Marine and Coastal

whale tail fluke (image: Steve Halama on Unsplash)

Working on the coast, off shore, at sea or with marine plants and animals.

This is more an area of specialisation than a discrete area of the profession; many of the onshore / inland roles have a coastal or marine equivalent where the addition of marine specific knowledge being the only difference between the roles.

For more about Landscape Management see here.

For more about Countryside Management see here.

For more about Rights of Way see here.

For more about Ecology and Biodiversity see here.

For more about Working with Wildlife see here or for Animal Care see here.

Jobs and employment

Some job titles may include Living Seas Project Officer, Marine Biodiversity Officer, Marine Engineer, Boat Manager, Sightings Co-ordinator, Oceanographer, Animal Care Worker, Zookeeper, Heritage Coast Officer, the National Careers Service has role profiles of some of these (click the links).

See current vacancies for coastal management work advertised with CJS here.

See current vacancies for coastal rights of way roles advertised with CJS here.

See current vacancies for marine ecology and biodiversity advertised with CJS here. 

See current vacancies for marine wildlife work advertised with CJS here.

To gain the experience required volunteering is frequently a good start.

See current volunteering opportunities across all sectors advertised with CJS here.

You can practice your identification skills by taking part in one of the many citizen science projects and surveys, see more here.

Skills, training and CPD.

The skills and qualifications required to work on the coast are usually the same as those for working inland in countryside or land management or with wildlife and animals but with a water specialism, for example it's unlikely that you would need much knowledge of dolphins, seals and whales in an urban park but for a coastal post it might be essential.

Requirements will vary depending on which area you will be working, for example coastal land management will be similar to inland, likewise managing a section of coast path the knowledge needed will be the same as for all rights of way roles. However, there a few coast and marine specific skills which may be required and an ability to swim is always advantageous!

If you're thinking of a career focusing on coastal environments there are details of longer courses dealing specifically with Marine Ecology and Coastal Conservation on the Training Directory here.  Some of these are also available as Distance Learning courses, see these here.

Information and in depth articles

ORCA’s Whale Education Month 2019

National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2019: a national effort to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises with citizen science

Citizen scientists sought to help survey storm-lashed Scottish coastline, SAMS

Tackling a tide of marine pollution, MCS

The Bass Rock, Scottish Seabird Centre

Marine life passion, Marine Photo

Studland's underwater meadows, Dorset Wildlife Trust

Whale and dolphin-watching around the UK - how you can get involved!, Sea Watch Foundation

Steart Marshes, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

Volunteering for MARINElife, MARINElife

Our challenging coast, Durham Heritage Coast

The Marine Conservation Society

Life of a Volunteer on Flatholm Island

Managing a coastline - for the benefit of man and wildlife, RSPB


Useful organisations

Marine Conservation Society

Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust


Natural England

Scottish Natural Heritage

Natural Resources Wales

Marine Management Organisation (part of defra)

Environment Agency