Marine Conservationist and Dive Training

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Coordinator | Ben
Coordinator | Ben
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Support a dedicated team in vital marine conservation work - especially interesting as this awareness has just recently started to come up in Thailand!
Learn to dive in a magical destination - the underwater biodiversity is incredible!
Get an all-around approach to this topic: get the theoretical background, get active underwater and on land, conduct surveys, collect data and leave as an expert!
Professional dive equipment, stay in volunteer house, breakfast and dinner inclusive - we try to make it as easy as possible for you with regards to organisational aspects
Incredible number of highly knowledgeable partners worldwide supporting a big range of different projects (e.g. universities, local authorities, etc.)
Unique opportunity on more than 25 sites of Thailands beautiful island Koh Tao: learn to dive, conduct underwater surveys, work with a determined team, become an expert! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

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.

Topics we will cover during a full 8 weeks participation will be:

  • RAID Dive training to become an Open Water and Advanced Open Water diver in your first week, then you are ready to dive!
  • Introduction to coral ecology and invertebrate ecology
  • Introduction to fish ecology advanced survey methods
  • Reef monitoring and coral restoration course
  • Introduction to ecological studies
  • Behavioural ecology
  • Data collection
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: 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 community etc. Also there is the possibility to do fun dives on the weekend!

Water Sports


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

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?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Koh Samui Airport (USM) in Koh Samui. We assist you to find cheap flights to Thailand.
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.
If you are intending to volunteer in Thailand you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Thailand.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

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

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
4 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks
9 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$792 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Gapforce will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
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 (85%)
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.

Why book with Volunteer World

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We refund your fees if Gapforce cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Gapforce.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

Marine Conservationist and Dive Training

Unique opportunity on more than 25 sites of Thailands beautiful island Koh Tao: learn to dive, conduct underwater surveys, work with a determined team, become an expert!


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