Marine Conservation

Volunteer for Marine Conservation

Do you love the ocean and are you a bit of a science or biology geek? In that case, marine conservation is just the thing for you. There is a great variety of different volunteer programs waiting for you with the focus on the marine environment, its ecosystem, and especially its conservation. Each of the projects has a different focus, such as the cleaning of coastal areas or national marine parks. Other volunteer projects prioritize on ocean- and coral reef or turtle conservation. Become an ocean conservation volunteer and discover locations like Costa Rica, Mozambique, or the Philippines. Due to the rise of tourism, marine conservation volunteering has become more and more important. Awareness needs to be raised regarding topics such as environmental issues, conservation, and the protection of marine biodiversity and resources. Are you into science or biology? Do you also want to combine an adventurous trip with doing something for the greater good? – Get active, and join one of the ocean conservation volunteer projects, now!

Reef Conservation Supporter

North Bali Reef Conservation needs the support from international volunteers to help with its current projects

Environmental Scuba Diving

This volunteer program gives you the opportunity to discover the wonders of the Portuguese coastline and work on the protection

Marine Life Conservation Assistant

Reef Conservation International is a fantastic way to experience real world conservation efforts, while having great fun!

Marine Conservation Internships

Our program leaders are some of the most experienced educators on Koh Tao. We are a dedicated group who are actively involved

Why Volunteer for Marine Conservation?

For centuries, our oceans have simply been regarded as a supplier of food, a useful route for transportation, and as a place for dumping our trash. We are now faced with the consequences of the fact that the oceans have always been taken for granted. The effect is visible not only in the decline of the oceans’ biodiversity but also in the destruction of coral reefs and precious marine habitats. This is affecting the sea turtle, shark, whale shark, and the populations of other sea creatures According to the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), the major threats to the ocean’s are:

  • Tourism and coastal development
  • Shipping traffic
  • Pollution
  • Climate Change

Sadly, only 4 % of the oceans are being protected, a number that needs to increase rapidly. That’s why volunteers are always needed and more than welcome to become part of a marine conservation project.

How Can I Support Marine Conservation?

There is a great variety of different ocean volunteer programs. Each program is more than happy to welcome you and your helping hands. Some ocean conservation volunteer programs focus mainly on work underwater, including scuba diving. This is your chance to observe some of the most interesting sea life. Volunteer for marine conservation and help the reef, sea turtles, sharks, whale sharks and so many more! Other marine volunteer opportunities are engaged in work that needs to be done on the land, such as cleaning the beaches and the coastlines or working together with the local communities. Educating the locals on the importance of marine conservation is incredibly important for the future of ocean conservation. To find the perfect marine conservation volunteering opportunities for you, you need to take your interests and knowledge into account. You will find an overview of the different possibilities, below:

How to Volunteer for Marine Conservation Underwater

There are different volunteer abroad programs that focus especially on ocean conservation and marine protection. In these programs, scuba diving plays an important role. You will have the opportunity to be part of a project anywhere in the world. Depending on where you want to do marine volunteering abroad, you have the possibility to visit amazing places like:

  • Portugal
  • Costa Rica
  • the Philippines
  • the Bahamas
  • Indonesia

In these ocean conservation programs, volunteers have the opportunity to help with the conservation of the underwater ecosystem and marine parks. Each ocean conservation program has a different focus and different tasks, but all of them focus mainly on water-based activities. Generally speaking, you can expect to be doing one or more of the following tasks when supporting ocean conservation:

  • Observing and documenting fish populations
  • Coral reef farming
  • Transplanting corals
  • Engaging in reef clean-ups
  • Exploring and mapping underwater caves

You will receive a comprehensive diving training before you go underwater. Even if you have no experience at all – don’t worry! Anyone is more than welcome to participate in scuba diving volunteer opportunities, from beginners to more experienced divers. And in case you are wondering, you will always be supervised by experienced divers during your time under the water.

How to Volunteer for Marine Conservation on Land

As a marine conservation volunteer, you will also get the chance to work on land. This can be the conservation of plants that are found by the sea and that are important for the local eco-system. Other projects focus on education, beach clean-ups, or research, and the collection of scientific data. There are many different countries for marine volunteering abroad. Volunteer in Tonga, Costa Rica, Cambodia, or Kenya. Here’s an overview of some of the tasks you may be involved in:

  • Training on modern fishing methods and sustainability
  • Development of educational resources and best practice guidelines
  • Demonstrating local processing solutions
  • Working alongside local communities
  • Providing hands-on demonstrations on how to keep the shorelines clean
  • Performing beach clean ups
  • Data collection

It is important to include the local communities where you are volunteering and to raise awareness about marine conservation and protection. Not only is the program to work alongside locals important in terms of awareness. It is also important to demonstrate how to keep beaches and reefs clean and demonstrate the importance of maintaining marine life like sea turtles.

How to do an Internship in Marine Conservation

Students who are passionate about science or biology can gain valuable international work experience by doing a marine biology Internship. You will need permission from your University to do an internship abroad. There are over 30 different marine conservation volunteer opportunities spread across the world. Travel and do a marine internship in some of the most exotic locations and learn things you could never learn from study books. Join one of the marine conservation internships abroad or work abroad during your summer holidays. Any type of international work experience will give you a leg up during your search for future job opportunities. Get ready to discover the secrets of the sea and observe some of the amazing sea life our planet has to offer.

Best Places to Volunteer for Marine Conservation

There are many places in the world where you can volunteer for marine conservation. Depending on your interests, you will have a great variety of programs to choose from. If you are looking for an adventurous volunteering option that is all about being underwater, scuba diving, and experiencing the marine life face-to-face, you can choose to spend your time in:

  • the Caribbean
  • Costa Rica
  • Mozambique
  • the Philippines

You also have the possibility to go to the most amazing places in Europe:

  • Portugal
  • Italy
  • Spain

If you’re interested in marine conservation volunteering but prefer to keep it dry, think of the following destinations:

  • Australia
  • Indonesia
  • Costa Rica

You have the option of going anywhere you want to. If you’re more interested in protecting sea turtles in Costa Rica, head over to our sea turtle conservation page. If you take a look at the map, you can see all the countries that offer programs in marine conservation:





South Africa



Costa Rica


Dominican Republic
















 5 Benefits of Volunteering for Marine Conservation

Most people will agree that helping others feels great! Let’s take a look at some of the benefits you may enjoy as a volunteer for marine conservation:

1. Personal Experience

Working on one of the marine conservation projects is the most amazing experience. Not only will you grow as a person, but you will also see that you are able to contribute to meaningful change.

2. New People & Culture

No matter where you stay or which program you are volunteering at, you will definitely get to know a new culture. During your time abroad as a marine conservation volunteer, you will be surrounded by other volunteers that share the same passion for marine conservation as you. You don’t know it yet, but your new best friend might be around the corner.

3. Career Booster

If you are thinking about studying biology or a similar field, being a volunteer for marine conservation and researchwill be perfect for you. On the one hand, you are able to gain hands-on experiences and insights into the work that is done by experts and you will benefit from this at a later time during your career. Volunteer experience is an asset for your future job applications as it shows that you are committed and motivated to do something for the greater good.

4. University Credits

Some of the programs can also benefit your studies. Do a marine biology internship and contribute to marine conservation while you invest in your future.

5. Language Skills

Depending on the country you are traveling to, you will definitely improve your language skills. As you will be engaged with volunteers from all over the world and with people from the local communities, your language skills will improve faster than you think.

 Who Can Volunteer for Marine Conservation?

In order to work as a volunteer in marine conservation, there a few important things to keep in mind.

  • For most of the sea conservation programs you need to be at least 18 years old, but there are also some that you can only attend if you are at least 21. In some programs, you are also able to attend if you provide the permission of your legal guardians. There is no age limit upwards, but it is important that you are physically fit.
  • Volunteer projects are excellent opportunities for students to gain valuable work experience in their field of study.
  • Depending on your volunteer country, a basic or intermediate level of English or Spanish is necessary in order to communicate with your colleagues, project coordinators, and the locals.
  • Some programs may require a criminal record. In order for you to get specific information for each project offered, please take a look at the program page.

 How to Volunteer for Marine Conservation

So you’re ready to volunteer for marine conservation but you’re not quite sure how to get started? Take a look at the following 3 steps that will prepare you for your ocean conservation volunteer program abroad and an unforgettable adventure:

  • Check whether there’s a match between you and the project by looking at their requirements.
  • Take a look at the location of the project and decide whether it would be a location you are excited about.
  • Get in touch with the organization and see whether your expectations and your schedule match up

Once this is sorted. Let’s take a look at the practical steps:

Insurance (Health & Travel)

We recommend getting both health and travel insurance. In fact, this is even a requirement for most programs abroad. Get in touch with your program contact person to find out if an insurance plan is already in place for volunteers.

Visa, Passport, and Documentation

Once you know your destination, take the following 3 steps before setting off on your life-changing adventure!

  • Look into the visa requirements for the country you will volunteer in.
  • Make sure you have a valid passport considering the requirement of the host country.
  • Prepare the correct documents to fulfill the visa application.

That’s it! You’re ready to discover the world as a marine conservation volunteer. Get ready to discover and protect the wonders of the underwater world like the coral reefs, sea turtles, whales sharks and many other sea creatures!.