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Marine Conservation Volunteer - Thailand

  • Contribute to a range of local marine conservation initiatives
  • Learn to dive or increase your diving experience, with courses included for beginners
  • Work with a dynamic research team on a beautiful tropical island
  • Earn your SSI Ecological Diver certification
Location Koh Tao
Start dates First and third Saturday of each month
Project closed from 18th October - 19th December 2014
Duration 1 - 12 weeks
Availability Spaces available
Cost From £695 / $1095 - see pricing table below
Discounts For friends / partners sharing a room

How will I make a difference?

By becoming a marine conservation volunteer in Thailand you will be making a major contribution to marine conservation on Koh Tao. As the island has become more popular the local environment has come under increasing pressure, and there is now a real need for action in order to protect the island and maintain a balance between nature and the demands on it from diving and tourism, the fishing industry and the Thai community. This is a small project that is very well respected on the island and is having a quick and direct impact on the island's ecological outlook.

During your stay you will learn about coral reef ecology, research, and restoration and, by increasing your own knowledge and awareness, you will be an active part of the reefs’ protection. The research collected by volunteers is used to report to the government and university researchers who together are working to direct restoration policies and awareness on the island. The restoration work so far has reduced the threats and notably improved the local reef health. The methods and techniques used in the program are ones which take relatively low tech tools and little specialized training which means they can be implemented anywhere around the world - wherever you may travel next.

Read what past volunteers have said about this project in our Thailand marine conservation reviews.

Marine conservation volunteering in Thailand: What will I be doing?

Depending on your current dive level you will start off by taking the SSI Open Water (4 days) and Advanced courses (2 days), before taking part in the conservation work itself. SSI (Scuba Schools International) is an internationally recognised dive standard equivalent to PADI.

You will also obtain conservation course certificates including Ecological Diver. For volunteers staying 3 weeks or more, the project includes SSI Ecological Monitoring Project (EMP) Certification and manual, EMP is the official monitoring program for Koh Tao.

Each day varies considerably, but this gives you an idea of the daily schedule for the marine conservation activities:

09:30 Arrive at Dive School to prepare for the day’s activities
10:00 Lecture or Briefing
11:30 Depart by boat to dive research/restoration site
15:00 Return to Dive shop, wash Equipment
16:00 Debriefing and Data Entry
16:30 Finish (or optional help around office and data entry)

The work can vary and include reef surveys and research dives which are often accompanied by a brief lecture and other conservation initiatives such as:

  • Reef surveys (Ecological Monitoring Program)
  • Biorock Coral Rehabilitation and Nursery
  • Artificial Reef Construction and Maintenance
  • Mid-water coral nurseries
  • Mooring Buoy Installation
  • Giant Clam Nursery
  • Sea Turtle Sanctuary and Releases
  • Land and Underwater Clean-ups
  • Water Testing
  • Underwater Mapping
  • Erosion Control
  • Awareness Campaigns

There are generally between 2-8 volunteers at one time although this number can be higher during July and August.

More about the project

The marine conservation project is led by a small, friendly and family-owned dive school run by a British diver. It is dedicated to the protection of the local environment of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand and is active on two fronts; surveying the reefs and collecting data, and implementing a range of local environmental initiatives. Since opening in 1995, they have made marine conservation and management one of their main priorities and they are now leading the way to making dive schools into coral reef research and restoration centres.

The project are part of a larger initiative called the Reef Conservation Program (RCP) encompasses both research and restoration. Research is the only way to get a true idea of what the problems are and what needs to be done to alleviate them. After the problem has been identified it can be stopped and restoration activities can take place. In the RCP people from all over the world are given an opportunity to learn techniques that support local efforts and can be brought to other areas of the world.

Location and free time

You will be based in the relaxed and friendly village on the south side of the island. Koh Tao is a dramatic mix of dense jungle and hilly terrain in its interior and granite outcrops and beaches along its coast. However, it has become best known for the abundance of excellent dive sites within a short distance of the island. It is a simple, friendly and fun island with an atmosphere that means people usually stay a lot longer than intended!

You will participate in the marine conservation project from Monday to Friday, with weekends off to relax and explore the local area or just chill on the beach! There are plenty of bars and restaurants on the island, giving you a good choice for eating and going out, as well as a few beachside nightclubs. There are also many activities you can get involved in such as yoga, kick-boxing, Thai cooking.

Volunteer accommodation

You will have your own room in a very attractive and friendly resort just a few minutes’ walk from the dive school.

What's included

Before you go On your placement
  • Carefully selected and vetted volunteer project
  • Support from our friendly and highly experienced PoD UK team
  • Single point of contact - Becky is your dedicated placement manager
  • In-depth information booklet on your volunteering placement
  • Travel information - visa, health and safety advice
  • Specialist travel insurance at exclusive rates
  • Recommended travel agency for flights and tours
  • Access to special deals and resources
  • Fundraising guide and support
  • Financial protection for monies paid to PoD
  • Conservation volunteering placement
  • Pick up from a meeting point in Koh Tao
  • Accommodation - your own room
  • Induction and conservation training
  • All dives
  • SSI Open Water + Advanced dive courses (unless you are already SSI/PADI Advanced or equivalent)
  • Scuba review (if you have a dive qualification but haven't dived recently)
  • Conservation course - Ecological Diver
  • Conservation course - Ecological monitoring (for volunteers staying 3 weeks+)
  • Use of all dive equipment
  • Support from local team
  • Support from PoD UK office
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Specialist crisis management insurance
On your return
  • Contact from your placement manager
  • Feedback scheme
  • Volunteering certificate (on request)
  • References (on request)
  • Member of the PoD community
Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa (if required), food. Budgeting guidance is provided in our information booklet which we will email you when you apply.

How volunteer fees are set

PoD is run as a non-profit volunteer organisation. Fee levels are set to match costs and any surplus monies are distributed to the projects we work with via the PoD Charity - for more details click here.


Current dive level - Beginner

Duration GBP
2 weeks £1195 €1480 $1885 $1835
Extra weeks up to 4 weeks £295 €365 $465 $455
Extra weeks 5 weeks + £195 €240 $310 $300

Current dive level - Open Water (or equivalent)

Duration GBP
2 weeks £995 €1230 $1570 $1530
Extra weeks up to 4 weeks £295 €365 $465 $455
Extra weeks 5 weeks + £195 €240 $310 $300

Current dive level - Advanced (or equivalent)

Duration GBP
1 week £695 €860 $1095 $1065
Extra weeks up to 4 weeks £225 €280 $355 $345
Extra weeks 5 weeks + £195 €240 $310 $300

Discounts - for friends / partners sharing a room

Prices in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP.  For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com


PoD UK Manager



Becky in the PoD UK team has visited this project and is the placement manager so if you apply you will hear from her soon!

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