Volunteer FAQs

Do you have questions about volunteering at Aquarium of the Bay? Check out the FAQ’s below to find answers for many of the common questions we receive. 

Do I need a science background to volunteer at the Aquarium?
Not at all! What you do need is an interest in marine biology and conservation issues, but there are a wide variety of volunteer roles available, each requiring a different set of skills or experience. For example, if you want to work as an Education Volunteer, familiarity with marine science or biology is a plus and being comfortable talking with guests is a must. The Volunteer Diver position, on the other hand, requires a dive certification and cold-water diving experience.

For more information on the specific requirements for the various opportunities at the Aquarium, check out our Volunteer Roles 

What is the volunteer commitment?
All volunteers at the Aquarium must commit for a minimum of 6 months.  There is no maximum, and some of our volunteers have been around for several years! Shifts are typically eight hours in length and occur weekly, depending on the department and position. Volunteers must also commit to attending a volunteer orientation, as well as department-specific training once accepted into the program.

Can I volunteer more than one day a week, or in more than one role?
Some of our volunteers serve more than one day per week, and in more than one role. New volunteers traditionally start in one role, and then take on more responsibilities when they are comfortable with the first.

Do you have short-term/summer/full-time internships?
At the moment, we do not have any short-term or full-time volunteer opportunities or internships. Due to the amount of training involved for volunteer positions, we ask for a minimum commitment of six months.

Are all volunteer candidates accepted?
While we endeavor to find a match for each applicant, it is not always possible to find a volunteer role that is available and appropriate for both the applicant and the Aquarium.

I need to complete Community Service hours – can I volunteer at the Aquarium?
Unfortunately, we do not have a volunteer program that offers Community Service hours at this time.

What happens after I submit my volunteer application?
You will need to attend the next Volunteer Info Night. Info Night sessions occur every other month and are about one hour in length. This session will cover the open volunteer positions and allow applicants to sign-up for an interview time.

After I have been accepted into the volunteer program, what is the next step?
The first step in your training as an Aquarium volunteer is attending a mandatory volunteer orientation. Orientations are held every other month and last about three hours. During orientation you will review volunteer policies and procedures, learn general San Francisco Bay ecology, tour the Aquarium, fill out necessary paperwork, and receive your volunteer uniform. You will also pay the non-refundable $30 volunteer fee at this time.

Is there a fee to volunteer and what does it cover?
Yes, there is a non-refundable $30 volunteer fee, which is paid at the Volunteer Orientation training. This fee goes towards defraying the costs of the background check, training materials and uniform. The fee is not meant to be a barrier to volunteering, and we are open to waiving the fee on a case-by-case basis.

Where do I park when volunteering at the Aquarium?
Aquarium of the Bay staff and volunteers do not have a designated parking area. Most staff and volunteers use public transportation, park on the street, or in one of the many local parking garages. For more information on public transportation and parkingclick here.

How do I get started?
If you are interested in volunteering at Aquarium of the Bay, first check out the Volunteer Roles to see current  opportunities, then follow the Five Steps to Volunteering guidelines.

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