The annual Great Whale Count brings volunteers together to count whales from shore as part of a long-term survey of humpback whales in Hawai‘i. This event provides a snapshot of trends in relative abundance of whales and is one of the world’s longest-running community scientist projects, dating back to 1995.
How to Join
2024 Great Whale Count events will take place in the locations shown on the map below on Jan. 27, Feb. 24 and March 30! Volunteer registration will open on Dec. 15, 2023. Each Great Whale Count event is from 8AM – 12PM and volunteers must be able to participate the entire time. If you’d like to ensure that you receive the signup notice in your email, please sign up for our email newsletter. Mahalo!
Since 2019, the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary’s Ocean Count and Pacific Whale Foundation’s Great Whale Count have been conducted on the same days in January, February, and March, to collect data on whales from all the main Hawaiian Islands simultaneously. You can find the latest numbers from both events below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is required of a volunteer to participate?
What if I would like to sign up as a group with my friends or family members?
What should I do if I signed up for the wrong location or need to cancel my registration?
What do I need to bring?
Are binoculars provided for participants?
What happens if the weather is inclement the day of the count?
Can I use this opportunity to count for required community service hours?
Does the site I’m assigned to have shade, restrooms, parking, etc.?
Upon being accepted as a volunteer for the Great Whale Count you will receive all of the information available about your participation location. Sites vary widely in terms of the amenities available. If you have specific needs, please contact the PWF Conservation Department to ask about the best site available to meet your needs. Please keep in mind that these events are held outdoors in public locations and the availability of amenities such as parking and restrooms can change without notice. View detailed site information.