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Doing what you love while helping the planet sounds like a win-win. From reef checks to volunteering, here’s how you can support ocean conservation by scuba diving. 

Can you do what you love and help the planet? You can help by diving, supporting healthier oceans, and helping promote conservation. From reef checks to voluntourism, here are some ways to support ocean conservation while still enjoying your dive.  


Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) is a non-profit group that conducts fish counts and sea life surveys. It relies on ordinary divers to track the number and kinds of fish they see and then submit the data to REEF. By keeping track of fish, you can help scientists better understand the ocean and thus help regulatory agencies determine appropriate protections. 

Become a member! REEF members include divers and non-divers alike, all with an interest in the marine environment. As a REEF member you will receive our monthly e-News, Making it Count, a REEF member number, and access to member-only content on the REEF website such as archived Fishinars. If you do become a surveying member, you can use your member number to track your personal survey data and generate you life list of fish sightings. And the best part is, membership in REEF is FREE! Click here to become a REEF member.

You can start doing REEF surveys right away. Just visit our online store to get free scan forms and information about survey materials. Surveys can be conducted on your own or as part of an organized REEF Field Survey. These one-week trips are a great way to get started in fish watching. Between survey dives, enjoy fish identification presentations by expert fish watchers, learn the most successful surveying strategies, participate in informative discussions, and get plenty of exciting fish behavior tips. You will be amazed how much you learn and how enjoyable diving will be with your expanded knowledge of marine wildlife. Experienced members can also participate in special Survey Trips as part of REEF’s Advanced Assessment Team

After participating in REEF’s Marine Conservation Internship, exceptional participants may be offered an extended opportunity to participate in the Leadership Intern program. Lead Interns gain in-depth experience and hone their career skills in a specific area while working closely with a REEF staff mentor throughout the duration of their internship. They provide training and support for incoming Marine Conservation Interns and also gain experience in nonprofit management and operations by participating in projects that support REEF’s overall mission and marine conservation initiatives

Professional development is a focus throughout the program. The program includes opportunities for guidance on resume and other career planning documents, creating measurable goals and objectives for skill development, and recurring evaluation sessions with supervisors for constructive feedback.

**As of 2022, the Leadership Intern Program was replaced with the REEF Marine Conservation Fellow Program. Visit the Conservation Fellow Program webpage for more information.


Most divers have seen trash on the beach and underwater—participate in a beach cleanup or underwater cleanup to help alleviate the problem

Make every dive count by diving against debris. PADI’s Project AWARE has developed an easy tracking program for divers, encouraging them to remove marine debris. This program improves the ocean’s health through hands-on efforts and provides essential information. Understanding the locations, quantities, and types of trash we collect helps create global policies.  Take action here.   Wear your gloves too!

PADI® and PADI AWARE® are committed to saving the ocean togetherThis starts with proactively working to tackle key ocean threats like habitat destruction, climate change,overfishing, and land-based pollution. Divers are uniquely positioned to bring to the surface what is beneath the waves, acting as the first responders to help drive systemic solutions to press ocean conservation problems.

This year, they are taking that partnerships vision to the next level with a commitment to mobilize one billion PADI Torchbearers to be a force for good. The Torchbearer movement will be guided by the Torchbearer 5 Community Goals Framework. To be a Torchbearer means you take action with both fins on and fins off. PADI AWARE has worked closely with the PADI team to support and drive these goals with relevant actions you can take now to help protect the ocean.


Likened to the fish survey is this reef-monitoring program called ReefBase. Divers assist scientists by monitoring coral reefs for a comprehensive information system. Scientists must acquire a lot of data to understand the diversity and vitality of reefs. This data also offers insight into the effects of global warming and coral bleaching.  


Every person can positively influence other divers’ behavior, especially dive pros. Pro programs help reduce harmful impacts on the ocean and teach divers how to scuba more environmentally friendly dives. Being a role model and spreading this knowledge are the most straightforward ways to lead ocean conservation. 


Divers can contribute to ocean studies, including lionfish control, coral farming, and more. Searching online will also give many results. You’ll find multiple projects across the marine field that accept volunteers. 


Dedicated eco-resorts and operators are spreading worldwide, and their message is a marriage of ocean protection and unforgettable experiences. By spending your dollars at businesses making impactful strides toward sustainability, you are safeguarding our ocean.  


Every day the ocean is under attack from harmful human activities and manufactured debris, and each dive allows you to help.  

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