Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network encourages those of all ages who are interested in marine mammals, their protection and welfare to attend our training sessions. Once a volunteer training session has been completed, you are eligible to become a member of Seal Sitters.

Volunteers are not only vital for the protection of seal pups and other marine mammals. They also perform a public service by providing education about marine life and our fragile marine ecosystem to local residents and visitors from around the world.

Learn more about volunteering

Seal Sitters MMSN holds several special trainings a year for those wanting to protect marine mammals along the shoreline of West Seattle and the Duwamish River. We are a very active network and have volunteers who travel from around the area to participate. However, if you live out of the West Seattle area and would like to find a stranding network closer to where you live, click here.

Please note:
Each stranding network requires their own unique training. Attending a Seal Sitters training does not qualify you to volunteer for a network in a different area.

Unlike most marine mammal stranding networks, we encourage children to participate in Seal Sitters - supervised at all times, of course, by a parent or guardian. We are so proud of our amazing and dedicated volunteers who are on duty rain or shine - we hope you will join us!

A multi-media presentation will illustrate our educational work in the community and the unique challenges of protecting seals and other marine mammals in an urban environment. Included in the training is an overview of
NOAA's West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network and biology and behavior of seals and other pinnipeds (due to time frame, supplementary sessions will include more marine mammals of Puget Sound).

*Due to time constraints on volunteers, this will be our final training before and during harbor seal pupping season.

10:00am - 12:30pm (doors open at 9:30am)
*please arrive early to receive and fill out paperwork

ALKI UCC (*there is no church affiliation with Seal Sitters MMSN)
front meeting room
6115 SW Hinds St
Seattle, WA 98116 (
map it here)

RSVP required to attend. (*please include full name - and name/ages of attending children - and your neighborhood)

*PARENTS PLEASE NOTE: all children in attendance must be able to sit quietly through an approximate 2 hour training session with a short break.

For additional questions and info or to be placed on a contact list for future training opportunities, please email us. Seal Sitters MMSN does not usually hold trainings during the height of pupping season, August - October, due to time constraints of volunteers responding to marine mammals. If you would like to help protect marine mammals through mid-Fall, please plan to attend this session.


All marine life is endangered by marine debris and pollution. Many, many thousands of marine animals and sea birds die each year from derelict fishing gear, marine debris and pollution. They are entangled and drowned by nets and gear. Strangled and contaminated by plastics.

This year's beach cleanup event was held on
Saturday morning, June 13, 2015. Once again, it was in honor of seal pup Sandy who was rescued from a West Seattle beach in August of 2011, rehabilitated at PAWS Wildlife Center, and then released back to the wild in January of 2012. Sandy was fitted with a satellite tag (glued to her fur which would be shed when she molted) to monitor her success in the wild and provide valuable data to biologists about foraging patterns of rehabbed seals. Sixty-six days later, Sandy was found dead, entangled in derelict fishing line off the Edmonds Pier. Read more about Sandy.

Harbor seals (who do not migrate and are year-round residents) and orcas, both animals at the top of the food chain, are especially hard hit by pollutants from storm runoff and microplastics which are stored in their blubber. A 2005 study showed that harbor seals of South Puget Sound were 7 times more contaminated with PCBs than those of Canada's Georgia Strait. The orcas of Puget Sound are considered the most contaminated marine mammals in the world.

Sandy has truly put a face on pollution. Trash on the beach becomes treacherous in the water. You can make a difference! Help keep our beaches clean and our sea life safe. Read more about marine pollution here.

Seal Sitters also honors the memory of the Arroyos gray whale who stranded and died in 2010. The
necropsy revealed that there was no food in the thin juvenile male's stomach - only human trash.

NOAA educator Peggy Foreman spoke briefly about the many danger of marine pollution and the Arroyos gray whale. SSMMSN lead investigator Robin Lindsey spoke about seal pup Sandy and PAWS Wildlife was on hand to answer questions about Sandy's lengthy rehabilitation. A representative of the Seattle Aquarium's Beach Naturalist program spoke about beach etiquette when it comes to invertebrates.

Read more about the cleanup on blubberblog here.

Early Saturday morning, June 14th of 2014, a large group of environmentally conscious volunteers from the public, PAWS Wildlife Center and Seal Sitters gathered at the base Alki Beach’s Statue of Liberty.

SS Lead Investigator Robin Lindsey and Amy Webster, PAWS Community Education Coordinator, gave a brief talk about the dangers of marine debris to wildlife.

Alki Beach looked deceivingly void of trash. The day before had been dreary and rainy with few beach-goers and Parks had done its usual early morning trash pickup. However, 73 volunteers (60 adults and 13 kids) fanned out over a wide area stretching from Constellation Park to Duwamish Head and sidewalks above, armed with gloves and long tweezers to pluck trash.

As volunteers returned to drop off their bags and buckets of trash, the pile grew by leaps and bounds - testimony that what appears to be a small amount of litter, indeed is very substantial.

Among the inventory of intact and broken bottles, beer and soft drink cans, more than a thousand cigarette butts (which leech harmful chemicals into the water), plastic bottles, caps and lids was a dope pipe, a very disturbing 6 hypodermic needles (found in differing locations), a sizable blanket (large enough to potentially kill a gray whale if swallowed), auto tire, part of a boat, chains, and remnants of gill net (extremely dangerous to marine mammals and sea birds). For photos and to read more on blubberblog, click here.

Thanks to the many volunteers who together donated 154.25 hours combing the beaches, seawalls and streets and sidewalks along our westside shoreline. To read about past years' clean-ups, click here.

Seal Sitters' 2013 educational outreach project Year of the Seal: Sentinels of the Sound was intended to raise awareness of the impact that humans have on our fragile marine ecosystem. That awareness campaign continues each day that volunteers and the public spread the message that litter and pollution is deadly to marine life.

stranding network for m-mimi (1 of 1)
Seal Sitters' “Flipper Fest”, an educational outreach event celebrating the marine life of Puget Sound and the people who do the work to protect it, was held on Sunday, May 31st, at the Alki Bathhouse. It was a tremendous success with an estimated 600 people in attendance!

Representatives from area marine mammal stranding networks, marine biologists, cetacean researchers and educators shared their knowledge and materials. There were lots of hands-on exhibits, including skulls and pelts to examine.

Environmental groups who focus on marine debris and pollution showed ways you can help save marine life, the easiest of which is by reducing waste and picking up litter!

Click here for more photos and to read in detail about this great event, featuring marine debris art activities for kids, raffle drawings and a life-size orca.

copyright © 2008-2015 Seal Sitters all rights reserved
photos and video copyright © 2007-2015 Robin Lindsey all rights reserved