Sharks swimming in Fiji while volunteers conduct research on marine conservation.

Our Best Marine Conservation Volunteer Programs in 2023

Protect precious marine life with our Conservation Projects abroad

By Amelia McKinlay | 07th June, 2019
Updated on 01st November, 2023

What are the best marine conservation volunteer programs?

The ocean is the life source of our planet. It provides the oxygen we breath. It regulates our climate and weather patterns. It provides food, medicine, transportation and recreation. Without the ocean, we simply wouldn't exist!

Although the oceans provide numerous benefits to our planet, currently they are under threat. Plastic pollution, overfishing and climate change are compromising the health of our oceans. As these threats are so diverse and complex, it can be hard to know how you can combat these issues. However, we've partnered with marine conservation programs around the world so you can become an integral part of protecting our oceans. Here are the best Marine Conservation Volunteer Programs:

Read on below to discover how you can make a difference.

Shark Conservation volunteers complete a beach clean up during their project in Fiji

Support Coral Reefs in Thailand

Want to get PADI certified and save the ocean at the same time? Travel to the Andaman Sea and join our Marine Conservation Program in Thailand on the beautiful beaches of Koh Tao! 

In your first week as a marine conservation volunteer in Thailand you'll learn how to scuba dive and obtain your PADI Open Water Diver certificate. After you get your certificate, you’ll be involved in marine surveys and coral propagation activities that promote the health of our oceans. Coral propagation is a cost effective way to breed corals and restore reefs, but more importantly, it helps alleviate the demand placed on reefs to preserve endangered species.

Out of the water, you’ll participate in beach clean-ups along the coastline, as litter and trash can be extremely harmful to marine wildlife. You’ll raise awareness about the importance of protecting our oceans in the local community and plant mangroves along the coastline. Mangroves protect coasts from erosion and absorb a large amount of carbon from the atmosphere. This Marine Conservation Program is a great way to get your hands dirty. It’s also a start towards better health for our oceans.

Learn more about our Marine Conservation Projects in Thailand:

Projects Abroad volunteers clear fishing nets from the coral reefs during their Conservation Project in Thailand

Preserve Sharks in Fiji

Sharks are crucial to the health of our marine environment. If you’re interested in shark conservation volunteer work, this is the project for you! In Fiji, you’ll work alongside the WWF and Project AWARE to feed, identify, and tag sharks.

"It was insane that our first experience as newly certified divers would be shared with more than 30 bull sharks. I was amazed with all the work done through the shark dive. The team were amazing and made sure everyone felt safe and secure throughout the dive. I am itching to go back and experience it all again." -Nina, Shark Conservation High School Special in Fiji

If you’re an adventurer at heart with a passion for the environment, this marine conservation program will expose you to cutting edge shark research. Our marine conservation project in Fiji is exceptionally important as it could help keep sharks off the critically endangered species list. After you receive your PADI Open Water certification, you’ll help staff collect data from survey dives, shark tagging and Baited Remote Underwater Videos (BRUVs). Moreover, you’ll help reduce the number of sharks killed by humans each year through raising awareness of the importance of sharks to the ecosystem.

Learn more about our Marine Conservation Projects in Fiji:

A shark spotted while on a marine dive during the Conservation Project in Fiji

Protect Sea Turtles in Mexico

Where can you live on the beach and help save the ocean by protecting sea turtles? Mexico it is!

On this project, you’ll help protect sea turtles by identifying and relocating turtle nests to a protected area. This ensures the survival of the nests and once the eggs have hatched, you can release the hatchlings and watch them waddle towards freedom! You’ll also take part in biodiversity studies to monitor the presence and condition of local wildlife. This is essential data from which conservation decisions can be made. Furthermore, you’ll have the opportunity to work with crocodiles, aid in beach clean ups, and participate in environmental outreach and education programs. 

"Staying at the turtle camp was a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget! From waking up to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach every morning; to seeing the sun set over the ocean every evening, every second spent there was incredible." -Jennifer, Sea Turtle & Coastal Conservation in Mexico

Learn more about our Sea Turtle Conservation Volunteering in Mexico Flexi Trip.

A baby sea turtle is help by a volunteer while the tanks are being cleaned in Mexico

Conserve Marine Iguanas and Sea Lions in the Galapagos

Channel your inner Charles Darwin and join one of our best marine conservation programs for volunteers in the Galapagos Islands! We’re the only organization to have an official partnership with the Galapagos National Park so you’ll get to experience Ecuador like no other volunteer.

This project will involve monitoring the Galapagos Petrel bird and participating in a marine iguana census. Marine iguanas are the world’s only oceangoing lizards and play an important role in maintaining the balance of the delicate ocean ecosystem. Additionally, you’ll assist in monitoring the local sea lion population. This is important work as it helps us keep track of the rich biodiversity of the island.

Furthermore, you'll protect the ocean by engaging in beach clean-ups to protect the vulnerable marine animal populations from unnecessary dangers and facilitate the restoration of natural habitats. 

Learn more about our Conservation Projects in Ecuador:

A marine iguana lies on a rock on the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador

Saving the ocean shouldn’t feel so hard! We may just be one drop in the ocean, but collectively we make up one great splash and many ripples to come. Join one of our Marine Conservation Programs and start protecting the oceans today!

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