Research vessels at Scripps Institution of Oceanography are staffed by professional mariners and marine technicians.  To safely and capably support our scientific operations, these positions require individuals with specific skills, knowledge and experience -- and in many cases professional credentials and certifications.  For these reasons, we are unable to offer opportunities for volunteers in these roles.

Internships for cadets 

Scripps often collaborates with U.S. maritime academies to provide cadets with seagoing experience as part of their formal educational program.  Interested cadets should work with the placement officers at their home institutions, who in turn will work with the Scripps crewing coordinator to determine eligibility and opportunities.

Volunteering for science

You can help showcase the groundbreaking research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography by volunteering at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, which is our public exploration center.

Opportunities for college students in marine technical fields

At-sea and land-based marine technical internship opportunities for college students.

Opportunities for graduate students and early-career scientists

The University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) offers a comprehensive Chief Scientist Training Cruise Program for early career marine scientists, including PhD students and postdocs, on how to propose, plan and execute oceanographic research aboard UNOLS vessels.

Volunteering in a Scripps research laboratory

Scripps scientists sometimes accept individual volunteers on a case-by-case basis.  Here is a listing of research laboratories and our a directory of scientists. You may contact a researcher to inquire about opportunities they may have.

Scientists who are planning seagoing expeditions are listed on the UNOLS ship scheduling web site, which lists research programs by vessel and chief scientist.  The chief scientist is responsible for selecting the members of the scientific party on any cruise, and they should be contacted regarding opportunities for volunteers on their cruise.  Please remember that scientific research cruises are often physically and technically challenging, and may require advanced skills that you as a volunteer may not possess. Some chief scientists welcome an additional hand, while others are already fully booked with their regular research group personnel.


To serve as a volunteer aboard a Scripps-operated vessel, you need to sign up as an official staff volunteer through the chief scientist's business office (if he or she is from UCSD) or equivalent process (if from another institution). This status is required for insurance purposes, and must be done well in advance of sailing. Note that the Scripps Ship Scheduling Office cannot process these transactions. Persons lacking suitable insurance coverage will not be able to sail.

Age limits

Note that minimum age limits apply.