Marine Conservation


Work with a dynamic team, contributing to the research, protection and restoration of reefs in Koh Tao. Support a variety of initiatives such as artificial reef installations, coral predator monitoring and baby turtle rehabilitation.


Key Info

key info
  • Location: Island of Koh Tao
  • Start dates: Every Saturday
  • Duration: 1 – 12 weeks +
  • Age requirement: 18+
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £695 / €835 / $940 - see fees table below

Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

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

  • Reef health surveys (Ecological Monitoring programme)
  • Biorock coral rehabilitation
  • Artificial reef construction / maintenance
  • Mooring buoy installation
  • Giant clam and coral nurseries
  • 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.

Dive courses and certifications

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

For information on the costs of the Open Water and Advanced courses please see the “Fees” section.

During your placement you will also obtain Conservation Diver certifications - all volunteers obtain at least two certification cards during their placement but volunteers staying longer may have the opportunity to complete more.

For volunteers staying 3 weeks or more, the project includes an Ecological Monitoring Project Certification and manual.

Working days and hours

Volunteers work five days per week, Monday-Friday. The day is usually 9am - 5pm however this can vary depending on the activity.

Other volunteers

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.

Long-term interns

The project accept a small number of long-term research interns, this is ideal for volunteers looking to complete a university thesis / dissertation whilst working at a conservation initiative. Internships are generally 8-12 weeks + and have a slightly different structure. If this is of interest, we can provide more detailed information once we have received your application - please include this preference clearly in your application form.

Closure dates

This project is closed between 14 Oct - 17 Dec 2016.

Volunteer Reviews

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

Why are volunteers 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.

“Volunteers 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

How is the 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.

Where will I be living?

You will be based in a relaxed and friendly village on the south side of the island. 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.

The project and volunteer accommodation are located close to the beach and 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:

  • Carefully selected and vetted volunteer project
  • Support from our friendly and highly experienced Pod UK team
  • Single point of contact - Ellie 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

On your placement:

  • 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 Diver certification (two specialities)
  • 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
  • Incident Management and Emergency Response Plans

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 is run as a non-profit organisation. Fee levels are set to match costs and any surplus monies are distributed to the projects we work with via the Pod Charity.
Price table
1 week (available to Advanced level divers) £695 GB Pounds
2 weeks £975 GB Pounds
3 weeks £1245 GB Pounds
4 weeks £1495 GB Pounds
Extra weeks £225 GB Pounds
+ Open Water Course - Additional cost, required for all beginner divers £200 GB Pounds
+ Advanced Course - Additional cost, required for all beginner divers and open water level divers £150 GB Pounds

Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see

Discounts - of £25 per week for friends / partners sharing a room


artificial reefs deployed

"Pod is a no nonsense volunteer organisation looking to change lives"Cian


Pod UK Manager

Ellie has visited the project, apply and you'll hear from her soon!

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



  • Thailand Marine Conservation volunteer - Laura

    “This placement has changed the way I dive, I am so much more aware of what is happening to the reefs and have a much better knowledge now of underwater life that a hobby that I have always loved has become even better.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Thailand Marine Conservation volunteer - Luke

    "The most rewarding thing for me was to see the marine animals using the artificial reefs we were creating and knowing that what you're doing will benefit the reef and the island. You'll grow as a person and a diver, and make some good friends along the way."

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Thailand Marine Conservation volunteer - Maurizio

    “You volunteer with smart, dedicated people who are eager to learn about the island’s truly amazing marine ecosystems and to contribute to the ongoing projects aimed at research, maintenance and protection of the reefs.”

    Read more volunteer reviews


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Sustainable needs-based volunteering projects that have lasting and positive impact on the local community. Volunteers of all ages are needed to make a difference overseas.

Structured to minimise costs for volunteers and maximise benefits for the projects we support.