What is the Island Marine Conservation with Diving Certification in Thailand project all about?
Based on the Thai island of Koh Tao, this marine conservation project is perfect for divers, or those who would like to learn to dive. The project is committed to sustainable development for the sea and the local communities.
Working on its own initiatives and in association with other dive companies, the Thai Navy and the Marine Fisheries department are working to protect the previous marine environments of the area. Building artificial reefs, culturing a giant clam nursery, seahorse re-population studies, and undertaking regular monitoring activities are just some of the initiatives on this project.
This marine conservation project works with local schools, teaching children to swim, snorkel, and dive responsibly. Education is essential in the local communities, and volunteers and interns can help by spreading the word about the importance of marine conservation.
The success of this project to date has seen government environment agencies use the data gathered when making policy decisions. This project includes diver SSI (Scuba Schools International) training from beginner to advanced level. Conservation Diver certifications can also be included, depending on the duration of your placement.
Why choose this Island Marine Conservation with International Diving Certification project?
The reef around the island of Koh Tao has been harmed by increases in tourism, storms and strong tides, and from invasive predators. Regular monitoring and cleaning on the reefs removes damaging debris, and identifies changes in the numbers and health of the marine life. An army of volunteers is needed to help the project and its partners in their efforts to preserve local underwater habitats. By participating on this marine conservation project, not only will you learn to scuba dive, but you will gain a deep understanding of the issues affecting our seas and marine wildlife.
Role of the Conservation Volunteer
If you are a novice diver, your first week will be dedicated to acquiring your diving certifications with a three day open water course (Monday through Wednesday), and 2 days of advanced course (Thursday and Friday).
As a volunteer, you will start each day by attending a seminar covering your duties for the day ahead. Following this, you will proceed to your diving; whilst diving you will be responsible for identifying species, monitoring the reefs, underwater clean-ups, and reef restoration. You will also receive diving instruction to help you to progress your diving training during your placement. There are a range of projects that you may be tasked with assisting on. These include:
- growing new colonies from fragments, to help increase the coral population
- studying coral spawning or drupella snail numbers
- participating in seahorse research
- monitoring the presence of Crown Thorn Starfish, a species that feeds on coral
- caring for rescued turtles through feeding schemes, and weighing and surveying their growing progress
We recommend staying 4 to 5 weeks (depending on your level of diving qualifications) in order to make the most of your placement. Note that you will need an entire week to become an advanced diver (if not already) to be able to participate in this marine conservation project. Following any diving training, typically week 1 is dedicated to the ecological monitoring program. Week 2 is dedicated to fragment collection and coral nurseries, as well as the building and deployment of the artificial reef building. Week 3 is dedicated to giant clams, sharks and turtles, coral predators and underwater clean up. Finally week 4 is dedicated to data collection, coral reef restoration, mooring lines, nudibranch (a type of marine mollusc) and seahorses.
What skills do I need to be a Marine Conservation Volunteer in Thailand?
Volunteers are accepted on this project with a range of skills. The most important is the ability to swim a minimum of 2 lengths of a 25-metre swimming pool. Volunteers must love water and be interested in sea life. Even a beginner can join and make a difference to marine conservation. All volunteers must have a moderate level of fitness as everyone will be required to carry tanks and equipment during their placement.
WHY JOIN THE PROJECT
To learn to dive in a spectacular location
To help restore and preserve underwater habitats
To make a sustainable change in Thailand
Where will I work in Thailand?
The southern bay of Chao Lok on the island of Koh Tao is a haven for divers. This small village sits away from the main tourist area, but has all the benefits of internet cafes, restaurants and book shops, without the crowds. Your delightful seafront guesthouse has a restaurant, internet access, and Thai massage area. Yoga classes are run there, and there are laundry facilities, and a travel shop should you need help booking excursions to nearby Ko Pha Ngan or Ko Samui. For those of you wanting to travel further afield, head south to Krabi and Koh Phi Phi Island, or north to Bangkok where you can explore the temples, markets, food, and nightlife that the buzzing capital has to offer.
Details & Costs
- Duration: 2-5 weeks
- Cost: New Diver: £1489 / $2324 for 2 weeks,
£1915 / $2990 for 3 weeks,
£2375/$3708 for 4 weeks,
£2801/$4372 for 5 weeks
For open water and advanced divers, different rates apply. Please speak to a Kaya advisor.
Note: open water and advanced divers who have not dived in the past 6 months must arrive 1 day early and complete a refresher course, at an additional charge of £95/$150.
- Requirements: Age 17+
- Location: Koh Tao, Thailand
- Working hours: Monday - Friday, 9 am to 4:30 pm
- Project availability: Closed from October to December
- Arrival day: Sunday in Koh Tao
What is included
- Accommodation: Private room with fan (upgrade available – subject to demand and extra fees)
- Collection and drop off at Koh Tao Pier
- Scuba School International (SSI) qualifications (depend on skills & length of stay)
- Diving kit including mask and fins (for participants staying 2 weeks or less)
- Training: Pre-departure information pack and onsite orientation provided
- Support: 24-hour support from on-site coordinator
- Excursion Planning: staff will help organise activities and excursions
What is not included
- Transfers to Koh Tao (pick up in Bangkok with orientation and transfers can be arranged for you; please speak to a Kaya Advisor)
- One day refresher course (£95/$150)-applicable only to open and advanced divers who have not dived in the past 6 months
- If you are an experienced diver you might want to bring your own gear.
- Underwater camera (if wanted)
- Food: Meals are not provided
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Easy 4-step application process
Apply online and pay your application fee to apply for your space on your chosen project. Our advisors will then contact you to guide you through the next steps.
Once we’ve received your application, we’ll review your details and be in touch to arrange your informal telephone interview with your Kaya Placement Advisor.
Following your interview, we will provide you a placement offer. Once you are ready to confirm your placement and dates, you can pay your confirmation fee to book and secure your space.
When you have confirmed your project dates we'll send you your Welcome Pack and lots of other helpful information to assist you with preparing for your placement.
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