Certified Marine Guide: 5 Day Practical Course

Want to get a job as a Marine Guide and not wait months or years for an opportunity?

Then this is the course for you.

In order to gain employment opportunities as a marine guide, you’ll need more than just a passion for marine life and conservation.

You’ll also need real world practical experience and skills involved in operating world-class marine tourism experiences - everything from dealing with customers to ensuring safety practices are maintained.

These are the exact outcomes you will get on this 5 day practical course, held in Picton, NZ with E-Ko Tours.

Course Prerequisite
Please note that in order to take place on the practical course, you must first complete the online marine guide diploma.  Click here for details.

World Class Training and Trainers
E-Ko tours has been operating dolphin and whale experiences for guests from all over the world for over 20 years, and our team has trained dozens of guides in that time.

Guides who have then been able to travel with their experience and gain employment at amazing locations all around the world.

The E-Ko training system has taken 20 years of input and been carefully tested over the past 10 years to produce world-class guides.

We have been selected by the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA ) to be able to offer marine guide certifications and a documented training record book with certifications to give you a clear career path and recognition of guide experience and expertise.

Course Director: Captain Paul Keating.

A Stunning Location
The training location of Queen Charlotte Sound with its calm sheltered waters, beautiful scenery and an incredible amount of wildlife available is an ideal training location.

We also have marine protected areas with abundant marine species.

Key Benefits of the Practical Marine Guide Course

You will be immersed in hands-on training with an experienced certified guide, guide trainer and course director. 

You will learn best practice guiding techniques while developing your own personal style and skills to ensure that you have the confidence and knowledge to embark on a fantastically satisfying global guiding career.

  • Practical work experience as a marine guide interacting with real customers
  • WCA Training Record Book signed off.
  • Training from qualified, experienced, expert professionals
  • Individual partner membership alongside the world’s experts on whales and dolphins
  • Option to get involved with partner working groups in WCA
  • Exclusive access to our Whale Champions community for a year, offering the chance to apply for volunteer opportunities overseas with our amazing Partners
  • Certificate from World Cetacean Alliance
  • Personal Reference from E-Ko Tours Limited
  • Help with career planning and placement

This course is the perfect start to an incredibly satisfying career or a great way to prepare for working with one of the 120 organizations who are part of the World Cetacean Alliance.

Then there's the wild life!
You will experience the joy and thrill of swimming with dolphins in the wild as part of your course - understanding how customers act around these creatures is a crucial skill you will need.

Meet Josephine - a recent graduate

Once you complete your course you will receive:

  • Official WCA Marine Guide Certificate
  • A printed copy of the WCA training record book with validated experience
  • A personal reference from the course director
  • Addition to WCA / E-Ko websites - guides for hire section
  • Your CV and profile sent out WCA Partners worldwide looking for guides

What you will learn on the Practical Marine Guide course.

  • On-board induction and marine safety systems
  • Health and safety procedures for guides (WCA Specialty)
  • Cetacean Identification (WCA Specialty)
  • WCA Global guidelines and local legislation (WCA Specialty)
  • Guide equipment use and care
  • Seamanship and marine knowledge
  • Project Jonah Marine Mammal Medic, (minimum numbers apply )
  • Marine Seabird Species
  • Bottle-nose Dolphin (WCA Specialty)
  • Hectors Dolphin (WCA Specialty)
  • Dusky Dolphin (WCA Specialty)
  • Orca Dolphin (WCA Specialty)
  • Humpback Whale (WCA Specialty)
  • Marine Sanctuary Islands  and Predatory Free Wildlife Islands
  • Checklist system for Guide Procedures
  • Tour Preparations and  Communications
  • Pre-Tour Briefings and Practice
  • Guide species practice
  • Guest customer service
  • Social media and guests
  • Photography and customers
  • Post tour procedures
  • How to get great customer reviews

When and Where does the Practical Course Take Place?

The course is held in Picton, NZ  at the E-Ko Tours base  (1 Wellington Street) on the following dates:

2020 Dates

September       28th-2nd ( Fully Booked )

October             19th-23rd ( Fully Booked )

November         23rd-27th ( 4 Spaces left) 

December         7th-11th ( 6 Spaces ) 

2021 Dates

January             18th-22nd

February           8th-12th or                 22nd-26th

March               8th-12th or                 22nd-26th

April                  5th-9th or                  19th-23rd

May                   3rd-7th or                  17th-21st

This is the best place on earth to learn!

Do You Have Any Questions?

Feel free to give Miranda (Training Manager)  a call, on +64 223 441 946 and she can chat to you about the course.

Or email her: e-kotraining@e-ko.nz

Accommodation Options

For those that are travelling to Picton, E-Ko has an accommodation partner, which will provide heavily discounted rates while you are on the course.


Location:         Piwaka Lodge

Bed and Breakfast Accommodation

Phone +64 3 9293749

Special E-Ko Training Price $350 for 7 nights

$50 a Day. This includes two healthy meals a day.

This is a quality, safe choice within walking distance from E-Ko. Upgrade options available upon request.