UK - become a marine mammal medic with BDMLR

In the UK WDC works with the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) which is an organisation dedicated to the rescue and well being of all marine species in distress around the UK. WDC and BDMLR were founder members of the UK's Marine Animal Rescue Coalition (MARC). MARC is the national voluntary forum where rescue protocols and procedures are discussed and agreed. BDMLR provides training for volunteers to become accredited marine mammal medics who are qualified and insured to attend rescues of marine wildlife around the UK coast. The course is a full day's session, usually with around 20 delegates. The course fee is £90 - this includes your first year’s supporter’s fee and third party insurance while on a rescue.

The morning lecture session

This session usually starts at 10.00am (sometimes earlier at specific venues - please check) with an introductory talk from one of the course directors and a short video showing the work of BDMLR. Three lectures are then given by the course directors.

  • The first lecture is on marine mammal biology and sea and cetacean (whale, dolphin and porpoise) identification.
  • The second lecture is on cetacean physiology, first aid and rescue techniques.
  • The third is on seal physiology, first aid and rescue techniques. The final lecture covers health and safety for all rescue / training work.


This is not provided - please bring your own packed lunch if not available at the venue.

The afternoon practical session

Held at the waters edge. Delegates are asked to bring along a dry suit as you will be in the water for most of the afternoon.
This session is split into three modules:

Seal rescue
Delegates are taught how to handle and lift an injured or stranded seal. Each delegate will have the chance to try out their newly learned skills on a life sized model of a seal.

Dolphin rescue
Delegates are taught handling, lifting and first aid techniques using a life sized water filled model of a Common dolphin.

Whale rescue
Delegates refloat a two tonne life sized model of a Pilot Whale. The model is filled with water and is very life like. It is not unusual to have members of the public offer to help as they believe it is real!

The course finishes when everyone has completed each of the modules, or are freezing - usually about 16.30.
A final de-briefing is held where certificates, medic ID cards and badges are handed out to delegates from 1700 hrs to 1730 hrs.
The course fee includes hire of a lifejacket and your first year’s supporter fee and third party insurance cover while on rescue. Delegates will also receive:

  • A Marine Mammal Medic Handbook
  • A photo ID card
  • A Marine Mammal Medic woven badge and car stickers
  • A certificate proving that you have done the course

Please note that we strongly advise you to bring a dry suit for this course, whatever the weather. For the practical sessions you will be in and out of the water and if you only have a wetsuit you will chill quite quickly.

Check course locations and to book your place.

Find out more about BDMLR