Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries


EMS values diversity and inclusivity

EMS actively works towards making our team of staff and volunteers more inclusive. We value everyone’s unique qualities and experiences, including but not limited to disability, ethnicity, language, age, gender or sexual orientation.

We understand that some volunteers may need extra support. We value diversity in our team, and where possible we aim to provide appropriate support for all, along with a welcoming environment and respectful culture.

Register to volunteer here, or read the Frequently Asked Questions below.

Volunteering with EMS – FAQs

  • Experience many unique snorkel locations around Adelaide and South Australia (including the Fleurieu Peninsula, Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula and the South East)
  • Have fun as part of a friendly and diverse team, with optional team social events and team trips
  • Learn new skills and marine knowledge
  • Undertake free and subsidised accredited and non-accredited training
  • Share information about SA’s marine ecology and promote marine conservation and marine sanctuaries
  • Access EMS merch and team clothing – long-sleeved polo shirt – great for sun protection, and EMS hoodie and beanie for those who volunteer at least 3 days at CuttleFest

EMS needs volunteers for in and out of the water at our community snorkel events.

The pathway for in-water volunteers is usually:

  • trainee snorkel guide
  • assistant snorkel guide (after some experience with EMS) 
  • lead snorkel guide (when experienced and / or after completion of the Lead Snorkel Activities certification with EMS)

EMS also needs volunteers to assist with:

  • shore support
  • kayak support
  • registration desk and wetsuit & gear fitting
  • site setup and pack down

EMS welcomes volunteers for roles out of the water including:

  • assisting with VR sessions at special events, community centres or schools
  • manning the EMS table at events and festivals
  • administration or special projects depending on skills and experience

There is no obligation to be available every week. Ideally a volunteer could assist at a minimum of 3 events per year. While there is no minimum requirement, EMS rewards volunteers for their level of involvement.

You have the option to volunteer on occasional weekends at our community snorkel events, or on occasional weekdays at our school snorkel events and VR sessions. On our volunteer portal, you can select the dates that suit you.

Most of our snorkel days run in the warmer months from September – May, but we also hold cuttlefish snorkel tours in June/July.

Our volunteers range in age from 13 – 70+. Our Ethan London Youth Program allows young people aged 13-17 to volunteer with parent supervision.
Secondary students are welcome to register as a volunteer with EMS and select shifts on our calendar of opportunities. Both the student, and the supervising parent if applicable, need to have a current Working With Children Check. Due to our schedule, it is often not possible for EMS to offer a full week of work experience, but please get in touch and we will see what we can do.
First you must register on the volunteer portal and upload any relevant certificates you already have. Our volunteer coordinator will contact you, but in the meantime you can: *Please note, you need the induction completed to see all opportunities.

As a minimum, all volunteers aged 18 and above need their First Aid Certificate. EMS can reimburse up to $100 of the cost after you have completed at least one day of volunteering with us.

EMS provides free accredited and professional development training for volunteers. We suggest coming along to volunteer at one or more events first, and then you may consider signing up for further training including:

  • Basic Oxygen Administration
  • Lead Snorkel Activities (including Freediver Breathing Techniques)
  • Inclusive training
  • Risk Management and Rescue skills
  • Cultural Awareness

It helps if you have experience in the water as a snorkeller, diver, kayaker or swimmer, but many of our volunteers develop more confidence with snorkelling after they start volunteering at our events. Most volunteers start as a trainee guide, and progress to an assistant guide or lead guide.

Our roles are well-suited to marine biologists and marine biology students. However EMS welcomes volunteers from a range of backgrounds and experience. The most important is that you have a passion for conservation of our local marine environment and marine sanctuaries and want to inspire the community to get involved and learn more about EMS.

Most snorkel guides have their own wetsuit, mask, snorkel and fins. If you are starting out as a volunteer, you can borrow an EMS wetsuit and gear until you have your own.
Many of our snorkel sites are not accessible by public transport, but we try to coordinate car pooling with other volunteers where possible.
EMS aims to be an inclusive organisation, and we will support you to volunteer with us where possible. When you register on the volunteer portal, please note any special requirements and how we can support you.

Testimonials from a few of our volunteers

“I have to say volunteering with EMS is really a lot of fun! Being part of such a passionate organisation is a real pleasure, and a great way to meet new likeminded people. I have had the opportunity to become a qualified leader and that in turn also has helped me in my adventure business. The work done around the SOPs and risk assessments and the amount of training volunteers have, means there is a high level of safety for everyone, and that gives me a lot of confidence to enjoy the time in the water and know everyone is safe. There are also great opportunities to travel, but due to my own busy schedule I haven’t had the chance to experience that with EMS …yet! I think EMS is a wonderful organisation and I am proud to be associated with it.’ Michelle

‘Volunteering with EMS over the past 12 months has been amazing! As a third year Marine Biology student, I’ve been able to immerse myself in the underwater world and work alongside others who have the same passion! I’ve loved being a snorkel guide and helping to spread awareness about marine conservation, as well helping those who don’t have a lot of experience in the water develop skills and confidence. Highly recommend!’ Kiara

‘I volunteered with my mum on the Eyre Peninsula trip, Yorke Peninsula trip, CuttleFest and at Port Noarlunga. I enjoyed snorkelling at lots of cool places and learning from the snorkel guides. It feels really safe and organised and everyone is really friendly. Working on the registration desk was a good experience for me as a teenager.’ Bilal, 14, Volunteer on the Ethan London Program.