Marine Conservation Volunteer Abroad Programs

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Have you been looking for something different to do that’s still meaningful and worthwhile? A way to get out there and do your part to help the planet? If so, then volunteering in marine conservation is an excellent choice!

You’ll accomplish these things and more when you take on a volunteer placement of this type. Chances are you’ll have the experience of a lifetime while you’re at it, too, exploring some of the world’s most beautiful places from a different perspective – under the sea. Not only will you witness some of the planet’s most fascinating ecosystems in action, but you’ll also meet some of its most diverse and vibrant creatures hiding in the reefs.

Photo Credits: Ale Art.

As a volunteer in marine conservation, you could be involved in a wide variety of different projects. Depending on the organization you volunteer with and the length of your placement, you may end up specializing in one particular area, or trying your hand at a few different tasks. Some of the most common project types include:

Marine Diving Surveys/Data Collection

After obtaining your diving certification and being trained on techniques and procedures for data collection, you’ll spend your days exploring some of the most important ecosystems in the world – coral reefs. This type of work involves identifying different species and observing them in their natural habitats. Data collection, entry, and analysis are likely to be central to this type of project

Community Education

Many volunteer organizations have built successful relationships with the local communities they work in and around. Educating community members is a huge part of getting them on board and making projects successful. Volunteers for this type of project may give presentations at schools and community gatherings, or to local tour and dive companies about the importance of environmental protection. Volunteers could also prepare and lead workshops on a variety of topics related to marine conservation.

Debris Cleanup

A project of this type may involve removing garbage and other debris in the water, on land, or both. Many organizations conduct frequent beach cleanups, removing harmful debris from habitats to ensure the survival of the organisms living there. You’ll be trained in how to correctly remove debris and how to dispose of the garbage collected safely and responsibly.

Marine Animal Conservation

Just as marine habitats and reef systems need to be protected, so do the animals that live among them. Many volunteer projects of this type focus on a particular marine creature, such as sea turtles, whales and dolphins, or sharks. Volunteers could be involved in observation and tracking, or rescue, rehabilitation, and habitat protection of these species.

Asia

Southeast Asia in particular has long been recognized as one of the best dive areas in the world, in large part due to its beautifully clear waters and abundance of coral reefs. The islands in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand are some of the most popular spots for divers and tourists alike today. However, their increasing popularity also mean they’re at greater risk for destruction and pollution.

South Pacific

Home to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the largest and most diverse coral reef ecosystem in the world, and other island paradises like Fiji, it’s no surprise that the South Pacific is another region offering volunteers an abundance of marine conservation options. Climate change, pollution, and industrialization are some of the biggest challenges facing this region.

Central/South America

With the world-renowned Galapagos Islands located here, there is much work to be done to help protect and preserve some of the planet’s rare and endangered species. Costa Rica is one of the most important places in the world for sea turtles, making it another popular destination for marine conservation in this region.

Marine Conservation Institute: If you’re unsure about what exactly marine conservation is, or why it’s important, this is a great place to start. The Marine Conservation Institute provides all kinds of useful information about the subject. The website also includes maps, statistics, and other interesting facts.

The World Wildlife Foundation provides in depth information on our oceans, coasts, coral reefs and all sea creatures.

The Nature Conservancy is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and conserving both lands and waters worldwide. They work on a variety of issues and run conservation projects all over the world. Their website is a great resource to learn more about marine conservation and why it’s both necessary and crucial to the overall health of the planet.

Contributed by Allison Burney

Showing 87 Programs

Madagascar

International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ
Join Marine Conservation volunteer projects with IVHQ in Madagascar. Living on the island of Nosy Komba, you'll be working al...

Vietnam

Volunteering Solutions
One of our most chosen and highly recommended category of volunteer programs abroad, the wildlife and conservation projects o...

Fiji

Global Vision International (GVI)
Join GVI in some of the most breath-taking locations around the globe and volunteer on various critical marine conservation p...

Thailand

Volunteering Journeys
How about an alternative winter, spring or summer break that gives you life's best moments but also gives you an opportunity...

Sri Lanka

Plan My Gap Year
PMGY offers 1-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in the lovely coastal town of Ambalangoda in Sri Lanka. Volunteers g...

Costa Rica

Frontier
Located in Central America, Costa Rica is nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean and is home to over 500,000...

Grenada

Caribbean Reef Buddy
Our focus is to help preserve and protect the beautiful coral reefs surrounding the island. Our program is unique in design,...

Costa Rica

GapForce
Based on the stunning Pacific coast and led by our in-country staff, the Gapforce Costa Rica Marine Adventure is fully packed...

Fiji

Frontier
The Fijian archipelago lies in the achingly blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Frontier volunteers on the Fiji Marine Conserva...

Belize

Xtreme Gap Year
Imagine living on a tropical island, free diving every day helping conservation efforts on the world's 2nd biggest barrier re...

Peru

ISA Internships & Service-Learning
Lima, the capital of Peru, is located on the west coast of the Pacific along the Rímac River. Lima is a large, international...

Seychelles

Wildlife ACT
For an unique experience which allows you to give something back by supporting a dedicated conservation research & volunteer...

Costa Rica

ISV (International Student Volunteers)
Costa Rica is filled with a colourful array of animals, white beaches, lush rainforests, rivers, volcanoes and smiling commun...

Madagascar

Blue Ventures
Join the team of Blue Ventures surveying the rich coral reefs of the Indian Ocean in Madagascar. We offer volunteers from aro...

Bahamas

GapForce
In the teaming waters around Andros island Gapforce groups work with the Bahamas National Trust to survey the Island’s valuab...