At Marine Conservation Philippines we try to accomplish a lot of things underwater. We build artificial reefs to establish habitats and to promote tourism, which in turn generates jobs and profit for the local communities. Using scientific diving methods we monitor fluctuations in fish stocks, we create habitat maps, we help build artificial reefs and recover ghost nets, we do various survey dives as requested by the local government or the DENR (Department of Natural Resources) and we help to survey and establish marine conservation areas.
All of these underwater activities require SCUBA diving. We provide quality dive training for all our volunteers, and we of course warmly welcome people who are already licensed scuba divers. The particulars of your involvement with the projects we run and the dive training you will get, depends on how long you can stay with us. We offer all the core PADI courses as well as a number of PADI specialties, and if you have no prior dive experience or certificate, you’ll be using the first week to acquire your PADI open water diver license.
The speed at which you’ll learn diving depends on how fast you develop. Generally speaking we take longer to teach the course than in most recreational diveshops as our work is important, and the task-loading of scientific diving is more taxing than normal recreational SCUBA diving. While a three or four day course may be enough for entry level recreational diving, we take our time to educate capable, competent and safe divers. As such we set aside the whole first week for the Open Water Course and a number of extra excursion dives for additional buoyancy training and safety drills. Even if you cannot stay and volunteer very long with us, you’ll appreciate the extra effort that goes into your training.
After your initial dive training, you’ll start participating in the various projects we run, where you will receive on-the-job training for the particular skill set needed for the job. One of the more demanding tasks is doing manual survey diving, where you record your observations on an underwater slate. For this job, you’ll need a good knowledge of marine biology, so you can accurately record your findings. We also do what is know as video-transects, where you use our computers and library to identify the recorded fish on video afterwards under the guidance of our science officer.
The longer you stay, the more dive training you can enroll in and take advantage of. Through your volunteer fee you have already paid for the instruction, but you will need to pay for the manuals the certification fee which goes to PADI. After the open water course, you can progress to Advanced Open Water Diver and Rescue Diver. Our policy is that you can enrol in one PADI scuba course for each four week segment (or start of one) you volunteer with MCP. If you’re a non diver and stay with us for six weeks for example, you could do both the Open Water and the Advanced Open Water Course. The cost of materials and certification for scuba courses can be found here.
For divers who consider working in the recreational SCUBA diving business or in the field as diving safety officers in NGOs and academe, we offer PADI Divemaster training. We recommend you set at least two months aside for this, partly because a lot of your time will be spent with conservation efforts and partly because we think it’s prudent to teach to a very high level, to acknowledge the fact that as a divemaster you’re in charge in other people’s safety.
* We will provide you with references detailing the exact training you’ve received. The decision to award credit is solely at the discretion of your university or college