Learn with PADI conservation diving in the stunning Perhentian Islands!
You can learn to dive with PADI conservation diving at the Perhentian Marine Research Station. This is an established marine project in partnership with Reef Check Malaysia and the national Marine Parks Department. Following your PADI course, you can join the dive team. Then you can do a range of conservation activities, such as coral reef restoration and seagrass surveys.
Marine conservation for beginners and qualified divers!
As a PADI conservation diving volunteer, you will get to contribute to several hands-on activities, including surveying and mapping the local seagrass (a vital feeding ground to sea turtles) and developing artificial coral reefs.
Moreover , you can research the effectiveness of the new reefs as a home to fish. The project team collaborates with University Malaysia Terengganu and Plymouth University. All data is actively being used to shape decisions about the protection of the coral reefs and seagrass beds in the park by the local authorities.
During your stay, you will enjoy the local culture of the village you are based in. You may also get involved in the local community work such as Eco Snorkle guide training, beach clean ups, buoyline maintenance, recycling and other activities.
Seagrass Surveys and Mapping
Sea turtles depend on seagrass beds as vital feeding grounds. Since 2015, project staff and volunteers have been researching the local sea turtle population and have made a remarkable discovery that only the migrating turtles (some from as far as Vietnam) use these feeding grounds, but turtles that come to nest here do not. More information is needed about the location and boundaries of these seagrass beds, so they can be mapped and studied.
You will help the staff to continue this crucial task by conducting dive surveys to identify the seagrass beds and map them using GPS. Working to global standards set by Seagrass-Watch, you will determine the percentage of cover and the condition of seagrass beds around the islands. Research undertaken through conservation diving will also shed light on the epiphytes (algae) that live on the seagrass.
Assessment of the Artificial Reef
In 2013, several structures were sunk on the edges of the marine park, thus creating new fishing grounds for the local villagers. The aim is to reduce the pressure on the natural reefs where the villagers are currently. These new artificial reefs must now be assessed for the quantity of fish and their condition. Volunteers will assist in snorkel surveys to count fish and do video transects to establish the Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs).
Information is also being collected to better understand the impacts on the local marine environment. Depending on timing, you may have the opportunity to collect data on sea temperature and water factors such as quality, turbidity, salinity, wave height and others.
PADI Dive Course
Whether you’re an absolute beginner diver or want to upgrade your diving skills, our PADI dive centre partners can support you. Alternatively, you could do the PADI Open Water course in the UK before you travel. There is also the choice of Advanced or Rescue Diving courses. Each day, volunteers will have the chance to go on 1 or 2 dives in the morning and then the afternoon is reserved for data input or analysis, or more diving if needed.
Week 1 is generally dedicated towards getting your diving certification if you are a beginner diver. For more experienced divers, you will be trained in research surveys. The following weeks will be for the marine surveys.
Reef and Beach Cleanups
You will get involved with reef and beach cleanups once a week, which is usually conducted in collaboration with local dive shops, other Ecoteer projects, local authorities and different conservation organisations. The rubbish collected will be sorted on the ground, and the plastics are stored to be upcycled using the on-site plastic recycling machine.
Staying in the local village, you will gain a good understanding of the local culture. You may also get involved in local community work including Eco Snorkle guide training, buoyline maintenance, recycling and other activities.
In 2018, the project achieved the following: