Volunteer with us
Have you ever wanted to contribute your skills, life experience, diverse background, or your interests to a broader purpose, working in an inclusive and stimulating environment? Do you have an interest in all things Maritime?
Here at the WA Maritime and Shipwrecks Museums, we are looking for people from a diverse range of backgrounds and communities who seek to further their own knowledge, whilst giving back to the community in meaningful ways within the Museum.
What does being a volunteer involve?
Where to begin! As a volunteer, you will support our professional staff and enhance our visitor experience, interacting with visitors of all ages and cultural backgrounds.
You will have access to our regular training programs, deeper knowledge of our gallery collections, and gain opportunities to help run our broad range of ongoing community programs and facilitated visits. Volunteers operate within a strong framework of safety, including child safety.
What volunteering options are available?
We offer a range of volunteer activities across both WA Maritime and Shipwrecks Museums. Have a look at our different volunteering streams below and see what interests you the most!
These volunteers conduct paid tours through our historic Cold War-era Submarine, HMAS Ovens. Tours are approximately 75 minutes, with eight visitors per tour. Many of our Guides are former Submariners or Navy personnel; however, this is not a requirement to being a Submarine Guide.
We also conduct special tours for school groups, dignitaries, and disability support groups. Guides typically conduct three tours a day. However, we can accommodate two tour shifts if preferred.
Please note: The HMAS Ovens is currently closed for refurbishment. We have several volunteering options available for Submarine Guides while the Submarine is closed.
The Robert Steele Steam Machinery exhibition is located in a wharf shed adjacent to the WA Maritime Museum. Run by volunteers, this space houses historic engines from Western Australia's maritime past and demonstrates restored engines in action. This free exhibition is open most days per week from 9am–1pm. There are two main volunteering roles within the exhibition as follows:
Engine Operators – operate and maintain the engines while providing interpretation and technical explanations of the engines to our visitors. No previous knowledge of steam engines is necessary to volunteer in this role, as full induction and training will be provided. An interest in engines, steam power, maritime history is beneficial though.
Marine Engineers – repair and conserve the engines in the exhibition and undertake special projects on behalf of the Museum. This role is best suited to applicants with marine engineering qualifications and industry experience, due to the technical/hands on nature of the tasks.
Do you love shipwrecks? Are you interested in late medieval, or earlier colonial history? The WA Shipwrecks Museum focuses on maritime archaeology, and the many Shipwrecks found along our treacherous WA coastline. Many of our stories are centred around the very first European contacts with Western Australia, and the Dutch East India Company. Shipwrecks Volunteers share stories for specific exhibits and manage a diverse and extraordinary group of Discovery Carts.
WA Maritime Museum Gallery Volunteers focus on contemporary maritime history, such as sailing, fishing, development of the Fremantle port, pearling, and defence, as well as our State’s unique marine biodiversity. Maritime Volunteers share stories of our exhibits and travelling exhibitions, manage Discovery Carts, and conduct external Submarine and Wildlife Tours on the boardwalk outside the Museum.
We’re proud to host an exciting range of temporary exhibitions at WA Maritime Museum. Special Events Volunteers are vital in supporting staff and engaging with visitors during these events.
We’re creating a pool of Special Event Volunteers, suitable for people who want to volunteer on an ad hoc basis.
Past events where Special Event Volunteers have contributed include Maritime Day, Brickwrecks: Sunken Ships in Lego Bricks and Planet Sharks.
What do our current Volunteers say?
“As a retired person volunteering at WA Maritime Museum, it gives me that structure and social contact that a lot of retirees miss after an active life. I enjoy being a submarine guide because it’s an interesting and entertaining mix of public speaking and live theatre, a real confidence booster.”
Mike Davis, Submarine Guide
“I am back volunteering at the Maritime Museum after a 15 year break due to work commitments. Every duty I get to share my knowledge on exhibits with people of all ages from all over the world. There is always such a positive vibe, and the staff are so friendly and welcoming. I am proud to feel part of the team.”
Muriel Vivoda, WA Maritime Museum Gallery Volunteer
We prefer weekly regular contributions, but the Museum is happy to be flexible with your lifestyle and work priorities. We understand that while volunteering is important, work, family and other commitments are important as well.
Shifts are available 7 days a week, and schedules alternate depending on the type of volunteering stream.
Submarine Guides typically take on three tours a day, but we do allow for two as well. A three-tour shift typically lasts 5 to 6 hours.
Robert Steele Steam Machinery exhibition shifts are 9am till 1pm.
Gallery Volunteers have morning and afternoon shifts. Morning shifts are 10am till 1pm. Afternoon shifts are 1pm till 4pm.
All our volunteers are aged 18 years or above.
Volunteering is not the same as work experience, although volunteering is a valuable experience and a great addition to your resume. We welcome students on our volunteer team and have many already, including university and TAFE students. If you are interested in work placements (work experience or internships) please visit Work Placements for more information.
Yes, WA Maritime and Shipwrecks Museums are authorised volunteer providers, and we can verify your volunteer hours for Centrelink.
Yes, however, Shipwrecks volunteers are required to park at WA Maritime Museum staff carpark and walk approximately 5 minutes (600m) to the WA Shipwrecks Museum.
No. All volunteers at WA Maritime and Shipwrecks Museums are Front of House, which means you are customer facing at our site.