GVI: Marine Conservation Volunteering

Video and Photos

About

GVI offers a variety of marine conservation volunteering programs. You could travel to Fiji, Seychelles, Mexico,or Thailand and actively participate in coral reef research expeditions, sea turtle protection and nesting programs, plastic pollution and beach clean-up efforts, or identify and survey indigenous sea life.

These programs offer a way to receive professional dive training and research qualifications, and improve your technical marine conservation skills, while also supporting local community projects to achieve their sustainable objectives.

Highlights
  • Travel to a different part of the world, immerse in the culture and experience another way of life.
  • Learn conservation skills to improve your CV and increase your future employment opportunities in the marine industry.
  • Support the preservation of local biodiversity, contributing to reach sustainable objectives.
  • Better understand native species, surrounded by their immediate environments.
  • Dive, snorkel, and swim in some of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse oceans.

GVI global programs are open!

We're thrilled to announce that nine of our global locations are now open, including Greece, Thailand, Nepal, Seychelles, South Africa, Costa Rica and Mexico. We're also taking bookings for our Thailand, Chiang Mai, Lao and Peru locations for 2021. Stay tuned for more locations coming your way soon, including a new location addition in the Canary Islands.

Questions & Answers

Hi Berni, Each marine conservation project has different levels of dive qualification requirements. You will need to start by being PADI certified. These include; PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Divemaster, Instructor, and Rescue Diver. Please note that the project you choose will determine which PADI divers qualification is required. To conduct the coral reef surveys on a project, you will...

You have to be 18 to do many of the GVI programmes. I was 17 when I did it however, they may have changed the age restriction since then. There are under 18 programmes available so best thing to do is check out the GVI website :)

Reviews

9.42 Rating
based on 19 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 8.9
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 8 of 19
Default avatar
Eugen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The experience that has improved my life sustainably!

Translation: Hello my name is Eugen!

I come from Germany and participated in the GVI nature conservation project. In detail it was the marine and coastal protection program in Pang Nga, Thailand. It was my first experience in the field of volunteering and I am very happy to have experienced it with the organization GVI. You have been given extensive instruction and I have participated in a variety of different activities.

I learned a lot about sustainability and how important it is to protect our planet.

We supported turtle breeding at the Thai Marine Base, recorded butterflies and birds in the wild, examined corals while snorkeling and planted seedlings of mangrove trees in the swamp.

I only participated for two weeks and therefore got a little insight into the work of GVI but can recommend the organization without any restrictions. The direct influence on the surrounding area, for example in the village of Baan Nam Krem where I worked, impressed me!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Prepare for a down-to-earth accommodation if you are open-minded and love nature you will get your money's worth!
Default avatar
Tony
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Phang Nga - surpasses expectations

I’ve always been interested in conservation, but thought I’d never have the time to really explore what was available. Recently one opportunity arose, so I started to plan. One of the first websites I looked at was GVI. They have many many hubs around the world with a diverse range of projects. I was interested in working with turtles. After several informative and guidance emails and chats, it was clear that the time of year and my dates gave me 2x locations to look deeper into. I struggled to get the correct dates and thought another opportunity would pass me by. However looking at other sites convinced me further that GVI was the right one to go for. I changed my dates based on my research and the enthusiasm and support I was given from the GVI team. After spending 2 weeks in Phang Nga, Thailand on the conservation project, I can easily say this experience has surpassed all of my expectations. The projects have been very informative and diverse. I was lucky to go on the islands project which provided even more diverse countryside and community involvement. The fellow volunteers come from many countries and are all friendly, helpful and fun to be with, the age ranges went from 18 to 50 during my time, me being at the top end! Weekends off enabled visits with some volunteers to other Thai holiday locations to take in more of the country. My only regret is that I only have had 2 weeks here, I could easily spend 4 to really feel I’d had the fullest experience possible. I achieved my goal of working with turtles from 2 weeks old to many years, but so much more besides. Thank you so much GVI Thailand, I have no doubt my daughter will be with you when she is old enough, and she will have my whole hearted blessing!!

Tony

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would have come out for longer, there is so much to take in that even 2 weeks is only just enough!!
Read my full story
Default avatar
Elena
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Made the best experience in my life

At first, I was overwhelmed when I came to the marine conservation project of GVI in Phang nga. It was my first time that I travelled alone for a long time, and here we go.
I met so many people from all over the world who all had the same goal in mind - making a difference. We spent so much time together and became really close. When you constantly hang out together for two months you cannot believe that you will be so far away from each other. To be honest, it felt like a family.
I‘ve loved the idea of the marine conservation project. Every day was different. We caught butterflies to identify them, we identified birds. We were cleaning our beaches and seriously your mind changes when you see all the trash at the beach. (and when I say all the trash, I mean everything. There was nothing we didn’t find.)
My favourite things to do during my time here was teaching children about conservation things. You don’t know how smart the children are it’s ridiculous! We also went to the Navy Base twice in a week to clean the turtles and their tanks. There were so many tourists you could talk to. They have so many question about that and it’s such a good feeling to clarify them about our work.
You see, there are so many things you can do here. You get to know yourself better, you become more self confident. Sometimes, it’s exhausting and I would lie if I wouldn’t say that you don’t sweat. But it’s nothing in comparison you do for that.
And finally, there is one thing I will never forget and this is the big difference I made during my time in Thailand. I want to maintain all those things when I come back.
Thank you so much for the unforgettable experience, it was amazing.

Default avatar
Tasha
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Skeptical? Just do it!

Skeptical about whether you should do the GVI Thailand marine conservation program or not? I'd say just do it, dive in and see what you can learn and gain from the experience. I had no idea what to expect going into it, but it was definitely worth it. Once you're out past your comfort zone, it becomes so much easier to open up and connect with people from all around the world, and really emerge yourself in the culture around you.
It's a great program to do as you really experience what its like to live in another country, away from tourists and mainstream activities + sightseeing which never show you what it's really like to live in a place so unique like Thailand. Eating home cooked Thai food, and visiting islands barely any tourists have stepped foot on is what really makes the experience amazing.
Spending 4 weeks in Thailand was a good amount of time to see and experience a little bit of everything in the area - definitely recommend !

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
When you first arrive, and everyone already has friendships formed, it becomes really scary for you coming into that. To overcome it, you just have to be brave, and start opening up and talking to new people. In the end, you make some awesome friendships.
Default avatar
Pauline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Absolutely amazing project!

I‘ve been participating in this project for two months and I enjoyed every single day! The island where the project is located is very small but a real paradise. The dive sites around it are very beautiful as well; during the project you will have plenty of time to see how great they are because there is at least one dive per day for everybody!. I‘m very glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of the GVI community and the great important work they are doing. And I’m especially grateful for all the amazing people I met there and who made my experience a very funny, unique and unforgettable one. Sometimes, it can be a long day on base but the knowing that you are actually making a difference is worth every effort!
I can only recommend this project to everybody who likes to dive (or is interested to learn it as I did) and want’s to save the world (or at least a very beautiful part of it😉)

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The diversity of life in the coral reef was stunning! I saw sharks, sea snakes, turtles etc.
Some local volunteers showed us how to make coconut-milk by ourselves, that was pretty cool!
Default avatar
Caterina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Daydreaming in Seychelles

Hello everyone! I am Caterina and I have just returned from one of the most beautiful experiences of my life! GVI Marine Conservation Expedition in the Seychelles!
I am Italian and I am studying biology in Milan, I am very interested in the marine world and all the animals and corals that live there, I would like to study marine biology and graduate soon to be able to contribute to the research and protection of this fantastic underwater world!
I found this project while looking for a way to spend my summer in close contact with the ocean and what could be better than a month in the Seychelles as Coral reef researcher !?
The day at the camp is long and tiring, but the dives in the reef and the breathtaking beaches are what you have left most from this experience! The staff is always available to help you and is very prepared in all fields!
I am sure that this experience will help me in the future to find my place in the world of marine biology but it is also thanks to this project that I met so many fantastic people from all over the world with whom I built a special bond that I know will not end

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
experience this project to the fullest, get involved and not be stingy with emotions, it will be unforgettable
Default avatar
Flavia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a time of my life!

I absolutely loved being part of the Marine Conservation volunteering program at gvi Phan nga this year!
I was truly impressed by the excellent organisation : GVI has closely supported me since the very beginning helping me making my initial choice up to the departure and after the end of then programme .
Overall, I found the gvi team really helpful, welcoming, and most of all , truly passionate about their work with local communities. During my time in Thailand, I was also impressed with their professionalism: all volunteers were closely protected and looked after at all times.
What made my trip so enjoyable was also probably the great variety of activities offered which allowed us to make an impact on the local community through effective projects work whilst also experiencing the local culture .Thanks to the program, I also had the opportunity to further explore my passion for animals and biology and understand more about what I want to study In the future. I can now definitely say that I have grown as a result of this experience. Not only have I learnt a lot about myself but also from the incredible people around me; being surrounded by volunteers of different nationalities , passionate staff members and welcoming local people truly opened my mind and inspired me to always aim to grow further as person.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Definitely to embark on this journey with and open mind and growth mindset! I can guarantee this way you not only will enjoy the trip much more but also experience the program to its fullest!
Default avatar
Philippa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible

Wow! I had always expected great things from traveling to Fiji, but this GVI experience exceeded all expectations. The living conditions were basic, but for the remoteness of the island they were satisfactory and all added to the experience. Days were filled with activities both in and out of water, being in the water at least twice a day keeping one very busy and allowing many interactions with the marine life. Opportunities to go and teach in schools as well as do community work were also present for those who wanted to experience further the Fijian culture. Having a strong sense of community both with fellow vols, staff and villages in the three months I was there truly made Caqalai my second home, along with it’s beautiful scenery and tranquil environment. I could not recommend GVI Caqalai highly enough to anyone else thinking of going, my best advice would be to take the leap there and get stuck in, enjoy every moment because before you know it you’re leaving the island for the last time.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don’t wait for anybody else, if you want to go, go! You will meet amazing people out there and have an awesome time! Once there throw yourself in to the work and the culture, make every moment count