Volunteering with Coral Restoration Foundation
Thank you for considering donating your time to our organization. Our volunteers are a critical part of our team at Coral Restoration Foundation, so we are always excited to welcome new team members. As a dive volunteer you could help with nursery work, outplanting on the reef, or checking on previously outplanted corals. If you are more interested in land based work, there are opportunities at our warehouse and Education Center in Key Largo—this could be anything from helping to build Coral Trees to providing outreach at our Education Center.
I am interested in volunteering with Coral Restoration Foundation as a diver, what are the next steps?
The next step is to identify how much time you would like to donate to Coral Restoration Foundation. Are you planning to be around for 6 months, 1 week, do you live here? If you can identify this when you reach out to the Volunteer Coordinator, it is immensely helpful.
If you are only planning to be here for a few days or a few weeks, the Recreational Dive Program might be a better fit. If you are going to be here for a longer period of time or are a South Florida resident becoming a regular volunteer might be the best option.
What is the difference between a Dive Program and the Volunteer Program?
A Dive Program is a one or two-day immersive experience that involves a lecture, hands on training, and dives on a charter boat of the group’s choosing facilitated by staff/interns. Dive programs are organized by a group who arrange a charter boat to take the divers out along with the Coral Restoration Foundation staff/interns. The cost is $50 per diver, per day. There is a discounted price for groups that are entirely student based of $35 per diver, per day.
The Volunteer Program involves divers who want to be involved on a (generally) long term basis. These volunteers participate in a ½ day training event and then dive off of the boats that belong to Coral Restoration Foundation. These divers usually participate in longer days on the water, up to 8 hours, and work alongside CRF staff/interns. These divers are asked to have their own equipment.
What are the requirements if I want to be a dive volunteer?
We ask all new dive volunteers to complete a dive release, fill out a medical evaluation, and if necessary obtain a dive physical with a physician’s signature. Additionally, we ask for copies of dive certification cards, proof of at least 30 dives, DAN insurance cards, First Aid/CPR training cards, and O2 administration cards. New volunteers also participate in a ½ day training event with the Coral Restoration Foundation staff. The training involves time at our Education Center and time at the pool.
Do I need my own dive equipment?
Yes, volunteers will need to provide their own dive equipment. This means BCD, regulator, weights, mask, fins, snorkel, and (preferably) dive computer. We will provide the tanks and tank fills. If you are diving October- April we suggest a 3-5mm wetsuit. As divers, we all understand the importance of well maintained gear. We ask that volunteers provide a receipt showing their gear has been serviced in the last year. If your gear is less than a year old, an itemized receipt showing the date of purchase will be great.
What will I do as a volunteer diver with Coral Restoration Foundation?
When you volunteer as a working diver, you will work alongside our staff and interns in the coral nursery and on the reef. You will be given a basic working knowledge during your training on how to work with corals in the nursery and how to outplant them on the reef. Your first day on the water, you will receive a boat/ safety orientation and be introduced to our warehouse facility.
How does the scheduling work? What is a typical daily schedule?
Currently, we use an online scheduling tool called Doodle. The online survey will be emailed to you weekly. In the email you can choose what days you are available and for which events (nursery dives, monitoring dives, outplanting dives). This gives the volunteers more ownership over what they do with their donated time. Once you become a volunteer, we ask that you give us 24 hours notice if you will need to cancel a dive. We confirm with divers by phone before each dive day and give as much notice as possible if we have to cancel the dives.
What if I want to be a land based volunteer?
If you would like to volunteer with us at our Education Center or warehouse, we ask that you are at least 16. This option is best for folks who are local to the South Florida area. We can use help in our office answering phones, greeting guests, and maintaining our 500-gallon saltwater fish tank. Volunteers can also visit our warehouse and help build coral trees—a unique experience!