White Shark Projects is a world leading organisation focusing on the great white shark. Founded in 1989 purely as a research centre, since 1989 it has grown and broadened its services to include a commercial diving and viewing centre and a separate educational department. White Shark Projects has taken the lead to establish shark tourism as an educational experience. “Everything we do we aim to do in harmony with nature and the environment we are working in.”
White Shark Projects has a volunteer programme that is dedicated to the exploration and conservation of the world’s greatest predator, the great white shark, and its environment. The volunteer programme works with students, eco-tourists, conservation organisations and marine resource users (subsistence fishermen, sport divers and dive operators) to gather data on great white sharks, correct negative misconceptions about sharks, and stop the needless slaughter of over 100 million sharks annually.
Founded in Spain, Costa Rica and California, Innoceana is a non-profit whose team comprises of marine biologists, research scientists, engineers, among other disciplines.
Innoceana are on a mission to preserve marine ecosystems through the empowerment of coastal communities in order to create a global network of marine conservation and education centres which will help preserve the oceans for future generations.
Innoceana’s Marine Conservation and Education Center (MCEC) in Costa Rica proposes an innovative model that seeks to raise awareness in the local and international community on the comprehensive care of marine ecosystems, creating as well an ideal space for research projects. Described by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth”, Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula is home to creatures big and small, from breaching humpback whales to brightly coloured nudibranchs. The waters surrounding the peninsula are home to biologically important ecosystems including the coral reefs of Caño Island, mangrove forests and wetlands.
GVI is an experiential education organisation that run impactful and ethical sustainable development programs across Asia, Africa, Latin Africa, the South Pacific, and Europe.
Each programme is aligned to at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and is in-keeping with internationally accepted ethical best practices. GVI ensures that all participants will make a meaningful impact during their time abroad, whilst also improving their employability.
In all their marine conservation locations (Fiji, Mexico, Belize, and Seychelles), GVI focuses on coral conservation research. However, there are also opportunities to gain practical experience in other topics, e.g., plastic pollution programmes in Fiji and Thailand, coral bleaching research programmes in Seychelles, sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica, and lemon shark conservation in Seychelles.
In 2015, two dive instructors met on a tiny island in Indonesia and fell in love. They noticed that over the years they saw less sharks and more trash in the ocean. Something had to change! Together they started Gili Shark Conservation, an award-winning conservation, and data collection program on the Gili Islands.
Did you know that Indonesia is the top shark-fishing nation in the world? Gili Shark Conservation made it their mission to protect and restore the coral reef environment around the Gili Islands and to help to create the first recognized shark nursery ground in Indonesia by 2025.
Would you like to help out? Gili Shark Conservation has 10 spots available in their research team throughout the whole year. During your stay you will learn how to dive (or improve existing skills), be certified as a PADI Scientific Diver, and as PADI Aware Shark Specialist. Their research team will teach you all about sharks and their role in the ecosystem, how to identify rays, sharks, and turtles, how to set up and monitor a coral restoration project, how to conduct data input and analysis and much more!
Apply today for one of the 10 spots in their research team, and get to work with a passionate group of marine scientists, instructors, social media experts, and entrepreneurs from around the world. We promise you; you won’t regret it!
Founded in 1986 in Belize, Coral Cay Conservation was born from a need to act and conserve coral reefs. We have worked in 14 countries, over 17 projects, and are internationally awarded for our achievements in environmental conservation. We have facilitated the establishment of Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA), Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and collaborated with governments and NGOs globally to protect coral reef habitats and empower local communities.
Our newest volunteer program is based in the Gulf of Aqaba, in the northern Red Sea. Coral reefs in this area have received global attention for their resistance to global warming. The Sinai Coral Reef Conservation Project (SCRCP) will collect biophysical and ecological baseline data to assess reef health in Ras Abu Galum. Volunteers can join us for 2-3 weeks depending on their diving experience and qualifications. All divers will learn how to dive scientifically, and all volunteers will be taught an in-depth reef conservation course by our Head of Science, before collecting survey data. The SCRCP is suitable for both new and experienced scientific divers.
The SharkWise Project Internship is based in Umkomaas, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa and is aimed at young students wanting hands-on experience in marine biology, focusing on shark research. It was founded by Dr Sara Andreotti, a marine biologist specialising in shark research, and Walter Bernardis, world-renowned shark behaviour expert.
The interns work with Masters and/or PhD students that are registered at Stellenbosch University. The interns assist with data collection for the postgraduate research. Current postgraduate research includes: genetic sampling, shark fin photo identification, underwater photogrammetry and reef biodiversity assessment
Marine Conservation Philippines (MCP) is a non-profit NGO working to preserve the fragile marine habitats, like coral reefs and mangrove forests, and to improve quality of life for marginalized workers in central Philippines.
By embarking on an expedition with MCP, participants will join a large team of professional marine biologists, scientists, teachers, and dive instructors to help tackle the myriad of issues facing our oceans today. Participation includes extensive scuba-diving; however, you can obtain these qualifications during the course if necessary.
In a travel market saturated with green washed volunteer opportunities, MCP sets themselves apart. They are a locally registered non-profit, and work under the auspices of the local government, and in collaboration with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatics Resources, the Department of Natural Resources, and several universities. The staff to volunteer ratio is 1:1, ensuring the work of volunteers truly does make a difference!
Indo Ocean Project was founded by marine biologists, dive instructors, and ocean enthusiasts from around the globe to create a standardized data collection and research diver training programme in Indonesia.
They work with universities, government agencies, NGO’s, and local communities to carry out research that address marine conservation issues. They also conduct ecological monitoring in the Indo-Pacific Region. Field expeditions host international and local projects that are focused on marine megafauna and coral reef conservation.
Internships are undertaken at one of their three locations; Nusa Penida (Bali), Bira (South Sulawesi) or Raja Ampat (West Papua). The Divemaster course will teach you to be a leader, and you will develop the skills to direct a variety of scuba and marine research activities.
Founded in 2014, Love the Oceans is a non-profit marine conservation organisation based in Jangamo Bay, Mozambique. Jangamo Bay is home to a vast array of marine life, however, has not been studied in-depth for any prolonged amount of time. As such, Love the Oceans is working to study and protect the diverse marine life found here, which includes sharks, rays, and humpback whales.
They use research, education, and diving to drive action towards a more sustainable future. One of their key goals is to establish a Marine Protected Area for the Inhambane Province in Mozambique. Their cutting edge, ethical volunteer programme provides participants with the opportunity to gain hands-on conservation experience whilst working alongside marine biologists who are undertaking research, community outreach and diving excursions.
New Heaven Reef Conservation Programme (NHRCP) is located on the southern side of Koh Tao, which is situated on the Gulf of Thailand. Dedicated to the preservation, protection and restoration of the reef ecosystems that surround the island, NHRCP raise awareness and educate both volunteers and the local community about marine conservation through the courses offered.
Throughout the programme, participants will have the opportunity to step into the role of reef conservationist and learn the practical applications of marine science and protection. Lectures provide information on numerous key topics, and diving provides the chance to undertake coral gardening, reef surveys, coral predator management, underwater clean-ups and more!
The Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies (BCSS) is located on the island of Benguerra, in the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park (BANP), southern Mozambique.
The BANP is the home to the last viable population of dugongs in the Western Indian Ocean and is also a breeding ground for migratory humpback whales.
The archipelago, which is protected by the WWF, is a refuge for many endangered species and plays host to various critical marine and terrestrial habitats. Consequently, through research with the BCSS, you will be able to dive in one of the world’s most diverse coral reef ecosystems and witness behavior such as open ocean shark feeding, turtle breeding and whale migrations. BCSS’s founding principles are to understand, protect, and guarantee and they are determined to ensure that every volunteer helps the station to achieve this.
Founded in 1991, Bali Diving Academy is a renowned PADI 5* IDC Center with a 100% Safety Record and the highest quality standard. Partners include National Geographic, the Marine Megafauna Foundation, and the Coral Triangle Center.
Their passion is to connect people with the ocean, and they offer various courses / internships. For example, their Reef Check Eco Diver Course is designed for participants who want to learn how to identify key fish, invertebrates, and coral substrates, as well as to learn more about reef restoration. The Marine Protected Area Project entails volunteers becoming confident dive professional as well as the opportunity to collect data and conduct community outreach.