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Explore New Depths: Volunteering and Internships for PADI-Certified Divers

Written By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer
Marine conservation, research, biology, scuba internships

Hello, ocean lovers and diving enthusiasts! Are you a PADI-certified diver looking for an exciting way to use your skills? Well, you’re in luck! The underwater world is not just a place for adventure, but also a sea of opportunities for volunteering and internships. 

Think about it: You can use your diving skills to help out underwater projects, learn more about marine life, and even be part of cool research teams. Why not make your next adventure more than just a dive – but turn it into an opportunity to give back to the ocean and gain incredible experiences?

So, for all you PADI divers – beginners to advanced! – looking for something new and meaningful, the ocean is calling. Let’s jump in and discover all the awesome opportunities waiting for you!

Why Volunteer or Intern as a PADI-Certified Diver?

scuba certification

Taking on a volunteer or intern role as a PADI-certified diver has a significant impact beyond personal enjoyment. It aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water, emphasizing the protection and sustainability of our oceans.

As a PADI-certified diver during your volunteering or internship program, you’re actively contributing to ocean conservation. This role extends beyond diving skills to understanding and combating marine challenges. 

In whichever role you may choose, you’re an advocate for marine conservation, educating others, and promoting sustainable practices. You’re part of a global effort to safeguard our oceans for future generations.

Types of Opportunities

  1. Marine Conservation: This is for those who want to protect our oceans. You could work on coral reef restoration, collect data on marine life, or help in cleaning up the seas. 
  2. Underwater Photography: A unique opportunity for divers-slash-photographers to capture the underwater world. Involves documenting marine life and habitats, contributing to conservation awareness, and assisting in scientific research through visual data collection.

  3. Dive Training: Improve your diving skills while helping others learn too. It’s a great way to get more dive experience and maybe work towards becoming a dive instructor yourself!

  4. Marine Research: For science fans, you can assist in research projects. This could be anything from studying fish behavior to checking on the health of coral reefs.

Discover Volunteering and Internship Opportunities for PADI Divers

Take a look around dive centers and marine conservation organizations to see what opportunities they might have. You can also join some diving groups and forums on social media too. It’s a great way to hear about others’ experiences and you might even stumble upon some exciting leads.

To get you started, here are some great programs you can explore:

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) 


Volunteer with IVHQ’s Marine Conservation programs to protect our oceans and marine life. Engage in meaningful projects that restore vulnerable ecosystems and educate local communities. With opportunities in various destinations worldwide, you can immerse in new cultures while contributing meaningfully. Affordable program fees include accommodation for the duration of your program, meals, and constant 24/7 in-country support. Your efforts will be recognized with a Certificate of International Volunteer Service, marking your contribution to global change. Here are our favorite picks for PADI Divers:

  • Environmental Scuba Diving in Lisbon, Portugal: IVHQ’s program offers a unique blend of scuba diving and environmental protection in the vibrant city of Lisbon. Volunteers gain hands-on experience in marine conservation, exploring Portugal’s rich underwater ecosystems while working on important environmental initiatives.
  • Marine Conservation in Belize: Set on a secluded private island in the Caribbean, this IVHQ program focuses on eradicating the invasive Lionfish. Volunteers immerse in stunning marine environments, contributing to vital conservation efforts in one of the world’s most beautiful aquatic settings.
  • Marine Conservation in Madagascar: This program allows volunteers to engage in diverse conservation activities amidst Madagascar’s extraordinary marine biodiversity. From reef surveying to turtle monitoring, it offers an in-depth experience in preserving some of the most unique marine ecosystems on the planet.
  • Marine Conservation in Omiš, Croatia: Situated on the picturesque Dalmatian coast, IVHQ’s Croatian project stands out for its combination of marine and river conservation. Participants contribute to maintaining the natural state of the Adriatic Sea’s marine ecosystem, working closely with local dive schools.
  • Great Barrier Reef Conservation in Cairns, Australia: Offering a chance to work at the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef, this IVHQ program focuses on reef monitoring and sea turtle conservation. It’s a unique opportunity to engage in crucial environmental efforts to protect one of the Earth’s most vital and iconic natural wonders.

Intern Abroad HQ

Best internships abroad - Intern Abroad HQ

Intern Abroad HQ, a sister organization of International Volunteer HQ, offers a diverse range of internships worldwide in 24 career fields, including Marine Biology. These internships can be tailored to your personal academic or career goals. Program fees include a range of services, from airport pick-up to daily meals and comfortable accommodation. You’ll also receive professional coaching and a portfolio documenting your learning. Here are some great internship programs where PADI-certified divers can expand their professional skills:

  • Coral Restoration Internships in Costa Rica: Intern in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, focusing on Coral Restoration. This program involves hands-on coral rehabilitation and ecosystem preservation, learning from experts in one of the world’s most biodiverse locations.
  • Marine Biology & Reef Conservation Internships in Sodwana Bay: Dive into Marine Biology and Reef Conservation at South Africa’s Sodwana Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Engage in meaningful conservation efforts amid rich marine life, including turtles, whales, and manta rays.
  • Marine Biology Internships in Costa Rica: Located on the central Pacific coast, this internship focuses on coral rehabilitation, reef health, and community-based marine education. It’s an immersive experience in one of the most biodiverse places on earth.
  • Marine Conservation Internships in Thailand: Based in Koh Tao, Thailand, this program offers underwater research and scuba diving proficiency. Interns contribute to reef monitoring, and conservation projects, and gain an in-depth understanding of coral reef ecosystems.


Volunteer Forever | Summer Abroad Internships for Students

GoEco, highly acclaimed for its marine conservation programs, offers great experiences for divers worldwide. These programs provide extensive field exposure to marine research, aquatic biology, responsible tourism, and environmental policy. The program fees include accommodations, food, airport pick-up, and even boat transfers where necessary! Choose from the following programs for an enriching cultural experience while making a meaningful impact in marine conservation.

  • Mozambique – Whale Shark and Marine Conservation: In Mozambique, volunteers aid in the conservation of whale sharks and other marine life. Unique opportunities include photo identification surveys, diving alongside whale sharks, and adding to a global marine database, enhancing conservation efforts.
  • Portugal – Marine Conservation in Lisbon: Dive into Lisbon’s Atlantic waters to combat pollution affecting marine life. Volunteers learn scuba diving at a certified school, engage in seabed clean-ups, and collaborate with global movements addressing human impact on marine environments.
  • Australia – Great Barrier Reef Conservation: Work on the Great Barrier Reef, obtaining PADI certification while participating in monitoring and coral-watching surveys. The program includes working at a turtle rehabilitation center and receiving a certificate for marine conservation efforts.
  • Belize – Private Island Marine Experience: Experience marine conservation from a private island in Belize. Tasks include invasive Lionfish eradication, native species surveys, whale shark photography, and beach cleanups. Volunteers also learn about marine conservation and participate in educational presentations.

Projects Abroad

Scuba diving with Projects Abroad

Dive into a transformative experience with Projects Abroad as a certified diver. These programs offer unique opportunities to contribute to the preservation of crucial marine ecosystems, perfect for those passionate about marine biology and looking to make a global impact. Program fees include accommodation, three daily meals, airport transfer, essential diving equipment rental, a certificate upon program completion, and more. Here are our top picks for Projects Abroad programs ideal for divers:

  • Shark Conservation Volunteering in Fiji: Join a cutting-edge conservation project focusing on shark protection. Collaborate with scientists and contribute to crucial research through survey dives, while achieving a PADI Divemaster certification. This program is a blend of adventure, education, and meaningful conservation work.
  • Thailand Diving & Coral Reef Protection: Gain a PADI Advanced Divemaster certificate and engage in vital marine conservation work. Contribute to underwater surveys, coral propagation, and additional land-based initiatives. Experience living on Koh Tao Island, exploring its stunning beaches and vibrant culture.
  • Fiji Shark Conservation for Teenagers: Engage in shark conservation efforts in Fiji under the guidance of expert marine biologists. Earn a PADI diving certification while conducting surveys on various marine species. Ideal for adventurous teens passionate about ocean protection and seeking hands-on experience in marine biology.
  • Thailand Diving & Marine Conservation for Teenagers: Participate in a unique conservation program in Thailand, where you’ll learn diving from professionals and earn three PADI certifications. Engage in underwater surveys and coral maintenance, with the added experience of exploring Thai culture and cuisine.

African Impact


Founded in 2004, African Impact is a family-run organization that has grown into a leading provider of international volunteer experiences in Africa, including transformative diving internships. These programs, set in stunning African locations, allow you to engage in crucial environmental protection efforts. Program fees include accommodation, daily meals, airport transfers, comprehensive dive training, equipment rental, and support from local staff, ensuring a well-rounded and impactful experience. Contribute to vital marine research and conservation, and experience Africa’s stunning marine biodiversity with the following programs: 

  • Marine Biology Research in Mozambique: Dive in Mozambique’s rich marine habitat, assisting in vital research on whale sharks, manta rays, and turtles. Contribute to coral reef protection, create educational classes on marine ecology, and enjoy living on the beautiful southern coast.
  • Dolphin & Marine Conservation in Zanzibar: Engage in dolphin research and promote ethical tourism in Zanzibar. Monitor dolphins, collect coral bleaching data, teach conservation to local students, and immerse yourself in Swahili culture in a stunning tropical setting.
  • Shark Conservation in South Africa: Assist with Great White Shark conservation in Gansbaai, documenting shark activity and engaging in cage diving. Learn seamanship skills and contribute to eco-tourism initiatives in the Great White Shark capital of the world.
  • Whale Conservation in Mozambique: Participate in humpback whale research in Southern Mozambique. Conduct boat-based research, track whale behavior, and contribute to the preservation of their breeding grounds.

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)


Established in 1989, Involvement Volunteers International (IVI) is an Australian non-profit that’s championed global volunteer efforts for over three decades, with 25,000+ volunteers in 23 countries. They provide exceptional diving experiences in Borneo, Malaysia, designed for individuals passionate about marine life and underwater exploration. Their programs offer meals, comfortable hostel-style accommodation, 24/7 in-country support, and include all necessary project materials. Participants are thus provided with excellent opportunities for both immediate diving pursuits and long-term conservation efforts.

Explore their offerings here:

  • 2-Week PADI Diving Course: Immerse yourself in the world of diving with this comprehensive course in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo. Gain PADI Open Water and Advanced certifications, dive in the stunning Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, and experience snorkeling and island-hopping adventures.
  • 8-Week PADI Diving Internship: This extensive program in Kota Kinabalu transforms diving enthusiasts into professional Divemasters. Over 8 weeks, complete a series of PADI courses, including Open Water, Advanced, and Rescue Diver, culminating in the esteemed Divemaster certification.

Volunteering Solutions

Volunteer Forever - Volunteer and Intern in Spain

Volunteering with Volunteering Solutions as a certified diver offers an enriching experience that blends adventure, environmental conservation, and cultural immersion. Accommodation is provided in comfortable, culturally immersive settings, and meals are included. Participants also receive hands-on experience in vital marine conservation projects, access to some of the world’s most spectacular and less-explored marine sites, and necessary training for specific activities like coral baseline surveying or building artificial reef structures.

In these programs, you’ll explore unique underwater landscapes, gain valuable PADI dive training, and contribute significantly to marine conservation efforts.

  • Marine Conservation Volunteering in Nosy Komba Island, Madagascar: Engage in unparalleled marine conservation efforts on Madagascar’s Nosy Komba Island. This program offers extensive PADI dive training in some of the world’s most pristine, under-explored marine sites. Contribute to vital conservation research, like reef surveys and turtle monitoring, while living amidst Madagascar’s unique biodiversity.
  • Volunteer Marine Conservation Program in Tianyar, Bali: Dive into marine conservation in Bali’s quaint fishing village of Tianyar. Focus on rejuvenating its coral reefs through constructing artificial reef structures and educating the local community. This program offers a blend of environmental activism and cultural immersion, empowering local fishermen with sustainable practices and alternative livelihoods.

Global Vision International (GVI)

Volunteer Forever - Archaeological Dig & Excavation Programs

Founded in 1997, Global Vision International (GVI) is celebrated for sending over 35,000 volunteers abroad, distinguishing itself with a strong focus on sustainable and ethical volunteering programs. GVI’s initiatives are closely aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring that volunteers contribute to globally recognized efforts ethically. Here are a few of their amazing opportunities for PADI Divers:

  • PADI Divemaster and Marine Conservation Apprenticeships: A dynamic program offered in Mexico, Fiji, Thailand, and Seychelles, providing an exceptional opportunity to gain your PADI Divemaster certification while engaging in meaningful marine conservation. This 24-week apprenticeship encompasses training in coral reef restoration, research techniques, and dive leadership. Participants not only advance their diving careers but also contribute significantly to marine conservation efforts in these diverse locations. Program fees cover specialized training, PADI certifications, accommodation, meals, airport transfers, project equipment, 24-hour local and emergency support, career development opportunities, and more.

  • PADI Divemaster and Marine Conservation Dive Shop Apprenticeship: Embark on a unique journey to Mexico’s vibrant Caribbean coast, engaging in crucial coral reef preservation and earning your PADI Divemaster certification. This 24-week program immerses you in marine conservation, coral monitoring, and restoration research, offering a work placement at a renowned dive center. You’ll join an international team, contributing to meaningful coral reef research while developing professional diving expertise. 
  • PADI Instructor Apprenticeship: Over 30 weeks, transition from a recreational diver to a PADI Instructor, specializing in marine conservation. Based in Mexico, this comprehensive program includes a coral research focus, enabling you to become an advocate for marine protection while training new divers. Gain diverse skills in leading dives, managing operations, and teaching PADI courses in some of the world’s most beautiful underwater settings. 
  • PADI Diving and Marine Conservation Teen Volunteering: Designed for teens aged 15-17, this 2-week program in Mexico offers a glimpse into a career in marine conservation. Participants earn their PADI Open Water Diver qualification while learning about marine research methodologies and environmental challenges. The program includes hands-on involvement in coral, fish, and mangrove studies, alongside exploring the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef’s diverse marine life. 
  • Coral Reef Research in Fiji: Contribute to vital coral reef research and preservation efforts. This 2 to 12-week program focuses on combating coral bleaching and ensuring the diversity of marine life for future generations. Participants engage in daily dives, conducting benthic and fish target species surveys, and supporting community-based conservation efforts while gaining valuable marine ecosystem monitoring and data collection skills.

From Open Water to Open Opportunities


The world beneath the waves offers a spectacular array of opportunities for PADI-certified divers. Whether it’s participating in coral reef research in Fiji, embarking on a Divemaster apprenticeship in Mexico, or shaping a career through an instructor apprenticeship, each program opens doors to both adventure and meaningful contributions to marine conservation. These experiences not only enhance your diving skills but also deepen your understanding of the ocean’s ecosystems. 

As a PADI-certified diver, you have the unique chance to merge your passion for diving with a commitment to preserving our planet’s aquatic wonders. So, take the plunge and turn your diving certification into a tool for positive change, both for yourself and the underwater world!

Happy Diving!