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Diving & Marine Conservation Volunteer Projects in Thailand

  • Placement location: Near Ao Nang
  • Role: To help conserve the marine environment, conduct research and salvage dives
  • Main Research Focus: Coral reefs
  • Local Environment: Marine and Coastal
  • Accommodation: Volunteer lodge
  • What’s included? Food, accommodation, airport transfers, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
  • What’s not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
  • 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 breath-taking dives amongst the coral reefs.

Work on this project involves researching and protecting the coral reefs, tropical forests and costal 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-coloured 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, a career break, for university research or as part of a summer holiday. 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.

Here you will find answers to the following questions:

What is my role on this Conservation & Environment project?

What are the aims of this Conservation & Environment project?

Where will I live on this project?


What is my role on this Conservation & Environment project?

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 on the Conservation project in Thailand help to clean up the beaches

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

One of the first things that you'll 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. All volunteers staying for four weeks or more complete the PADI Projects Abroad Survey Diver Distinctive Specialty Course. This is a PADI authorised specialty course which includes full training in underwater survey and research techniques.


What are the aims of this Conservation & Environment project?

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

The Krabi Province has some of the oldest remaining mangrove and lowland forests in the whole if 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.

Volunteers on the Conservation project work with local school children in Thailand

Projects Abroad undertakes important practical and scientific work on the coral reefs, tropical forests and removes harmful rubbish from the coastline - minimising human impact on both the marine and coastal environments.

Our conservation and survey methods are designed in line with international environmental organisations’ 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 towards the same goals. These include collecting vital data on the health of the reef, marine and coastal areas, 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 the Krabi Province to prevent further destruction and assist with on-going reforestation work.

The project’s rubbish 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.

Volunteers taking part in our Conservation programme in Thailand will also be contributing to our exciting new Global Shark Campaign, which is taking place in 18 countries in 4 continents. We collect data on all shark sightings that take place during our research dives. This data is then sent over to our campaign headquarters in Fiji to contribute to their research efforts.

Volunteers also contribute to the campaign through mangrove reforestation work. Mangroves are essential habitat for many sharks and have a direct effect on coral reefs and the ocean. This involves either working in the Projects Abroad nurseries or taking part in outreach activities and/or photo surveys of the surrounding mangrove forests.


Where will I live on this project?

Volunteers on the Conservation project during an induction

You will 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 on a land based project for example, lunch will be provided on the boat, at the work site, or a packed lunch may be organised for you.

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

You can join the Conservation & Environment project in Thailand for two or three weeks if you don't have time to join us for four weeks or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for short term volunteering for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and take part in a variety of the conservation activities please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period.

Volunteers on the Conservation project participate in dives

Volunteers joining the Conservation Project for two weeks should arrive in Krabi on a Saturday or Sunday. As a two week volunteer 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 two week period can be affected by bad weather.

All volunteers taking part in the Conservation Project in Thailand for at least 8 weeks have the opportunity to train as a Divemaster during their time on the project. Read more about our Divemaster Add-On Course here.

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