24 Hour Hotline   -   02 9415 3333

To report all injured or distressed marine mammal

General FAQ

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.

To enrol, you can complete an on-line application.


When are Training Workshops held?

Usually on one day of the weekend.  Check the ORRCA Diary for dates.


Where are Training Workshops held?

We try to set up our workshop in various locations on the NSW Coast. We try to pick locations that are easily accessable 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.

What is a training workshop like? 

The day is a mixture of theory and practical.

The first session is in the "classroom", where you will learn from several presenters the essentials of marine mammal biology, possible causes of strandings, 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 possess one, just ensure you wear appropriate footware, e.g. closed in shoes are a requirementr an old pair of runners suffice.


How do I make sure I get on the next workshop?

Fortchoming workshops will be listed on the News and Events page as well as ORRCA's Newsletter which is distributed to all members.

Workshops are always 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 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.


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.


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 booklist
  • Exploring our site
  • Follow our Links to other sites


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.

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 Committee for further information.

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