Choosing a marine conservation holiday

How to choose a marine conservation holiday


WHICH HOLIDAY IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

On the land or in the water?


All projects will accept that you are giving up your free time and that you want to make a valid contribution to their initiative, but how you make that contribution depends mainly upon whether you want to work under the water, or outside of it. First, ask yourself if you’re a diver, and if you’re not then ask yourself if diving is something that you’ve always wanted to do.

If you’re already a diver, do you want to build on that that skill and use it to do something that will really benefit the environment? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then it’s likely marine conservation in the water – helping out with reef protection work, collecting data, fish ID sessions and surveys – is the right holiday for you. These trips largely involve early morning starts, up to three dives a day and lectures, presentations and talks in the evening.

Research, research and research again


The accommodation, level of involvement with the local community and amount of time you’ll spend working throughout the day or night varies greatly with each different trip, so the most important thing you can do when choosing a marine conservation holiday is research as much as you can. Speak to your tour operator in detail and find out what the aims of the project are and what activities you will be doing on a daily basis, but also what they’ve already achieved, so you can get an idea of what past volunteers have helped to make happen. It’s also a good idea to ask where the data is going – is it being fed into local marine fisheries departments, or being used in collaboration with local or international universities? You want to ensure that your time, money and energy is being made the most of and that the initiative is making progress in a conservation area that you feel passionate about.

Finding a marine conservation trip that matches both your own interests and your skill level is as important as your enthusiasm and commitment while you’re there – match the holiday to your own expectations and not only will you learn and achieve loads, but you’ll also have lots of fun with a group of like minded people while doing it.
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If you'd like to chat about marine conservation or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
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Advice on how to choose a marine conservation holiday


Expert advice from our suppliers

Anne Smellie, from our supplier, Oyster Worldwide, shares her advice on how to choose a marine conservation holiday:
“If you are looking to do a project, you need to go with a company or organisation that thoroughly briefs you on all aspects of the trip, so that your expectations are managed and correct from the outset. If that doesn’t happen you could think you’re booking something completely different to what it actually isn’t and you’ll arrive disillusioned and unhappy, plus the project won’t be happy with you because you will have turned up with all of the wrong expectations. It’s the tour company’s responsibility to make sure you’re prepared, so it’s essential to ask as many questions as you like and find out why the conservation is happening and what sort of things you’ll be doing to support the work.”
Andy Woods-Ballard, from our supplier, GVI, shares his advice on how to choose a marine conservation holiday: “There are different types of marine conservation programmes; what we offer is very specifically a volunteering programme where people will be getting trained up thoroughly and get their hands dirty doing survey work on a day to day basis, so you need to be sure how much real involvement you want. The bones of marine conservation though is whether or not you’re diving – there’s terrestrial, coastal work, there’s boat-based work and there’s diving based work and if you’re diving you need to look carefully at the minimum durations that different organisations are offering, so you can ensure that you feel you have enough time to become a good enough diver, a safe enough diver, and a knowledgeable enough diver to get decent work out of your trip.”
Photo credits: [dive research: Julia Calderwood] [set square: Julia Calderwood] [mussel in lab: Julia Calderwood] [researcher: Julia Calderwood] [seaweed collection: Julia Calderwood]
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