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Marine Conservation Volunteer Project

Learn to scuba dive and then help with this Fuze Ecoteer Marine conservation volunteer project. Help restore corals and take photos of sharks and turtles for individual ID using their images.

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Why Choose This Project?

Our Marine Conservation Volunteer Project is the newest of all the FE established projects with an aim to preserve and restore coral reefs and seagrass beds around the islands. This project is perfect for you if you want to improve your diving skills or interested in coral reef restoration and conservation. You will also be able to learn valuable conservation and stakeholder engagement skills which are a must for any future conservationists.

Project Highlights

About the Project

The Perhentian Marine Research Station is a small scale research station which focuses on the practical aspects of marine research and conservation. This means that PMRS can accommodate a wide range of volunteers who undergo training in marine life identification and underwater survey techniques, before the acquisition of survey data.

What kind of research conducted is always based on what’s needed at the moment. However, our primary aim is to collect vital marine data through the mapping and health assessments of seagrass beds and coral reefs. Moreover, we also seek to collaborate and work with dive centres and local resorts for environmental conservation. Our team also works closely with the Marine Parks Department and Reef Check Malaysia. Learn more about the project and its impacts in 2019.

perhentian marine research station logo colour
To breathe underwater is a magical thing, and this is a great place to do it for the first time! If you’re already a diver, you can further improve your dive skills while learning about specific marine life and the challenges they face. You will learn a great set of skills that you can take anywhere to work to protect the ocean. Unique to many conservation projects, you will stay in the village, which is an amazing opportunity to learn about another culture and get to know the local people. - Lauren
I had an incredible time on the Perhentian Islands last year and the PMRS house was the perfect base! Located in the local village, the house allows you to interact with the local children and experience the Malay culture! The project staff were incredible, going out of their way to show you all the amazing dive sites and island experiences! The House and hosts leave you feeling relaxed and welcome for your entire stay! LOVED every minute of my stay, I'll definitely be back! - Megan
Really interesting and changes one's thinking. However the length of the program is not enough to do a lot (one needs to train for some of the activities) but it gives an insight on the required activities for conservation of coral reefs and related nature. And during this it provides useful experience, interesting connections to the local people, and lots of fun which we still talk about almost a year later. We actually want to go back to do something even more (less training and more action). Recommended for people who try to do something and want to be involved! - Peter
I stayed one month volunteering at the Project, allying conservation of the coral reef through surveys and awareness campaigns. It was the best holiday I ever had. A lot better than a simple hotel, I had the opportunity to live in the middle of a Malaysian village, see how they live, learn a bit of their language to communicate with them but also play with very cute kids. I really felt that everything was made for the volunteers the enjoy their stay. Food was very good, the house and the bathroom were clean, the equipment, of a very good quality.

I first thought I was going to dive! I quickly realize that there, diving is a unique experience! I felt my skills improving a lot there! Indeed I trained to control my buoyancy in a very precise way. I couldn't leave the place without thinking I would be back!

Volunteer Project Details

Conservation in Action

Arrival on Monday | Briefing and Orientation | Water confidence session and project initiation.

Week 1

Dive Course (if you are a Qualified Diver, you will start research training and survey immediately)

Week 2 onwards

  • Research Training and Survey Weeks – an example of the dives are below, but what you do depends on the needs of the project.
  • 1 survey skills & buoyancy dive
  • 2 coral nursery dives
  • 2 shark photo ID dives
  • 2 Reef Check Malaysia survey dives (fish/invertebrates & substrate/coral health)
  • 1 Seagrass Watch survey dive
  • Sundays – It’s time for you to wave goodbye to the island. If you are staying for more than a week, it is your day off! Have fun exploring the island or do more diving!
Read what one of our interns had to say about the project during her divemaster internship.

* Detailed itinerary will be provided after booking with us. 


If you haven’t taken your PADI Open Water certification, you soon will have! We utilize local dive schools to train our divers. Join us and you can be a certified diver in no time! Furthermore, for expert divers, we know you are constantly looking for ways to perfect your buoyancy. Hence, conducting research dives is a great way to raise your buoyancy game!  

Find out more about PADI and scuba diving here.

Seagrass Monitoring

Joining us in April or September means that you will get to be involved in the seagrass research and conservation project. We use the Seagrass Watch method for surveying seagrass. The survey is done to collect vital data. As a result, the data will then be analysed and compared with other seagrass beds around the world.

Are there any other methods that will be used?

In addition, you will also use quadrants to assess seagrass or will map the boundaries of the beds. This programme will also teach you vital research skills.

Coral Rehabilitation Methods

First and foremost, you will learn our method of developing artificial reefs and coral nurseries. This is done by transplanting coral fragments on to specifically designed bottle reefs. Another method that we use is the creation of coral pyramids out of coral rubble. It allows the improvement of the overall health of a degraded reef ecosystem.

Reef Diversity & Elasmobranch monitoring

The Reef Check surveying methodology will be used to help us with our ongoing monitoring of the coral reef health. The data we collect will build upon our previous years of research. Consequently, this will help us to understand species richness and abundance on our reefs. In addition, it also helps us to introduce, implement or influence effective conservation strategies.

Help to assist to establish our new elasmobranch monitoring scheme. This will involve the use of camera traps and diving to investigate shark and ray species found around the Perhentian islands. Moreover, this method also helps to collect data on their spatial distribution and population density.

Waste Management & Beach Cleanup

The next part of the programme is that you will also get to help out the team with their waste management efforts. We have an educational booth at Long Beach to educate tourists and locals alike on eco-snorkeling. Moreover, the team are also in constant contact with stakeholders around the island. As a result, this collaboration helps to ensure that the waste management system on the island can be sustainable. 

We have all seen the photos and videos and heard the story; a plastic straw stuck in the nose of a poor sea turtle. At our project, we commit to weekly beach clean-ups. This is done to ensure that the beach and ocean is clean and safe for marine life. 

How can I help?

Volunteers will help us during our beach clean-up and collect data on the clean up.  Not only that, the trash will then be sorted according to recyclable or non recyclable items.

Awareness Campaigns

We visit the local bays and brief tourists going on snorkel tours about how they can be more eco conscious while snorkelling. This is done weekly and is important to reduce harm to corals and marine lives.

Precious Plastic Machine

As part of education on plastic wastes, our team also work the Precious Plastic Machine. Through this initiative, plastic wastes of Type 2 and Type 5 are collected and made into something new.

During this programme, you will get to learn and go through the whole process yourself. What better way to reduce wastes!  See our products made from recycled plastic – Precious plastic products.

Malay Dinner

What better way to taste Malaysian food other than cooked by a local. You will get to have a taste of authentic Malay food at the house of one of the ladies of PILA i.e the Perhentian Ladies of Association.

The Malays are big on hospitality and having visitors at their house is always a great experience. This is also the perfect time to learn more about a new culture and to educate others about your own! What a way to see the world.

Starting Dates 

Any Monday in April until end of September for 2020 and 2021.

Non-qualified divers would have to volunteer for a minimum of 2 weeks. Qualified divers, on the other hand, may volunteer for a minimum of 1 week.

Malaysian Booking with dive course

1 week  Not Available

2 Weeks RM3,200 Shoulder RM4,000 Peak

3 Weeks RM4,100 Shoulder RM5,200 Peak

4 Weeks RM5,000 Shoulder RM6,200 Peak

All fees include return boat transfer, marine park fee, three meals per day, basic fan dormitory with shared bathroom, PADI scuba course or 8 dives per week, all activities.

Shoulder season = April, May and September
Peak season = June to August


Malaysian Booking with NO dive course

1 Week RM1,600 Shoulder RM2,200 Peak

2 Weeks RM2,200 Shoulder RM3,000 Peak

3 Weeks RM3,100 Shoulder RM4,200 Peak

4 Weeks RM4,000 Shoulder RM5,200 Peak


All fees include return boat transfer, marine park fee, three meals per day, basic fan dormitory with shared bathroom, 8 dives per week, all activities.

Shoulder season = April, May and September
Peak season = June to August

International Booking with dive course

1 week Not Available

2 Weeks RM5,440 Shoulder RM6,800 Peak

3 Weeks RM6,800 Shoulder RM8,600 Peak

4 Weeks RM8,300 Shoulder RM10,400 Peak

Longer duration’s are available upon request

All fees include return boat transfer, marine park fee, three meals per day, basic fan dormitory with shared bathroom, PADI scuba course then 8 dives per week, all activities and RM500 for carbon off-setting.

Shoulder season = April, May and September
Peak season = June to August

International Booking with NO Dive Course

1 Week RM3,000 Shoulder RM3,800 Peak

2 Weeks RM4,400 Shoulder RM5,800 Peak

3 Weeks RM5,800 Shoulder RM7,600 Peak

4 Weeks RM7,300 Shoulder RM9,400 Peak

Longer duration’s are available upon request

All fees include return boat transfer, marine park fee, three meals per day, basic fan dormitory with shared bathroom, 8 dives per week, all activities and RM500 for carbon off-setting.

Shoulder season = April, May and September
Peak season = June to August

Fees Breakdown


Project Fees


Diving Fees









  • Project fees include, project staff wages house rental and upkeep for 12 months, gear maintenance, staff food, staff logistics


Food in Perhentian is simple Malaysian dishes mixed with some Malaysian styled western foods like Burger Ramli, which are a must!

The volunteer programme package includes all daily meals:

Breakfast – Generally, for breakfast it’s simple toast, fruits or roti canai. (The Malaysian pancake a.k.a the Malaysian Flattened Croissant).

Lunch – Lunch is normally eaten out at local restaurants.

Dinner – Volunteers normally help to cook dinner with our project team and we eat together. Once a week, you will eat a delicious dinner when you go to the home of one of the villagers. This is the time for you to experience authentic Malay cooking and ask as many questions as you’d like.


Volunteers will stay at the Ecoteer’s Volunteer House, which has 3 sections/rooms with a communal toilet/ bathroom. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. A small safe is available for passport and/or money at Ecoteer House. Safe drinking water and fans also provided.

Other Facilities

Wi-fi internet access is available at the project house. Shops are available in the village to purchase toiletries, snacks, drinks, veg, chicken and fruits. For laundry, hand wash/washing machine is available at the Ecoteer House. Paid laundry services is also available in the village.  

Check out our other projects!

Our Merchandises

You can support the Fuze Ecoteer projects and supported organisations by buying their merchandise.  A minimum of 60% of your fee goes directly towards the conservation cause linked to that product.  The other percentage is used for production costs.

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