those times which are suitable.
The only requirements are that you must ensure that all calls are answered. Backup assistance is always available and only a phone call away. Full training and an instruction manual are provided. If you think that you would be able to assist, please call the Hotline team on (02) 9415 3333 for further information.