Caribbean Reef Buddy is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and understanding of our unique marine life. Throughout our work our aim is to enhance conservation and scientific knowledge, while inspire people and lead by example, encourage environmental awareness and individual development.
All projects are fully supervised. You will have the opportunity to take part in coral reef health impact assessments, data gathering, lionfish hunting, coral nursery work and beach clean up projects. Gain credit for your volunteering: we can provide evaluations and recommendations for your college or university.
July 2018 saw the establishment of Caribbean Reef Buddy's new elkhorn coral nursery. Since then, we have added staghorn coral species. In 2023, we will be expanding our nursery to include more coral species and a Research project. Volunteers help is needed to clean & maintain the coral nursery tables and trees, check on coral fragment health, and help with the eventual coral out planting on Carriacou's reefs.
This beginner-friendly project aims to teach you techniques to improve your underwater photography skills while assessing the diversity of macroinvertebrates of Carriacou. Discover the world of nudibranchs and other marine macroinvertebrates that often get overlooked. Learn about nudibranch & sea slug taxonomy and ecology, and help search for potentially new and under-reported species.
The coral reef systems around Carriacou comprise a beautiful and biodiverse coral reef ecosystem on which the population of this island relies. Though still teeming with life, increasing stress due to over-fishing and invasive species could ultimately threaten their collapse! Coral reef survey dives provide continuous data on biodiversity and the long-term health of the reefs thus helping inform decision making in regard to how reef areas are used and protected. Volunteers are trained to help gather and submit data using ReefCheck methods.
Pelagic marine predators face unprecedented challenges and uncertain futures. Overexploitation and climate variability impact the abundance and distribution of top predators in our oceans. As a Reef Buddy volunteer, you will help monitor local predator behaviour and distribution using BRUVs. To date, the Carriacou Lionfish Containment Program has helped to remove over 4000 lbs of invasive lionfish from local reefs. The Invasive Lionfish Containment Program is an ongoing, all-year-round activity supported by our volunteers, local fishermen, and restaurants.
Caribbean Reef Buddy alumna Bianca Urbl talks about her experiences as a marine conservation volunteer, her love of the ocean, and the reason she returned to Carriacou to become a Divemaster.
If you would like to chat to one of our program coordinators about options for your volunteer program or if you want to find out more about becoming a Divemaster, ask us to give you a call (opens a new window).
Caribbean Reef Buddy is the perfect place for anyone to go if they’re passionate about diving or marine conservation. It’s the perfect mix of being busy diving, doing conservation projects and having free time to relax, socialize and explore the island/marine life. If you’re scared of going alone… don’t be! Everyone who works at the dive shop are so friendly and welcoming. Not to mention everyone else I met there, whether it was the divemaster interns or other volunteers, were quick to welcome me into the group. Most people were in the same position, as in travelling solo, so everyone was eager to make friends and socialize and just have a great time! I originally joined the programme just to do volunteering but whilst I was out there, I took the opportunity to do my Rescue Diver course. Doing a dive course at Deefer is definitely recommended as they’re very thorough and efficient whilst always keeping things fun! If you are a volunteer you stay with the most amazing hosts, Gary and Bev, who cook the MOST AMAZING food you’ll ever taste! They are also the nicest and most caring people. If it’s your first time travelling away from home, they’ll make sure you’re comfortable and looked after.
The only issue you’ll have volunteering with Caribbean Reef Buddy is you’ll never want to leave!!!
Caribbean Reef Buddy have created the perfect programme for anyone interested in marine conservation, understanding the local eco system and providing the tools and skills necessary to reduce the impact we’re having on oceans.
My wife and I came to Carriacou in 2018 for 8 weeks to work on the conservations projects they run here (there a several projects running in parallel) and earn our Divemaster qualifications. The island is a slice of paradise, it is removed from the resort style living that’s conjured when one thinks of the Caribbean and is instead blessed with pristine long beaches, lush green forests and some of the most spectacular diving sites in the world.
The staff at Deefer Diving (where CRB is based) are professional, experienced and courteous. They are also amazing fun and can teach anyone to get in the water and enjoy themselves while also learning about the environment. You arrive thinking of them as your instructors and leave with friends you will keep forever.
I’ve already returned to Carriacou to dive with the team again and I know that this is a place I will continue to come back to, anyone interested in conservation, diving, learning and having an amazing time should do the same.
I joined the volunteer program for an 8 week period to go from a rescue diver to a divemaster. Before I arrived there had been 3 volunteers who had already been on the program for a few weeks. I was immediately welcomed into both the group of volunteers and the group of staff at Deefer. As I progressed on the program I was supported through the course by the staff and given all the aid I needed to progress through and come out a competent dive professional. Alongside this I was able to be involved in a great range of conservation work from apex predator monitoring to building coral nurseries. This was all fantastic experience for me as someone who is interested in conservation and our underwater world. The program as a whole was an amazing experience where i got to develop great friendships, develop myself personally and as a diver and get involved in a large amount of conservation work which actually makes a difference. Definitely a life changing experience that I could not recommend the program more to anyone who loves diving and the underwater world.
When I came to Carriacou I had never dove nor traveled by myself before, not to mention to a completely foreign country. I came to this program nervous but excited for the coming weeks on the island. As soon as I arrived I instantly felt welcomed by the staff and other members of the program and my nerves seemed to melt away. The staff were all proficient and incredibly enthusiastic about their work, making the work fun and very successful. By the end of my time there, I took part in many conservation activities, expanded my knowledge of the reef systems and diving a hundred-fold, and felt as though I was a part of a second family. Throughout the program, the staff led many fun activities around the island beyond diving - such as a hike up to Chapeau Carre, and a trek to paradise beach through the beautiful mangrove forest. I was truly heartbroken to leave Carriacou and Caribbean Reef Buddy at the end of my stay, and if I had the chance I'd probably stay down there forever. If I had the chance to do this program all over again, I would definitely choose to stay for 16 weeks instead of just 8.
I cannot express how much I loved my time during the Caribbean Reef Buddy Program! I came into the program with no experience with being under water and in no time I was diving alongside the other volunteers without any trouble. Within my four weeks, I gained a number of certifications from PADI Advanced Open Water to Caribbean Lionfish Containment. The staff is extremely experienced in diving and their dedication towards marine conservation is amazing.
The island itself is quite literally paradise. From beautiful beaches to stunning dive sites, every moment feels like a picture from a postcard. The locals are extremely welcoming, making the island feel like home.
I could keep raving about this program but I'll keep it simple by saying that the only downside of my experience is that I was not able to stay longer. If you are looking for a program to begin diving, learn more about marine conservation or make amazing memories then this is the program for you!
The Divemaster course that CRB offer is undeniably an extraordinary experience. From gaining multiple PADI qualifications to helping take care of the delicate ecosystem myself, it was a truly unique and rewarding experience. As well as being under the water, there are plenty of other activities offered above it, climbing the highest peak on the island, having a beach BBQ, or heading up to Tobago Cays (where we found Baby Blacktip Reef Sharks!). The Divemaster course is spread out over a very manageable 3 weeks, so there is room to change plans around if need be, and the tuition received from all of the team at CRB has made me a far far better diver. Inevitably, the island got under my skin and it didn’t take long for me to extend my stay to 3 months. Carriacou - a true tropical paradise, is free of chainstores, huge supermarkets or any urbanisation. The locals (known as Kayak’s) encourage a safe and friendly atmosphere, making your stay more relaxing and even more enjoyable.