Gili air is one of three small islands located north-west of Lombok. The island is famed for its laid-back lifestyle and as we are located in the Coral Triangle, we have an incredible diversity of marine life. Local food is delicious, and we can help you find affordable accommodation in one of the many homestays on the island. No cars, no motorbikes, just as island life is supposed to be!

The Blue Marlin Dive center on Gili Air has established itself as one of the most professional, yet personal, dive schools around. Continuing on with the ethos of the sister Blue Marlin Dive Centers which have been running for 25 years, the school on Gili Air has also taken things a step further by becoming a Conservation Diver Training Center. The program was founded Conservation Diver Instructor Leon Haines, who has since co-founded Reefy, a company developing engineering solutions for groundbreaking innovation in reef and coastal protection. Leon remains as program patron and collaborator, with operational control passed to Marco Rodriguez in 2023. They offer several of the Conservation Diver certification courses, and are adding new and innovative projects all the time.

What we offer

Currently, our center offers the core Conservation Diver courses, including:

1, 2 and 3-Week Conservation Diver Training Courses

At Blue Marlin Dive Gili Air we teach a 1, 2, and 3-week coral reef conservation courses every month.

During this time you can earn Conservation Diver certifications in:

One-week program: Reef Science Week

During the first week of the Conservation Diver course we focus on the Ecological Monitoring Program (EMP).
Every day will start with a lecture on the day’s topic, followed by a dive to put the theory into practice. You will learn the ins and outs of the tropical coral reef ecosystems, how to monitor invertebrate and fish species and how-to asses the health of corals.

Two-week program: Artificial Reef Week

During our second week, we will focus on Coral Restoration and Artificial Reefs. During this week, we take our new understanding of the reef and put it into action. After reviewing the theory and techniques involved in reef restoration, you will help in the design, built, and maintenance of coral nurseries and artificial reef structures. Working underwater to restore coral reefs is one of the most fun, challenging and rewarding things you will ever do!

Four-week program: Advanced Ecological Monitoring Program

During the third and fourth week of the program, the candidates will dive deeper in the world of marine ecology by undertaking several specialty courses, including Coral Predator: Population, Management and Monitoring, Giant Clams Nurseries & Population Studies, Coral Disease and Compromised Health Monitoring, and Advanced Coral Taxonomy, whilst practicing what was reviewed during week one and two, by continue retrieving data through the EMP. Moreover, all participants will have the opportunity to continue with their coral restoration project by deploying their artificial reef structure and replenishing it with coral fragments.


After completing all three weeks of the program, you can apply for a 3-month intern position with Conservation Diver Indonesia to gain more experience in day to day conservation activities, work on the development of existing monitoring and restoration work or focus on a research project/thesis for university.

1 day courses and workshops

Discover Conservation Diving

Not enough time? This one-day course will introduce you to coral reef ecology and monitoring reef species along a permanent transect line. You will earn the Coral Reef Ecology and Monitoring Certification.  You can choose to learn and practice on either Fish or invertebrate species.

Seahorse Survey

Join us to Seahorse Bay in Lombok and learn about the evolution, ecology, threats, survey techniques and identification of seahorses. In Seahorse Bay we can find 3 species of seahorse and many different pipefish closely related to seahorses. After a lecture the evening before we will conduct a roving diver survey to monitor the seahorse population in the bay. All data is shared to the global online database at iSeahorse,com. By completing this course, you will earn the Seahorse Ecology and Monitoring certification. 

Nudibranch and Sea Slug Survey

Sea Slugs are some of the most ornate and diverse organisms found on and around reefs. In this 1 day course, you will learn about the ecological and economic value of sea slugs, as well as how to find and identify them. This very interesting and fun course is a great way to learn more about these charismatic animals and set you on a life-long path of finding and observing new species wherever you may dive. Also included in this course is the Nudibranch Ecology & ID certification.

Sea Turtle Ecology & Monitoring

Turtles are among the most charismatic marine species in the world; for different cultures, turtles represent omens and symbols of good luck; within the ecosystem, sea turtles have key functional roles.  The Sea turtle Ecology & Monitoring course reviews the evolutionary history, anatomy, behaviour, and current threats of marine turtles. To complement, study cases of monitoring and conservation efforts will be analyzed and discussed.

Our center is privileged to be located in an area where it is extremely common to see them swimming around during our dives; in fact The Gili Islands have been lately called the “Turtle Capital of The World”. During the practical dive session*, the student will be able to observe their behavior and to register data and photographic material that will be used later to identify each individual. Registering photographs and key information of sea turtle encounters will influence the effectiveness of conservation programs, aiding the local and global marine turtle population.

*Two modalities available: free diving and SCUBA. Please contact us to inquire current modality.

Shark Ecology & Population Studies

Sharks have been swimming in our oceans for millions of years and their anatomy has barely changed, demonstrating their evolutionary success. However, in the last decades, shark populations have drastically decreased worldwide. The Shark Ecology & Population Studies overviews the basic ecology of sharks, including behavior, anatomy and distribution. Furthermore, human activities that endanger shark populations are also discussed. At the end of the course, the student will successfully survey and identify common shark species present around the Gili Islands and determine and employ the adequate conservation approach.

Already a conservation diver?

If you are already conservation diver certified from another training center you can either jump in on courses you have not yet done but do have the prerequisites for or inform about tailored experiences, such as designing and building your own reef and nursery.

For whom?

The courses are designed for anybody who is interested in coral reefs and conservation. You do not need a background in biology or science to start the course as we start from the very basics. If you’re on a gap year this course is a perfect way to get a taste of marine science and what it means to work in hand-on conservation.

University Students

Combining the three-week course together with an internship and your own research project can give you university credit for global placements or other scheduled internships abroad for students of (Marine) Biology, Oceanography, Conservation Biology, Zoology, Sustainability, Tourism, Coastal Zone Management and Environmental Sciences degrees.

Boost your professional dive resume!

Divemaster or Instructor? Diversify your CV, as a certified Conservation Diver you will stand out from the crowd with in depth knowledge of the environment you work in every day.

Not SCUBA certified yet? No problem!

Blue Marlin Gili Air is a 5-star PADI career development center. We offer all dive certifications from Open-water Diver to Instructor level. A prerequisite to join the conservation program is being Advanced Open-water certified (through any organization).

Interested? Contact Blue Marin directly at

Book now

Contact us directly at

Instagram: @bluemarlinconservation

Facebook: Blue Marlin Conservation

Course Prices

CoursePrice (in Millions of DR) 2023
1 Day Speciality Course certification1.8
Week 1 Program certification13
Week 1 & 2 Program certification19
4 week Internship certification28
1st extra month internship 14
2nd extra month internship 12
3rd extra month internship9

All prices include dive equipment rental, boat movement, learning materials and certifications.

reef survey conservation diver