from 3,395€

Perfect 4.6rating (17)

Coral Restoration and Marine Conservation

4 - 12 weeks  ·  Age 18 - 50+

rating  Perfect 4.6  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Below average response rate


  • Become an experienced and qualified diver – no prior diving experience required!
  • Gain a thorough, in-depth knowledge and understanding of reef ecology and conservation
  • Work on several underwater research, monitoring and marine conservation projects
  • Enjoy island life on one of Thailand’s most popular backpacker hangouts!
  • Become a fully qualified Divemaster (12-week program only)

Especially suitable

Age 18+

About the program

Head out to Thailand and gain internationally recognised scuba diving qualifications whilst helping to protect Koh Tao’s abundant and diverse coral reefs!

Coral reefs cover just 1% of the ocean`s surface, yet are home to over a quarter of all marine species. Conducting underwater research around the island is essential to understand the effects both global and local threats may be having on reef organisms in order to help minimise and manage them in ...

About the program

Coral reefs cover just 1% of the ocean`s surface, yet are home to over a quarter of all marine species. Conducting underwater research around the island is essential to understand the effects both global and local threats may be having on reef organisms in order to help minimise and manage them in Koh Tao`s reefs, as well as contribute solutions to more globalised threats to reefs in other parts of the world. Threats are e.g.  growing industries, pollution, run-off, sedimentation and negative impacts of tourism.

With over 25 dive sites surrounding this tropical island and crystal clear waters it includes a variety of reef types from shallow walls carpeted with corals to deep submerged pinnacles home to dense schools and large predators. This setting provides a number of study systems to investigate a diverse range of topics surrounding marine ecology and conservation. In addition to the diversity of ecosystems, calm conditions of the water with minimal currents and visibility often reaching over 30 m allows to become more intimate with the marine organisms. The ability to get close with a minimal disturbance often benefits when trying to identify specific features and for conduction research.

With your participation in this program we can get to know the situation in Koh Tao better via scientifically conducted research, make recommendations for actions and implement them in active conservation work. This all helps us understand and improve the future for corals, reefs and whole ecosystems.


Dive Training

Your program begins with RAID Open Water & Advanced Open Water diver courses and certifications. These entry level certifications consist of both confined and open water training and allow you to grasp the basic principles of scuba diving as well as navigation, buoyancy control and search & recovery practice. For those on the 8- and 12-week courses, you will also complete your Advanced First Aid & oxygen provider and Rescue Diver training equipping you with crucial lifesaving skills and knowledge in how to prevent and mange problems in the water. Those on the 12-week course will achieve their professional Divemaster training as well as Nitrox and Deep 40 training. 

Marine Ecology & Conservation Training

Running alongside your dive training is our comprehensive science training program where you will develop the necessary skills needed to identify key ecological components of tropical coral reef systems, and how to monitor and manage these elements. You’ll be taught survey methods and conduct vital data collection to help monitor and conserve the biodiversity and overall health of the reef and marine life it supports. All classroom and underwater sessions are conducted by highly qualified and experienced staff who specialise in marine biology/ecology and have an extensive knowledge of Koh Tao’s reefs.

Surveys & Project Work

Throughout your time in the island, you will actively participate in a variety of long-term monitoring and research projects, gathering essential data from the reefs of Koh Tao. Activities include contributing to identifying key factors associated with reef ecosystem health as well as monitoring trends in factors over time which ultimately provides vital information needed to inform effective management strategies. You will also participate in conservation initiatives, restoring the reefs of Koh Tao and the diverse and abundant marine life these reefs support, as well as getting involved with some important ecological research as you explore the complex and vital world of Crown of Thorns, Grouper and Pelagic fish. 

Divemaster Training (12-weeks only)

The 4-week Divemaster training program is your first step into the world of professional dive qualifications. Building on the experience you have gained over the past 8-weeks, the Divemaster course is the first level of professional SCUBA diver training, creating both confident and experienced divers that are then able to work in the diving industry across the globe. Once qualified as a Divemaster, you will be able to plan, conduct and lead dives, transforming your hobby into a possible new career!

Projects you can get active in are as follows:

  • Reef monitoring. Monitoring trends in the abundance and diversity of benthic substrates, invertebrate populations and reef fish populations at a selection of coral reef sites.
  • Pelagic fish population monitoring. Monitoring trends in the abundance and diversity of higher trophic level pelagic species and other predators that are at an increased risk from high (and potentially poorly regulated) fishing pressures. 
  • Coral Watch. Citizen science project aimed at gathering data and monitoring trends on the bleaching status of corals.
  • Crown of Thorns Research. Gathering data on the abundance, size classes, habitat preference, and dietary preference of Crown of Thorns on reefs holding potential outbreak populations.
  • Coral Nurseries. Transplanting coral fragments found in sandy patches which would otherwise have a low probability of survival to promote survival and growth of new colonies. Also involves data collection on growth rates and changes in fragment condition.
  • Water quality. Monitoring trends in abiotic factors e.g. water temperature, salinity, pH, turbidity, nutrient levels, dissolved oxygen content etc.
  • Habitat preferences modelling. Identifying the habitat preferences of marine organisms including commercially harvested sea cucumbers with unknown population trends, some of which are classified as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.
  • Behavioural studies. Used to assess the habituation of marine organisms to divers.
  • Reef trash removal and discarded net salvage dives.
  • Underwater mooring line establishment and maintenance.
  • Beach clean ups
  • Fun Dives!

Typical day

Your work as a Marine Conservation volunteer will take place on 5 days a week from Mondays to Fridays with the weekend off.
Typically your schedule each day will look like this:

07:30 - 08:00: Breakfast
08:15 - 10:15: Presentation in the classroom to get all theoretical knowledge needed
10:15 - 10:45: ...

Typical day

Your work as a Marine Conservation volunteer will take place on 5 days a week from Mondays to Fridays with the weekend off.
Typically your schedule each day will look like this:

07:30 - 08:00: Breakfast
08:15 - 10:15: Presentation in the classroom to get all theoretical knowledge needed
10:15 - 10:45: Short break to collect your lunch 
10:45 - 11:30: Preparation of dive equipment and dive slates for the practical part
11:30: Departure via taxi to the pier
11:45 - 16:00: Two dives connected to the theoretical lessons from the morning. Aims of the dives can be e.g. to explore practically, apply knowledge and conduct surveys, maintain coral nurseries, collect data, etc.
16:00 - 17:00: Debrief and data entry
20:00: Dinner

The content of your work will have theoretical parts to help you understand issues and relevant knowledge in the field of Marine Conservation as well professional approaches to conduct scientific work underwater. The other part of your work will be to put everything you have learned into practice to actually "DO" something to protect marine wildlife underwater and on land.

Various topics will be covered like:

  • Relevant subjects with regards to Marine Conservation and Marine Ecology
  • Conducting surveys scientifically as well as data collection
  • Actual planning, collecting and transfering of data
  • Maintenance of Coral Nurseries
  • Analysis of water quality
  • Studies with regards to animal behaviour and counts
  • Beach Clean Ups
  • etc.

As part of your placement as a volunteer you will get your RAID Open Water and Advanced Open Water diving certificate you can use worldwide afterwards to go diving again!

Free-time activities

There is plenty to do in Koh Tao. You can always stay home and relax or join the team. Besides that you might optionally want to try snorkelling, hiking, cooking classes, beach volleyball, paddle boarding, kite surfing, trapeze, climbing, crazy golf, beachside BBQs, cinema, getting to know the local ...

Free-time activities

There is plenty to do in Koh Tao. You can always stay home and relax or join the team. Besides that you might optionally want to try snorkelling, hiking, cooking classes, beach volleyball, paddle boarding, kite surfing, trapeze, climbing, crazy golf, beachside BBQs, cinema, getting to know the local community etc. Also there is the possibility to do fun dives on the weekend!



Minimum Age: 18 years

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.

Language Skills

You need to speak English (basic level)

Nationality Restrictions

No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.

Other Skills

An interest in Marine Conservation, hands-on-mentality to get active in this area, open to new people and cultures, English and just a smile on your face - our team is very welcoming and will make you be part of it easily.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:30 - 17:00

What's Included

What's Included

Services by Gapforce


•   Pre-departure briefing & support 

•   Group arrival and departure transfer from Koh Samui airport 

•   Local project staff  

•   All accommodation for the duration of the course  

•   Breakfast & dinner (Monday – Friday) 

•   Dive and conservation training listed in the itinerary 

   Career Night  

•   24/7 emergency back-up  

•   Financial bonding  

•   Dive Equipment for program: BCD, wetsuit, fins, weights and weight-belts, mask, snorkel, dive computer for RAID courses

Not included:

•   Flights 
•   Travel Insurance (please get one including diving up to 30 m)
•   Visa & Vaccinations 
•   Spending Money 
•   Lunches and weekend meals
•   Additional safety dive equipment for "fun dives" you can do outside of the program

Airport Pickup at Koh Samui Airport

You are responsible for booking your own transport to and from the meeting point at Ko Samui Airport. 
Here is how to get there: 

  • Arrival Itinerary: Book your flight into BKK International Airport (Bangkok) Book your transfer flight to Samui International Airport (Ko Samui) to arrive before 11:30am.  You will be collected upon arrival to Samui International Airport (Ko Samui) at 12pm & transferred as a group to Koh Tao via bus & ferry.  
  • Departure Itinerary: You will be transferred back to Samui International Airport(Ko Samui).  Please book your flight for after 12pm.  Non-stop services from Ko Samui to Bangkok are approx. 1 h and 15 min.  Please plan your departure flights home from Bangkok accordingly


You will be staying at a local guesthouse with other members of your group. This is less than a 10 min walk to the Dive Shop, where classes will be conducted daily, and a 2 minute walk to the restaurant where breakfast and dinner are provided Monday – Friday. Accommodations are dorm-style with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, en-suite bathrooms & private lockers.

Food & Beverages

You will be provided with breakfast and dinner from Mondays to Fridays.

Breakfast: Selection from options including fruit, muesli and jogurt, breakfast pancakes, eggs, toast, butter, spreads plus tea/coffee/soft drink
Dinner: Select anything from the menu. Includes a softdrink

Internet Access

Good access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Koh Samui Airport (USM) in Koh Samui. We assist you to find cheap flights to Thailand. FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS

Travel Insurance

Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Thailand provides security and is a plus to have. GET A QUOTE


If you are intending to volunteer in Thailand you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Thailand. VACCINE CHECKER

Details on arrival

The program runs throughout the year but with 4 specific times you can join for a time of either 4, 8 or 12 weeks. Typically we start in January, March, July and October. 

We need you to book your flights to and from Samui International Airport (Ko Samui) via BKK International Airport (Bangkok). We then have a fixed time for a group transfer from Samui International Airport via bus and ferry to bring you to the program (once a day, currently at 12 pm for arrival) and back (currently at 11:30 am for departure) at the end.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Program fees

4 weeks (min. stay) 3,395€
8 weeks 5,092€
12 weeks (max. stay) 7,032€
Average fees 717€/week

Program fees

717€ per week 4 - 12 weeks Age 18 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal



4 - 12 weeks


The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.

Final Payment

Your final payment will be agreed with Gapforce during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Meet your organization


Perfect 4.6 rating (17 reviews)

Non-profit - founded in 1989

Verified by Volunteer World

  Below average response rate

Coordinated by


Spoken languages: English

About the project

Gapforce runs volunteering projects in many areas, such as marine & wildlife conservation, child care, community development & animal welfare.

Meet your organization

At Gapforce, we are proud to offer unrivalled experience in structured gap year programs, volunteer projects and extreme expeditions. Founded in 1989, the Gapforce family takes great pride in organising unique, exciting gap year and overseas volunteer projects that enable young people to become global citizens and make a real impact on the world.

What Makes Us Different

There are a number of organisations that offer programs abroad, and here’s what sets us apart. We feel these are important to consider when making such an important decision and starting your adventure.

  • Our overseas gap year projects are run by UK-trained leaders. Trained from the top down, our leaders are prepared and knowledgeable on our destinations.
  • Our UK-trained leaders are well-researched and our local programs are vetted for sustainability and longevity.
  • Supported and safe.


Some of the biggest adventure names have been involved in our programs.

  • Bruce Parry (BBC TV "The Tribe" & "Amazon") was a Gapforce Expedition Leader for over 6 years.
  • Ben Fogle (TV Presenter) filmed "Extreme Dreams" reality TV series on our projects.
  • Jack Osborne (MTV "The Osborne’s") filmed "Adrenalin Junkie" on our programs. In addition we have had the BritishRoyal Family member and over 15,000 student participants.

Safety is the number 1 priority on all Gapforce programs. Our programs are basic, potentially hazardous and should not be considered a conventional holiday, however with over twenty years’ experience we aim to reduce your level of risk compared to independent travel.

To guide us, we have been independently inspected to BSI8848 “Specifications for visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the UK and now self regulate. We are also members of YearOut Group, who set guidelines and policy for UK Gap providers, Marcus was Chair for 7 years of the Membership and Safety Committee overseeing members safety.We are a Professional Association of Dive Instructors Education Centre and aDuke of Edinburgh Award Centre.

17 reviews · rating4.6

Sarah rating5

2020 at South American Experience

I was really scared going into it because I’ve never traveled alone before but I had nothing to worry about. Everyone I met was fantastic. They were down to earth, nice, and so much fun. I can not describe how beautiful Peru and Ecuador are, I’ve never been anywhere like it. There are definitely ...
Christian rating5

2020 at South American Experience

I had a great time on the South American Experience program. I only did the 4-weeks, but I really enjoyed everything in the program. I’d have to say my favorite activity was the Salkantay trek to Macchu Pichu, despite it getting hard at times, it was a great experience and very rewarding once you ...
Alexander Lorenz rating4.8

2020 at South American Experience

It was a lot of fun, great combination of travelling and volunteering. Very nice atmosphere in the travel group and great leader. A lot of fun activities. You see a lot of each country and get a great feeling for every place. Definitely ...
Zara rating4.8

2020 at South American Experience

I did this trip just before everything locked down and I can safely say this was the best trip of my life. The treks have amazing views and are hard enough to make seeing machu picchu rewarding but not too tough for those who want an easier walk! The itinerary for this trip is completely action ...
As a bit of a nature freak who dreamed of traveling to Costa Rica since I was about 5 years old, this program seemed too good to be true. Based in Quepos, not 15 minutes from the world famous Manuel Antonio national park, prepare to be surrounded by a cornucopia of exotic animals ranging from ...
Davies rating4.4

2017 at Orang-Utan Protection

I felt it was a life-changing experience. I had a great 6 weeks living in the jungle, learning many useful skills. I met some great people and made life-long friends. The local people were also amazing as they were so hospitable and ...


Asia > South East Asia > Thailand > Koh Tao

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