course thumbnailThe JNCC accredited Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) course is run over two days to provide comprehensive coverage of the MMO role. A mixture of classroom and practical boat sessions are delivered by our approved trainer who has over 10 years’ MMO and marine mammal experience. Insight into life offshore and the practicalities of the MMO role ensure a very thorough preparation for prospective MMOs. However, those from an industry background (working alongside MMOs) will benefit from the full exploration of the complexities of mitigation requirements. A scientific background will be an advantage to delegates and a keen interest in marine mammals is key.

A certificate for offshore work will be awarded upon successful completion of this course.

The JNCC MMO course will be followed by a 3 day Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) Level 1 course.

5% student discount for one course on proof of full and valid student status.

10% student discount for two courses (when booking in conjunction with PAM level 1 course) on proof of full and valid student status.

About the Course

This highly interactive two-day course combines classroom study with an afternoon of practical experience at sea. Delegates will get a thorough insight into all aspects of life as a marine mammal observer. Ideal for those aspiring to a career in marine mammal observation, this course is also useful for anyone in industry working alongside an MMO who wants to get a better understanding of the role. The course starts in the classroom with a look at what exactly an MMO does, exploring: how noise impacts marine mammals; the legislative landscape; record-keeping; reporting requirements; and mitigation measures. Then delegates put the theory straight into practice by boarding a vessel and getting a real insight into life offshore. This professional qualification is accredited by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and delegates who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate for offshore work. All MMOs working in the UK Continental Shelf are required to have been trained on a JNCC-accredited course.

Course requirements

Delegates should have a scientific background and have a keen interest in marine mammals.


Day 1 (classroom)

  • Anthropogenic Noise in the Sea
  • Effects of Noise on Marine Mammals
  • Legislative Background
  • Role of the MMO
  • NCC Mitigation in Practice: Seismic Surveys, Vertical Seismic Profiling, Piling and Explosives
  • ID of UK Marine Mammals

Day 2 morning (classroom)

  • Introduction to PAM
  • Reporting Requirements
  • Recording Forms in Practice

Day 2 afternoon (on a vessel)

  • MMO and ID in Practice
  • Life Onboard


SB expertSmall

Stephanie Barnicoat has extensive experience working offshore as a consultant, carrying out visual and acoustic surveys on seismic exploration projects, windfarm installations and in marine mammal research around the world. She has in-depth knowledge of PAM hardware systems and PAMGUARD software. In her spare time, she is a member of the British Diver Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) team where she assists in the rescue and rehabilitation of abandoned or injured seal pups and other marine wildlife. Steph has an MSc in Biological Diversity and a BSc in Marine Biology and Zoology.


Loraine Grantsmall





Loraine Grant has several years’ experience working as an offshore environmental representative on seismic exploration projects as an MMO and PAM Operator. She has an MSc in Environmental Science and a BSc (Hons) in zoology from University College Dublin, Ireland.

What Next?

For more experience at sea, our three-day MMO minicruise will provide you with plenty of opportunities to observe a wide range of UK marine wildlife. Delegates who have completed our JNCC MMO course often progress to the 3-day Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) Level 1 course. The PAM Level 1 course will equip you with the skills required to become an offshore PAM operator while widening your knowledge of acoustic monitoring and increasing your understanding of industry requirements for environmental mitigation.


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  • Protected species observer course

    “Stephanie was great. She kept us engaged. Excellent material!”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “All sections of the course were really useful”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “The whole course has been really interesting, well presented and enjoyable”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “Excellent lecturers, very passionate and well prepared. Excellent material provided! Nice small groups-good discussions! Excellent venue, facilities and catering”

  • PAM

    “A good introductory course, thank you”

  • Protected species observer course

    “Wonderful course, thank you!”

  • PAM

    “Great practical’s”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “Thorough explanation of standards and terminology”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “Paul and Victor brilliant Lecturers”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “Teacher’s knowledge, course materials and presentation. Refreshments were very good!”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “Highlight of the course is the quality if the instructors”

  • Marine Acoustics Course

    “I think it is quite effective as an introduction on physical aspects”

  • PAM

    “Fun course!”