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Marine Conservation Volunteer - Thailand

  • Contribute to the research, protection and restoration of reefs
  • Diving and conservation courses included; open to beginners & experienced divers
  • Work with a dynamic team engaging the local community in conservation initiatives
  • Live on a beautiful tropical island
Location Island of Koh Tao
Start dates First and third Saturday of each month
Project closed from 17th October - 12th December 2015
Duration 1 - 12 weeks
Age Requirement 18 +
Availability Spaces available
Cost From £695 / €895 / $1105 - see fees table below
Discounts For friends / partners sharing a room

What will I be doing?

Each day is different and will vary between both research focused and restoration focused activities. These may include:

  • Reef health surveys (Ecological Monitoring Programme)
  • Biorock coral rehabilitation and coral nursery
  • Artificial reef construction / maintenance
  • Mooring buoy installation
  • Giant clam nursery
  • Sea turtle ‘head starter programme’ and releases
  • Surveys and monitoring of specific species including seahorses, invertebrates and coral predators such as crown of thorns starfish
  • Water testing
  • Coral spawning capture and culture programme
  • Erosion control

In addition to the regular project focuses there may be special activities such as working with community groups to raise awareness, educational workshops and beach and underwater clean-ups.

If you are a beginner diver on arrival you will spend your first week training and achieving your SSI Open Water and Advanced Adventurer certification. SSI (Scuba Schools International) is an internationally recognised dive standard equivalent to PADI.

During your placement 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 programme for Koh Tao. For those looking to specialise you can also take further ecological courses.

There are normally 5-15 volunteers in the team however in the summer the team can be 20-25 volunteers in total. Volunteers work alongside full time staff and long term research interns.

Hear from past Thailand Marine Conservation volunteers

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Marine Conservation Volunteering reviews.



view photo album | view video


How is the Thailand Marine Conservation project making a difference?

Coral Reefs cover less than 2% of the ocean floor but support 25% of all marine life. They are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on earth, but also one of the most threatened. Research is the only way to get a true idea of what the problems are and what needs to be done to alleviate them.

The Marine Conservation team is active on two fronts; surveying the reefs and collecting data in Koh Tao, as well as implementing a range of restoration projects and community engagement initiatives. They work in partnership with local government authorities and universities to provide data for key decision makers in marine conservation, coastal protection and fisheries in Thailand.

Why are volunteered needed?

Research and restoration activities are labour intensive and as such volunteers are a valuable addition to the team. Working under the guidance of the Marine Biologist and experienced interns at the project, volunteers can contribute a great deal to the ongoing research. In addition to this, volunteers with an interest or experience in conservation can bring a new perspective to research.

“Students are the lifeblood of our program. They help us complete the day to day tasks, achieve success in our projects and initiatives. Over the years our program has evolved incredibly, and a lot of the progress can be attributed to the enthusiastic and determined people that we have had the pleasure of hosting. Volunteers are truly what make our program a success”
Chad, Marine Biologist

Where will I be living?

You will be based in a relaxed and friendly village on the south side of the island, the project and volunteer accommodation are located close to the beach. Koh Tao is a dramatic mix of dense jungle and hilly terrain and has become best known for the abundance of excellent dive sites within a short distance of the island.

Volunteers have a private room in a hotel just a few minutes’ walk from the dive school. Room are en-suite with cold water showers and western bucket-flush toilets.

During your freetime you can explore the island; walking, mountain biking, climbing, cookery lessons and snorkelling on your doorstep.




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 Volunteering Guide on your volunteering placement
  • Travel information - visa, health and safety advice
  • Access to 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
  • 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
  • Onsite support from local team
  • Support from Pod UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Crisis management plans and 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 Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.

Pod volunteer fees

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 £1295 €1670 $2060 $2410
Extra weeks up to 4 weeks £295 €380 $470 $550
Extra weeks 5 weeks + £225 €290 $360 $420

Current dive level - Open Water (or equivalent)

Duration GBP
2 weeks £1095 €1415 $1740 $2035
Extra weeks up to 4 weeks £295 €380 $470 $550
Extra weeks 5 weeks + £225 €290 $360 $420

Current dive level - Advanced (or equivalent)

Duration GBP
1 week £695 €895 $1105 $1295
2 weeks £995 €1285 $1580 $1850
Extra weeks up to 4 weeks £250 €325 $400 $465
Extra weeks 5 weeks+ £225 €290 $360 $420

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


We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information


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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