Great Barrier Reef Marine Conservation

Overview Requirements What's included Dates & Fees Reviews
Non-profit
·
founded in 2011
Tracy
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Coordinator | Tracy
Coordinator | Tracy

Highlights

Be trained to be a volunteer marine biologist surveying & report on the health of the Great Barrier Reef for scientific purposes through diving and snorkelling on tropical islands
Swim with an abundance of sea life including turtles and sharks
Undertake marine debris clean-up activities and directly reduce the threats of marine debris to marine life
Learn to dive in the most amazing place in the world or, if you are certified, complete an Advanced or Rescue course
Spend a night on the deck of a pontoon on the Great Barrier Reef
Learn to dive while helping protect and conserve the world’s biggest coral reef. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

The Project

What an amazing experience! Learn to Dive in Australia's Great Barrier Reef while combining this with some incredible marine conservation activities and you will feel great for contributing to the world’s largest reef.

Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers has joined prominent scuba diving and outer reef operators in Far North Queensland to offer volunteers a unique Marine Conservation program. With a high commitment to environmental protection and sustainability, this diverse dive program falls under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (GBRMPA) powerful monitoring program ‘Eye on the Reef’ and is designed for volunteers interested in scuba diving, marine conservation and spending time on various parts of the reef.

You begin in Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, where you will become a certified scuba diver by completing the a 5 Day PADI Open Water Course. If you are already certified, you will complete your Advanced Open Water Course or Rescue Course, then volunteers embark upon the reef completing several dives. Then back to land where you will undergo a day’s training to become a ‘citizen of science’. Armed with your newly found knowledge of the reef and its inhabitants, you will join the ‘Eye on the Reef’ and ‘Marine Debris Initiative’ programs completing rapid monitoring surveys monitoring coral health and beach clean ups. 

After the dive component, volunteers venture to 1 or 2 tropical islands (depending on your length of stay) and are given the opportunity to snorkel their way through coral reefs while conducting surveys and reef health checks. This occurs in the mornings, then the rest of the day is spent enjoying free time. Island facilities include the resort, restaurant, bar, walking trails, glass bottom boats, kayaking and snorkelling. Alternatively, volunteers can relax with a on the beach and enjoy the island reef experience.

For volunteers undertaking an extra week, 2 days are spent at the turtle rehabilitation centre caring for injured and displaced sea turtles. An educational session on the ecology of marine turtles is given and training takes place on the island. Volunteers participate in a behavioural study of injured and sick turtles and report their findings. Other activities may include assisting with the upkeep of the centre’s facilities.  Then a day is spent marine debris initiative. That’s right! Collecting and sorting through rubbish! Marine debris is a concerning issue in our oceans, with devastating impacts on marine life. Training is provided for all volunteers about the importance of this work and how to undertake data collection and recording of marine debris.

Included is also a night spent on a pontoon on the outer reef where you will conduct diving surveys and sleep under the stars in your own swag.

 

Pre-requisites. The minimum age for this program is 18.

 

It is a dive course requirement that participants can swim 200 metres or snorkel 300 metres and tread water/float for 10 minutes.

 

O2E runs this program for non-certified and certified divers. Certified divers complete their Open Water Certificate and stay 13 nights/12 days (COST $2,940 US), Advanced Open Water Certificate– 11 nights, 10 days (COST $2,845 US) & Rescue Diver Course participants stay 14 nights, 15 days (COST $2,990 US). Extra weeks are $1170 per week.

The Location

Cairns is a regional city in the far north of Queensland. It is a popular travel destination for foreign and local tourists because of its tropical climate and serves as a central point for people wanting to visit the Great Barrier Reef and Far North Queensland. It is also a major port for exporting sugar cane, gold and other metals, minerals and agricultural products from surrounding coastal areas and the Atherton Tableland region. 

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet. Stretching 2300 kilometres, this natural icon is so large it can be seen from outer space. It’s known mostly for its colourful reefs, providing a home for a huge number of fish, plants and animals, including turtles and crocodiles who have been around since prehistoric times and have changed little over time. 

The breathtaking collection of marine creatures includes 600 types of soft and hard corals, 1625 types of fish, 133 varieties of sharks and rays, more than 100 species of jellyfish, 3000 varieties of molluscs, 500 species of worms, and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins. The reef is full of a unique range of ecological communities, habitats and species, all of which make it one of the most complex and intricate natural ecosystems in the world. 

Our Volunteers

Volunteers travel from all over the world to participate in this project due to the highly unique opportunity to conduct ‘citizen science’ activities alongside the local people as they support the effort to conserve the Great barrier reef. You make a difference to this project by contributing to its long-term protection by collecting valuable information about reef health, marine animals and incidents and providing this essential data to the ‘Eye on the Reef’ program. The program’s success depends highly on the monitoring and data collected by marine biologists, marine park rangers, fishermen, reef tour operators, tourists, volunteers and other reef users, and this is your opportunity to join in the effort. The information is compiled in a single data management and reporting system, providing managers and researchers of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) with up-to-date information on reef health status and trends, the distribution of protected and iconic species, and early warnings of environmental impacts. The assessment looks at the marine environment and adjacent coastal zone, examining how natural and heritage values can be protected into the future. 

Conditions Onsite

The accommodation is shared between a Cairns hostel and liveaboards on the reef. The liveaboard accommodation is shared cabins for the first one and camp style on the second overnight.

In Cairns, volunteers stay in sex segregated dorm rooms at a leading international hostel in Cairns.

Training is loads of fun and involves learning or mastering diving skills, learning how to calculate percentages underwater, identify different fish species/Manta Rays and small Reef Sharks underwater, identifying impacts on the coral reef and following instructions underwater, collecting, sorted and categorising marine debris and learning about the challenges the Great Barrier Reef faces.

It’s important to remember that scuba diving poses unique challenges. Common conditions include ear and sinus injuries or a sting or bite from venomous marine life. In addition, serious conditions can occur, such as decompression illness (Pulmonary Embolism) which can occur due to an expansion of gasses with rapid ascent, Oxygen Toxicity which is only a problem for deep divers who go below 135 feet, Nitrogen Narcosis which is the effect of extra nitrogen in the body and malfunctioning equipment.

Volunteers must ensure they are physically fit, are able to learn how to scuba dive, can swim and float, take direction and work within a team.

What’s Included

·       Pre-departure support

·       Project Information Booklet

·       Project orientation

·       Training

·       Field equipment and materials

·       Transfer from the airport to Cairns 

·       Hostel accommodation in Cairns in a dorm (room upgrades available)

·       Accommodation on the Reef

·       Most meals

·       5-day PADI Open Water Dive course OR Advanced Open Water Dive course OR Rescue Dive course

·       3 day/ 2 night liveaboard on the Great Barrier Reef

·       Multiple dives on the Great Barrier Reef

·       2 day trips to a tropical island

·       Outer Reef Overnight camp-style

·       O2E t-shirt

·       24-hour in-country support

·       24-hour O2E emergency phone

·       Certificate of Participation, if requested

 

What’s Not Included

·       Flights

·       Travel insurance

·       Personal spending

·       Visas

·       Dive medical costs (if required)

·       Optional activities

Please Note:

Pricing changes depending upon which dive course volunteers undertake.

$2940 Marine Conservation - Open Water Dive Certificate

$2845 Marine Conservation - Advanced Water Dive Certificate

$2990 Marine Conservation - Rescue Dive Certificate

$1170 Extra week (includes volunteering at the turtle rehabilitation centre and more reef monitoring surveys at a different island).

 

The second instalment of your project fees is due after you paid the deposit on Volunteer World. This is a total of $495 AUD and comes off your balance. The balance is due 90 days prior to travel. For all further information about the fees, please scroll down to the section "Program Fees."



Typical day

After completing the ‘Liveaboard’ dive course (Open Water, Advanced Open Water or Rescue Dive Course), volunteers use their skills as certified divers and snorkelers to conduct a variety of marine conservation activities.  

 For 2 days volunteers are transported to a tropical island where they spend the morning making their contribution to the Great Barrier Reef. The rest of the day is spent enjoying some free time. Island facilities include a resort, restaurant, bar, walking trails, glass bottom tours, kayaking and snorkelling. Alternatively, volunteers can relax with a swim, snorkel, sleep on the beach or sun lounge and really enjoy the island reef experience.

 For volunteers wanting to undertake an extra week, 2 days are spent at a turtle rehabilitation centre caring for injured and displaced sea turtles. An educational session on the ecology of marine turtles is presented and training takes place on the island. Volunteers participate in the daily care of injured or sick turtles including cleaning filters and tanks, preparing food and feeding the turtles. Other activities may include assisting with the upkeep of the centre’s facilities.

 For those staying on, a further 2 days is spent reef monitoring on a different island on the reef and a day is spent completing our marine debris initiative. That’s right! Collecting and sorting through rubbish! Marine debris is a concerning issue in our oceans, with devastating impacts on marine life. Training is provided for all volunteers about the importance of this work and how to undertake data collection and recording of marine debris.

Free-time activities

There is plenty to do in this vibrant part of Australia so take some time out before or after your placement to explore some of the surrounding areas.

Cairns and the surrounding areas have it - dive sites, Fitzroy Island National Park, off road driving, ballooning, canoeing, cruising, scuba-diving, kayaking, sailing, scenic flights, shopping, skydiving, snorkelling, swimming, bush walking, rock climbing, wildlife spotting, markets, hot springs, beaches, lakes/rivers/dams, nightlife/clubs/pubs/casinos, roadside stalls, cellar doors, scenic railway, canopy walk, tea plantation, coffee plantation, wineries, sky high cable car, lava tubes, kayaking, spas and galleries.

Cairns is the best place to soak up the tropical lifestyle. Swim at the Esplanade lagoon, sample local produce at a farmer's market, enjoy free entertainment, shop for a summer wardrobe, visit some caves, National Parks or Falls, or cruise around the marina and check out the night markets. Take a cool dip at a secluded freshwater swimming hole, jump on a bike for a sightseeing tour along the city's network of cycle paths or experience the unique rainforest.

After dark choose a lively bar for drinks, taste local seafood at an award-winning restaurant, party on a dance floor, discover treasures at the markets or watch a local cultural show.

This compact city is easy to get around and has the reef, rainforest and outback on its doorstep. With the Cairns International and Domestic airports only 10 minutes from the Central Business District, Cairns is the ideal entry point for a Tropical North Queensland adventure.

Water Sports
Swimming
Concert/
Music
Sightseeing
Diving/
Snorkling
Shopping/
Souvenirs
Climbing
Hiking
Sports
Yoga/
Meditation

Program Requirements

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 (fluently)
Required Documents
Proof of travel Insurance docs and Proof of tetanus vaccination
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Volunteers must be able to swim and float.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:30 - 14:00

Included Services

Services by Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers

What's included in this project?

    • Pre-departure support
    • Project Information Booklet
    • Project orientation
    • Training
    • Field equipment and materials
    • Transfer from the airport to Cairns 
    • Hostel accommodation in Cairns in a dorm (room upgrades available)
    • Accommodation on the Reef
    • Most meals
    • 5-day PADI Open Water Dive course OR Advanced Open Water Dive course OR Rescue Dive course
    • 3 day/ 2 night liveaboard on the Great Barrier Reef
    • Multiple dives on the Great Barrier Reef
    • 2 day trips to a tropical island
    • Outer Reef Overnight camp-style
    • O2E t-shirt
    • 24-hour in-country support
    • 24-hour O2E emergency phone
    • Certificate of Participation, if requested
What's not included in this project?

    • Flights
    • Travel insurance
    • Reef taxes and levies (approx. $60 for the 3D/2N reef trip and $15/ day on boat)
    • Personal spending
    • Visas
    • Dive medical costs (if required)
    • Optional activities
Accommodation

The accommodation is split between Cairns, a boat on the reef and a pontoon. While on the mainland, volunteers will stay in a hostel in Cairns.

A discounted shuttle is available between the airport and the hostel. 

Youth Hostel
Food & Beverages

Most meals are provided with vegan and vegetarian catered for.

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. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Cairns Airport (CNS) in Cairns. We assist you to find cheap flights to Australia.
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 Australia provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Australia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Australia.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival


Start dates for the full non-certified program are: 28/4/19-11/5/19, 26/5/19-8/6/19, 23/6/19-6/7/19, 28/7/19-10/8/19, 25/8/19-7/9/19, 29/9/19-12/10/19, 24/11/19-7/12/19, 29/12/19-11/1/20, 26/1/20-8/2/20, 23/2/20-7/3/20, 29/3/20-11/4/20, 26/4/20-9/5/20, 24/5/20-6/6/20, 28/6/20-11/7/20, 26/7/20-8/8/20, 30/8/20-12/9/20, 27/9/20-10/10/20, 25/10/20-7/11/20, 29/11/20-12/12/20, 27/12/20-9/1/21, 24/1/21-6/2/21.

Start dates for the Advanced Dive Certificate: 30/4/19-11/5/19, 28/5/19-8/6/19, 25/6/19-6/7/19, 30/7/19-10/8/19, 27/8/19-7/9/19, 1/10/19-12/10/19, 26/11/19-7/12/19, 31/12/19-11/1/20, 28/1/20-8/2/20, 25/2/20-7/3/20, 31/3/20-11/4/20, 28/4/20-9/5/20, 26/5/20-6/6/20, 30/6/20-11/7/20, 28/7/20-8/8/20, 1/9/20-12/9/20, 29/9/20-10/10/20, 27/10/20-7/11/20, 1/12/20-12/12/20, 29/12/20-9/1/21, 26/1/21-6/2/21.

Start dates for the Advanced Dive Certificate: 27/4/19-11/5/19, 25/5/19-8/6/19, 22/6/19-6/7/19, 27/7/19-10/8/19, 24/8/19-7/9/19, 28/9/19-12/10/19, 23/11/19-7/12/19, 28/12/19-11/1/20, 25/1/20-8/2/20, 22/2/20-7/3/20, 28/3/20-11/4/20, 25/4/20-9/5/20, 23/5/20-6/6/20, 27/6/20-11/7/20, 25/7/20-8/8/20, 29/8/20-12/9/20, 26/9/20-10/10/20, 24/10/20-7/11/20, 28/11/20-12/12/20, 26/12/20-9/1/21, 23/1/21-6/2/21.

There are some free days throughout the program. 

To get there, Fly or take a train or bus to Cairns, Australia.

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
2 - 5 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
10 days (min. stay)
$ 2,845
12 days
$ 2,940
13 days
$ 2,990
34 days (max. stay)
$ 6,890
Average fees
$ 1,705 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers 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 Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or cash at arrival at the project site.

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