PADI CONSERVATION DIVING - VOLUNTEERING
QUALIFIED DIVERS: minimum stay 1 week
BEGINNERS: minimum stay 2 weeks (includes PADI Dive course first week)
Come and experience the beauty of the Perhentian Islands while learning about marine conservation with PADI. The Perhentian Marine Research Station works in partnership with Reef Check Malaysia and the national Marine Parks Department. It offers a PADI conservation diving course for beginners. Once you complete the course, you can join the dive team and take part in various conservation activities, including coral reef restoration and seagrass surveys.
Whether you're a beginner or a qualified diver, you can become a PADI conservation diving volunteer and participate in hands-on activities such as surveying and mapping local seagrass, which serves as a vital feeding ground for sea turtles. You can also help in developing artificial coral reefs and researching their effectiveness as fish habitats. The project team collaborates with University Malaysia Terengganu and Plymouth University to shape decisions about the protection of coral reefs and seagrass beds in the park.
In addition to contributing to marine conservation efforts, you'll also get to immerse yourself in the local culture of the village you're based in. You can even take part in local community work, such as Eco Snorkel guide training, beach cleanups, buoy line maintenance, recycling, and other activities.
The Perhentian Marine Research Station (PMRS) began operations in February 2017. Its aim is to evaluate the effect of divers on coral reefs and to promote the conservation of the reefs. PMRS also works on waste management in the islands. The station provides opportunities for international and local volunteers to participate in conservation projects by making a financial contribution towards project costs. Practically, volunteers contribute valuable data for coastal zone management without the project requiring any other external resources.
Program of activities*
The project focuses on two main activities, Seagrass Surveys and Mapping, and Assessment of the Artificial Reef. Seagrass beds serve as vital feeding grounds for sea turtles, and research has shown that migrating turtles use them, but nesting turtles do not. Therefore, the project aims to map these seagrass beds to study them further. As a volunteer, you will help conduct dive surveys to identify the seagrass beds, map them using GPS, and determine their percentage of cover and condition. You will also study the epiphytes that live on the seagrass.
In addition, the project aims to reduce pressure on natural reefs by creating new fishing grounds for local villagers through the use of artificial reef structures. Volunteers will assist in snorkel surveys to count fish and establish the Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) for these artificial reefs.
Finally, the project is also collecting information on sea temperature and water factors, such as quality, turbidity, and salinity, to better understand the impacts on the local marine environment. As a volunteer, you may have the opportunity to assist in collecting this data.
Our PADI dive courses are perfect for both novice and experienced divers. Our local dive school partners specialize in providing full support for your diving needs, including upgrading your skills. If you prefer to complete the PADI Open Water course before your travels, that option is available too. We offer Advanced and Rescue Diving courses as well.
For beginner divers, week 1 is dedicated to getting your diving certification. Meanwhile, experienced divers will receive training in research surveys.
Volunteers have the opportunity to go on 1 or 2 dives per day, either in the morning or afternoon, with the latter reserved for data input or analysis, or more diving, if desired. Following that, the next weeks will focus on marine surveys.
We also conduct reef and beach cleanups once a week in collaboration with local dive shops, other conservation projects, local authorities, and various conservation organizations. We properly sort the collected rubbish on the ground, with plastics being stored for upcycling using our on-site plastic recycling machine. Moreover, staying in the local village will give you a better understanding of the local culture. You may also get involved in local community work, such as Eco Snorkel guide training, buoy line maintenance, recycling, and other activities.