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Diving & Marine Conservation in Thailand

Project Overview
  • Placement location: Near Ao Nang
  • Role: To help conserve the marine environment, conduct research and salvage dives
  • Requirements: None
  • Main Research Focus: Coral reefs
  • Local Environment: Marine and Coastal
  • Accommodation: Volunteer lodge
  • Length of placement: From 1 week
  • Start dates: Flexible

Our Diving & Marine Conservation Project in Thailand takes place along the beautiful Andaman Sea coast near Ao Nang and the surrounding islands. Volunteers receive PADI certified scuba diving courses and take part in dives along the beautiful coral reefs.

Work on this project involves researching and protecting the coral reefs, tropical forests, and coastal areas. You can help with community education, beach and ocean clean-ups, and reforestation work. The diving is some of the best in the world and you'll have the chance to observe a wide variety of marine life, including turtles, rays, harmless reef sharks, and hundreds of species of multi-colored tropical fish.

You do not need previous experience to take part in this project and you will receive training to enable you to fully participate in all the activities, research, and surveys. Volunteers are welcome on a gap year, for university research, a career break, or as worthwhile vacation. This project is perfect for anyone interested in marine biology, environmental issues, preserving our eco-systems, and protecting the planet. You will learn new skills and gain hands-on experience under the supervision of our experienced staff.

Click here to learn 10 Key Facts about Conservation in Thailand

Roles on the Conservation & Environment Project in Thailand

Volunteers on this project can get involved in a wide variety of activities, such as:

  • Reef Check Surveys
  • Dive Against Debris Surveys
  • Ocean Conservancy Data Collection
  • Reforestation Work
  • Community Outreach and Education
  • Beach clean-ups
  • Bio-workshops

A work schedule is established each week so you know what is happening and when. The schedule varies, depending on the time of year, the weather, and the number of volunteers on the project.

Volunteers normally work five days a week, so you will have two days off to relax, travel or get involved in some of the many other activities the area offers. We try and give you the weekends off, but occasionally this may change due to the weather conditions or tide times. It is important to be committed to all work aspects of the project. The work can be physically demanding and the days often start early to avoid the heat of the sun.

Dive Courses in Thailand with Projects Abroad

One of the first things that you will be doing is learning how to scuba dive. We will train you up to PADI Open Water standards, helping you to learn the fundamental theoretical and practical aspects of diving. As a PADI certified diver you can participate fully in the underwater conservation work. Volunteers with an existing dive certification equivalent to the PADI Open Water qualification receive the PADI Advanced course. Volunteers joining us for at least 4 weeks will also receive the Projects Abroad Survey Diver certification card. This is a PADI authorized specialty course which includes full training in underwater survey and research techniques.

Goals of the Conservation & Environment Project in Thailand

Volunteers on the Conservation project during an induction

The main aim of this project is to protect and rehabilitate Thailand’s coral reefs, marine eco-systems, and tropical forests, while helping keep the indigenous fish, animals, and birds that live there from becoming endangered.

Krabi Province has some of the oldest remaining mangrove and lowland forests in Thailand. Coral reefs and mangrove forests are part of the same eco-system. Many of the creatures essential to the coral reef start their life-cycles in mangrove swamps. The continued deforestation of the mangroves and the lowland forests in this area leads to landslides, run off into the ocean, flooding, water shortages, and has an effect on tourism and the economy. Soil erosion from widespread land clearing can send tons of silt downstream. Sediment clouds the water, blocking sunlight, and settles on reefs, suffocating the organisms and destroying the eco-system.

Projects Abroad works to minimize the human impact on both the marine and coastal environments by undertaking important practical and scientific work on the coral reefs and tropical forests and removing harmful waste from the coastline.

Our conservation and survey methods are designed in line with international environmental organizations’ systems and standards. Our data is entered into several online database systems which are used across the world by experts in these fields. Projects Abroad and our partners are working toward the same goals. These include collecting vital data on the health of the reef, marine, and coastal areas and educating the public about the value of marine ecosystems and the current crisis affecting marine life and other indigenous species. We also aim to create a global network of volunteer teams trained in Reef Check's scientific methods who will regularly monitor and report on reef health worldwide.

Mangrove and lowland forests are disappearing more quickly than inland tropical rainforests and, so far, with little public notice. Healthy forests are key to a healthy marine ecology. We work to monitor and replant forests in Krabi Province to prevent further destruction and assist with ongoing reforestation work.

Volunteers on the Conservation project participate in dives

The project’s trash and debris collection and recycling initiatives are conducted in line with Project Aware’s Dive Against Debris Survey and the UNESCO-funded Ocean Conservancy Beach Debris Survey.

In the long term, we hope our work will produce ecologically sound and economically sustainable solutions. We want to stimulate local community action to protect the remaining pristine reefs and rehabilitate damaged reefs and tropical coastal forests worldwide.

You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Thailand Conservation Management Plan.

Accommodation on the Conservation Project in Thailand

Projects Abroad volunteers study the various fish species that can be found off the coast of Krabi, Thailnd

You’ll live in bungalows surrounded by lush mangrove forests, shared with up to 4 other Projects Abroad Conservation volunteers of the same sex. Each bungalow has its own private bathroom. The rooms are cleaned regularly, and have electricity and hot running water.

Meals are provided in a communal restaurant area. On days when you are out diving all day or working at a reforestation site for example, lunch will be provided on the boat, at the work site, or a packed lunch may be organized for you.

The volunteer accommodation is located in Ao Nammao just south of Ao Nang, about ten minutes’ drive from the center of town. We provide transportation to take volunteers to-and-from the work sites. To get into the town center in your free time it is easy to hire a tuk tuk or catch the local bus.

This project is available for less than a month if you don't have time to join us for a month or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for shorter durations for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone participating for a longer period.

Volunteers joining the Conservation Project for less than a month should arrive in Krabi on a Saturday or Sunday. You will receive one dive course and your role in some of the diving activities after completing the course may be limited to observation and assisting the longer term volunteers. It is important to remember that the amount of diving available over a short period can be affected by bad weather.

Volunteer Profile Projects Abroad volunteer James Oneto shares his story from the Conservation project in Thailand
James Oneto
My time in Thailand make me realize it’s now time to change. I’ve changed as a person but now it’s time to change our own lives. I am not saying that we all drive around small electric cars but it isn’t difficult to put trash in a bin and a glass bottle to a recycling center. Its takes 5 to 6 cigarettes butts to kill a turtle. Bin them safely. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Read more...

For more details on this project, see our Additional Project Info and Monthly Updates sections. 

If you are a high school student and first-time traveler you may want to consider our High School Special programs in Thailand.

Additional Project Info Monthly Updates Management Plan, Data & Reports

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