menu Navigation & Contact Info

Dolphin Internship 2021


Cliquez ici pour voir notre vidéo en Français

One-month Dolphin Internship Program designed for college students or professionals and even for high school graduates in search of a field placement, practicum or orientation to a possible career in marine biology, marine mammal conservation, ecotourism, animal behavior, animal assisted therapy or recreational therapy. We offer applicants the opportunity to play an active role in Water Planet’s educational Eco tours and in our therapeutic programs for children with disabilities. Interns will assume limited responsibilities in the implementation of both programs after receiving a basic 1-week training.

We also provide a research platform for students who are working on their own project for a Master’s Degree or PhD. in marine biology, dolphin behavior, ecotourism management or in recreational therapy and other related fields. Interns will learn about the importance of a respectful and educated approach to wild dolphins and about safety on board our boats. Ecotourism management will be discussed as interns will be briefed in educational strategies to raise the public’s environmental awareness as means of promoting the conservation and protection of our pristine marine ecosystem and of wild dolphins in particular.

Interns will learn about the different approaches to dolphin assisted therapy and recreational therapy. They will learn why these disciplines cannot be sustainable or justified without a marine and nature conservation dimension. Interns will be directly involved with children with developmental delays, PDD and other disabilities as well as with wild dolphins.

Our approach puts in perspective the impact human activities have on wild dolphin behavior and social life and also the influence dolphins can have on human behavior, emotions and self-development.

Abundance and distribution of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, in Panama City, Florida.We have also had students ask us to provide a platform for projects in field data collection for their Masters degree or PhD. in marine biology, Therapeutic Recreation, Occupational Therapy, Child Life and other fields. In 2003 and 2004, we had two marine biology students from two different Belgium Universities for a research project on a dolphin population. The other interns, who were interested in this field were given the opportunity to be involved in the project by helping in data collection.

In 2006, we had selected a student of the University of Montreal and hosted her 2-month research project on “The impact of the Water Planet Harmony program on the adaptative behaviors of children with pervasive developmental disorders”.
The 2005 June and July Interns had the chance to assist the Canadian student with various tasks like observing the children and take note of certain behaviors or shooting video during and after the dolphin encounters. The interns participation to the project not only improved the diversity of angles in the data collection but it also helped the interns get a feel for what it is like to prepare and to implement a research project. We will offer our interns the opportunity to assist with data collection since we will continue with the project May through August. Different methods will be used for data collection.

Crowd_Swim We will share with you our experience helping children with disabilities by introducing applicants to their role and responsibilities, and by offering basic training sessions on case management, children profiles review and the Water Planet philosophy and intervention style. We will share with you our experience in ecotourism management and in educational strategies to raise the public’s environmental awareness as a means of promoting the conservation and protection of our pristine marine ecosystem. You will be observing and assisting our staff both on land with the briefings and on board the boats with the dolphin encounter trips with participants from North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

RachelRhysYou will be observing and assisting our staff during the therapeutic land sessions, bodywork, watsu, expressive arts and music. You will be on board the boats with the families and their children, assisting with their dolphin encounters and helping with photo or video documentation.

RespectYou will learn about the importance of a respectful and educated approach to wild dolphins and about safety on board our boats. During swimming pool sessions we will show you the basic skills you will need to take care of yourself in the water and to be of help to others in an aquatic environment. Interns will also be trained in the art of free diving and communication with wild dolphins through body language.See our home page for details about the programs you will be involved in.

A great way for you to have a better idea of what our internship entails is to visit our Facebook page where we introduce our interns and where we post videos of the programs our interns help facilitating.


Read a  Letter from Taylor University after one of their students completed an internship with Water Planet.

Hello Javier
Good to hear from you thank you for contacting me about my experience of the Water Planet internship .
I had a wonderful time on the program .  Denis and the staff were so knowledgeable and the intern coordinator Chloe was incredibly professional and supportive.  Our personal goals were discussed to ensure we would get what we were hoping to get from the program .
I was interested in the whole concept of Dolphin Assisted Therapy and how it fits into the wider concept of Human-Animal Interventions and in particular the therapy and educational aspects of working with vulnerable client  groups.
I loved every minute of the internship and practically here are a few things to be aware of:
You will be sharing a lot of time with the other interns.

You spend a substantial amount of time in the water and on the  boat (regardless of weather 😂 )  so I had to get over sea sickness very quickly.
Long days (but so worth it !!)
Finally I am so glad I did this internship – if only for my own personal development it was so worth it and Denis and the team were truly inspirational and amazing – I really made some amazing friends .
Good luck with your studies and thank you again for contacting me.
All the best
Judith 😃

Coucou Denis,
Comment vas tu ? La saison a commence ? La famille ca va?
As usual Panama City Beach is always on my mind. since a few month I have been thinking about becoming a therapist to be able to help children with disabilities and anyone else in need of help. I have looked at different osteopathy schools and different programs. The idea of having my own center providing various therapies has grown on me. Thank to you and all the amazing times I had in Panama City Beach I think I found my vocation.
I hope you are doing well and I can’t wait to hear from you.


Hi Denis and Nathalie!!!
I just received an email from Rachel letting me know that we are on your website for interns and it made me think about when we were there. Doing the internship with you was the best, most meaningful and beautiful experience of my life. I know I told you before I left that I would be back this year, and as much as I want to, I will not have time to do it. I am trying to talk my family into coming down and going out for a few days with you to swim with the dolphins. Rachel and I still keep in touch. She is planning a trip to see me this summer! How are both of you doing? How is Marina and Aisha? Next time you talk to them will you tell them than I said Hi! I should get back to my homework now, but I just wanted to write you a letter and let you know a little of what is going on. I hope everything is going great for you!