Marine Mammals of the West Coast - March 2024

Join the Raincoast Education Society for this fascinating course!


March 22 - 24, 2024


Raincoast Education Society


Dr. John K. B. Ford


BC’s west coast waters are home to a great diversity of marine mammals – 31 different species have been documented here! Join Dr. John K.B. Ford for Raincoast Education Society's weekend course, where he will introduce participants to the cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), and sea otters of BC.  Topics to be covered include the life history, ecology, and behaviour of the better known species, as well as the history of their exploitation and current conservation status, and more!  This weekend coincides with the peak of the spring grey whale migration, so there will be very good chances of viewing them plus other marine mammals during the two boat excursions into Clayoquot & Barkley Sounds.

Course Registration is $450 per person, and includes Saturday & Sunday’s boat trips.

About your instructor:

Dr. John K. B. Ford has been involved in field studies of marine mammals off Canada’s west coast since the mid 1970s. He is a research scientist (emeritus) at the Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nanaimo, BC, where he headed up the cetacean research program for 17 years. His main areas of research include the life history, ecology, behaviour and acoustic communication of cetaceans, especially killer whales.  John is author of Marine Mammals of British Columbia (Royal BC Museum Handbook). He is a Co-Chair of the Marine Mammal Subcommittee of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and a member of the IUCN’s Cetacean Specialist Group.

Weekend Schedule:

Friday Evening (7:00 pm – 8:30 pm)
George Fraser Room at the Ucluelet Community Centre

  • Presentation: Marine mammals of the west coast with Dr. John K.B. Ford, exploring grey whales, sea lions, and harbour seals.

Saturday (8:30 am – 2:00 pm)

  • Explore marine mammals with John in Clayoquot Sound on the Lukwa, this boat is part of the Jamie’s Whaling Station Tofino fleet.

Saturday Afternoon (3:00 pm – 5:00 pm)
Hotel Zed in the Rec Room

  • Marine Mammal Presentation covering topics such as: general biology, including how they feed, communicate, reproduce and behave in the marine environment. Including their distribution, habitat, social organization, exploitation by humans, and conservation status.

Sunday (8:30 am – 1:00 pm)

  • Explore marine mammals in Barkley Sound from zodiac boats, part of the Jamie’s Whaling Station fleet in Ucluelet.
  • Group lunch and course wrap-up.

*Important note about  Zodiac Boats – please read before booking this course: Jamie’s Whaling Station does not recommend this boat to anyone with a history of serious medical conditions. These include, but are not limited to, anyone who is pregnant, those with back, neck or knee problems, osteoporosis, incontinence, recent surgery or limited mobility. Anyone under the height of 4’8″ (142cm) is also unable to ride in a zodiac.

Photo Credits: Raincoast Education Society



Course fee:


How to register:

Register through the Raincoast Education Society's website by following the link below!