Wildlife conservation, community and environmental volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Volunteer for Marine Conservation

"The ocean's power of regeneration is remarkable - if we just offer it the chance .... We are in reach of a whole new relationship with the ocean, a wiser, more sustainable relationship. The choice lies with us."

Sir David Attenborough

Marine conservation seeks to protect and restore the health of our oceans in all of their complexity and is a priority issue for which urgent action must be taken to save our seas. 71% of our planet is covered by oceans and the medley of underwater habitats that comprise the aquatic environment range. From colourful coral reefs to deep kelp forests, our marine ecosystems contain more biodiversity than than any terrestrial ecosystem.

The threats facing our oceans, which include climate change, over-fishing, bottom trawling, the contamination of our oceans with waste and effluents, and the removal of coastal habitats (such as mangroves), have led to a perfect storm of negative impacts on marine life and the human societies that depend on them across the planet. Under climate change scenarios, our oceans are forecast to get warmer and more acidic, which will lead to faster melting of ice caps and rising sea levels. 

Our marine-focused volunteer programmes promote the protection of vital ocean habitats and support important research, monitoring and educational activities around the globe. Our programs involve monitoring and researching marine species including sea turtles in Costa Rica and Grenada, great white sharks in South Africa and dolphins in Scotland and Croatia. We have programmes which support the important coral reef ecosystems in Thailand, Mauritius, Australia and the West Indies. We develop and deliver marine community education programmes in the Maldives and South Africa.

Our volunteer and internship programmes equip volunteers with key conservation skills and participants gain important insights and experience for future work in the conservation world. Conservation activities are carried out with volunteers, local people and NGOs to create a community committed to protecting and restoring our oceans.

Our Projects with Marine Conservation

  • Dolphin Research Volunteer Project, Greece

    • Duration 1-4 weeks
    • Prices from £680

    Volunteer on this dolphin and monk seal research project in the Ionian Sea and help to ensure the long-term survival of Bottlenose and Common Dolphins and Mediterranean Monk Seals.

  • Sea Search Whale & Dolphin Research Programme, South Africa

    • Duration 1 to 4 months
    • Prices from £695

    Join a team of scientists in Cape Town and gain experience in researching whale and dolphin species including humpback whales, humpback dolphins and killer whales.

  • Maldives Island Volunteer Project

    • Duration 2-12 Weeks
    • Prices from £1095

    Volunteer in the Maldives and join various environmental, medical, community and marine conservation projects within the tropical island of Naifaru, the capital of the Lhaviyani Atoll.

  • Great Barrier Reef Conservation Project, Australia

    • Duration 2-4 Weeks
    • Prices from £2075

    Join a marine conservation internship in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Help to protect this amazing natural wonder and develop your conservation and research skills alongside experienced marine biologists.

  • Pacific Sea Turtle Volunteer Project, Costa Rica

    • Duration 1 - 12 weeks
    • Prices from £367

    Volunteer with sea turtles in Costa Rica on our Olive, Green and Hawksbill Ridley turtle research programme on the spectacular Pacific coast of Costa Rica on the amazing Playa Hermosa, at Punta Mala beach.

  • Ocean Research Conservation Project, South Africa

    • Duration 1 week - 10 months
    • Prices from £605

    Volunteer with dolphin, seal and whale research in South Africa. Take part in marine conservation, penguin rescue and educational projects along the South African coast.  Special two week vet programme with an animal shelter also available.

  • Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Volunteer Programme, Costa Rica

    • Duration 11 days -12 weeks
    • Prices from £610

    Volunteer in Costa Rica and become a sea turtle volunteer, helping to conserve and protect the populations of vulnerable Olive Ridleys. Located on the spectacular Pacific coast where Olive Ridley turtles come up in thousands at a time for this phenomenon of nature called ‘arribadas’.

  • Bottlenose Dolphin Volunteer Research Project, Croatia

    • Duration 2 - 4 weeks
    • Prices from £860

    This project is the longest ongoing study of a resident population of bottlenose dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea focusing on dolphin population dynamics, photo – identification, behavioural sampling and acoustic monitoring.

  • The Great African Sea-Forest Marine Volunteer Programme, South Africa

    • Duration 1-12 Weeks
    • Prices from £600

    Join a team of passionate marine biologists and conservationists in the field and get hands-on experience working on marine research and conservation projects. Assist with scientific monitoring projects, citizen science initiatives and explore the kelp forests whilst on fish and shark surveys with the research team. Contribute to long term monitoring programmes of the great African sea forest.

  • Coral Reef Conservation & Diving Project, Thailand

    • Duration 2 - 12 Weeks
    • Prices from £995

    Join a marine and coral reef conservation project on Koh Phangan island in Thailand’s Samui archipelago. A great opportunity for students looking to gain diving and scientific research experience in a stunning tropical setting and kickstart a career in marine conservation.

  • Dolphin & Whale Volunteer Research Project, Italy

    • Duration 1 - 4 weeks
    • Prices from £750

    A sailing-boat based cetacean volunteer research and conservation programme in the Western Mediterranean located between Italy and France.

  • Blue Lagoon Coral Reef Project, Mauritius

    • Duration 1 week to 3 months
    • Prices from £785

    Volunteer in Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and take part in a coral reef monitoring and marine conservation volunteer and internship programme, which includes coral reef farming and restoration, lagoon monitoring and sea turtle research in the beautiful Blue Bay Marine Park.

  • Seychelles Island Conservation Volunteer Programme

    • Duration 2-4 Weeks
    • Prices from £708

    Join various island and tropical wildlife conservation projects within the beautiful Nature Reserve on Cousin Island in the Seychelles. These projects are aimed at conserving the natural environment of the island that include sea turtle monitoring, bird ringing, habitat conservation and censuses of tortoises, skinks and geckos.

  • Watamu Sea Turtle Volunteer Project, Kenya

    • Duration 2 Weeks+
    • Prices from £980

    An opportunity to take part in Kenya sea turtle conservation involving research and monitoring, working at a turtle rehabilitation centre and protecting nesting sites along the Watamu Coastline.

  • Sea Turtle Conservation Volunteer Project, Greece

    • Duration 2-4 Weeks
    • Prices from £680

    Volunteer to protect endangered sea turtles in Greece while getting hands-on field research experience, meeting new people and exploring the Kefalonian coast.

  • Caribbean Reef Buddy Diving Project, Carriacou, West Indies

    • Duration 2 Weeks+
    • Prices from £1050

    Become a Caribbean Reef Buddy volunteer and join us on the beautiful island of Carriacou near Grenada. Try some Caribbean diving, learn to dive in the warm, crystal clear waters of the Caribbean and play an active part in our exciting marine conservation projects.  Also an opportunity to kick-start your diving career with our Eco Divemaster programme!

  • Conservation Volunteering Project, Spain

    • Duration 2 Weeks+
    • Prices from £880

    Immerse yourself in Spanish culture and volunteer on a conservation project in the coastal cities of Valencia or Denia.

  • Dolphin & Whale Research Volunteer Project, Portugal

    • Duration 1 Week+
    • Prices from £785

    Volunteer in Portugal and support Dolphin & Whale Conservation and Research whilst exploring the Algarve coastline.

  • Whale and Dolphin Conservation Volunteer Project, Hebrides

    • Duration 1-2 Weeks
    • Prices from £860

    Volunteer aboard the research yacht Silurian, exploring the Hebrides and collecting visual and acoustic data on various species of whale, dolphin and porpoise.

  • Dolphin Research Project, Namibia

    • Duration 1 to 3 months
    • Prices from £895

    Join this Dolphin Research Project in Namibia as a Marine Intern and help collect high quality data for science and management.  Live in Walvis Bay home to colonies of seals and flamingos.

  • Statia Conservation Volunteer Project, St. Eustatius, Caribbean

    • Duration 8-12 Weeks
    • Prices from £680

    Volunteer in the Caribbean on the stunning island of St. Eustatius, in the Dutch Antilles, overlooking St. Kitts in the Caribbean Sea

  • Ocean Spirits Leatherback Sea Turtle Volunteer Project, Grenada

    • Duration 2 - 12 Weeks
    • Prices from £885

    Volunteer in the Caribbean as a Research Assistant and take part in leatherback sea turtle monitoring, research, and community outreach programmes on the island of Grenada.

  • Playa Tortuga Conservation Volunteer Project, Costa Rica

    • Duration 1 week to 6 months
    • Prices from £445

    Volunteer in Costa Rica and live and work in a biological research station and take part in sea turtle, butterfly, caiman, crocodile, tree boa, monkey and mammal research and environmental education.

  • Galapagos Conservation Volunteers

    • Duration 2 to 12 Weeks
    • Prices from £1295

    Volunteer on a range of wildlife conservation and environmental projects on Isabela island, Galapagos. Join a dynamic team of volunteers and local staff while supporting the unique ecosystem of the Galapagos islands.

  • Cuba Conservation Volunteer Project

    • Duration 1-4 Weeks
    • Prices from £960

    Contribute to the Marine & Coastal Habitat Conservation volunteer project on a remote beautiful island in Cuba. Volunteers help on land and in the water with the monitoring and improvement of marine and coastal health, as well as the collection of data for the further protection of this important conservation area.

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    WorkingAbroad is the Go-To Website for Ethical & Responsible Volunteer & Internship Opportunities Abroad

    We run volunteer programmes in over 30 countries across the world focusing on wildlife conservation and community development projects and every project we offer adheres to our ethical standards.

Sir David Attenborough

"The ocean's power of regeneration is remarkable - if we just offer it the chance .... We are in reach of a whole new relationship with the ocean, a wiser, more sustainable relationship. The choice lies with us."

Sir David Attenborough
Marine Facts

Marine Facts

  • Half of all oxygen on the planet is produced by the oceans
  • Oceans absorb carbon dioxide and in excess this process can lead to ‘ocean acidification’.
  • The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the ocean and the deepest location on Earth. It is 11,034 meters (36,201 feet) deep, which is almost 7 miles.
  • In the 1990s, there was an average global ice melt of 0.8 trillion tonnes per year; by 2017, there was an average of 1.3 trillion tonnes per year.This is a 65% increase in the rate of ice loss between 1994 and 2017.
Marine Conservation Strategies

Marine Conservation Strategies

  • Design an international network of Marine Protected Areas with applied marine stewardship principles and systematic conservation planning.
  • Integrate land-freshwater-sea conservation planning and management.
  • Lead by example: define and achieve good environmental status in all European waters.
  • Develop conservation strategies to address the impacts of global change.
  • Prioritise conservation goals in full collaboration with stakeholders.
  • Read more about these strategies here
Take action for marine life

Take action for marine life

  1. If you are going to eat seafood, look for sustainably sourced seafood and learn about certifications such as the Marine Stewardship Council 
  2. Reduce, reuse and recycle plastics and check your favourite products to avoid microplastics
  3. Why not organise a litter picking event to clean up beaches and the seafront? 
  4. Support organisations which are working to promote and protect marine life, volunteer if you can, or even a few pounds a month by direct debit will be a big help.
  5. Educate yourself and others, build your capacity to take action against a sea of plastics, and by opposing, end it. 

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