It takes a lot of people to look after the 71% of our planet which is covered in water, and there are countless ocean charities doing this incredibly important work. As divers we all have a motivation and a duty to protect the underwater world, so if you’re looking for ocean charities to donate to you’re in the right place!
We’ve included marine charities on large and small scales - all of which have been nominated by our Girls that Scuba Facebook community - as we believe it takes projects of all sizes to truly have an impact. This list goes from larger charities such as the Marine Conservation Society, down to small projects encouraging minority ethnicities and women into scuba diving and ocean conservation.
If you’re not currently in a financial position to donate to these organisations, there are still ways you can help. Check out their websites and follow them on social media, share their projects on your own social platforms, spread the word of their missions to family members or friends who perhaps are able to donate, or even start a fundraiser on their behalf (such as a sponsored event).
Charities encouraging intersectionality in marine science and scuba
Founded by four Black female shark researchers, this charity is doing incredible work to promote diversity and inclusion in a space which they have found “largely inaccessible for women like [them]”. Your contribution will help them to run a variety of programs in the future - including sponsored internships, workshops and summer camps - and in turn this important work will help women of colour to contribute their valuable knowledge in the field of marine science.
This non-profit organisation located in both Canada and South Florida is creating a brighter future in the world of STEM. By creating immersive experiences in science and nature, they’re encouraging more girls+ (the “+” indicating inclusivity of gender minorities) to become environmental leaders in their communities. Donating will help them to offer free, subsidised and paid programs in their two locations.
This foundation runs a number of inspiring programs including STREAMS, enriching the knowledge of girls aged 9-17 in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. Across the course of the program the girls build underwater remote vehicles to study underwater ecosystems, whilst developing their scuba skills along the way. The Black Girls Dive Foundation also does important work to ensure more young black girls learn how to swim.
The Women Divers Hall of Fame recognises outstanding achievers in the dive industry, in broad fields such as archaeology, media, safety, conservation and education. They run annual scholarships to allow women (and men) to develop their scuba skills, including grants for marine conservation, underwater archaeology, and training as a disabled diver or instructor. Donating will allow them to continue to offer these grants.
Working with adults, children and veterans with disabilities, Diveheart has paved the way for adaptive scuba diving. The weightless environment of the underwater world has incredible power for people who may struggle on land, and by training disabled divers and training certified divers to become adaptive buddies or instructors, they’re making scuba diving much more accessible for a huge variety of people.
By running camps for young girls, Sunshine Mermaids’ aim is to provide “the tools to increase self-esteem, self-awareness/defense, and empowerment”. This is integrated with an appreciation of biodiversity and conservation, and a number of their camps involve teaching these young women to scuba dive.
Diving With a Purpose provides education, training, certification and field experience to young people and adults in order to conserve and protect submerged heritage resources. They have a particular interest in protecting and documenting shipwrecks from the African slave trade, and connecting to the maritime history of African American people. Donating will allow them to continue to provide free training to young divers in locations such as Mozambique and Costa Rica.
Working in small Mexican fishing communities, this charity hopes to create a new generation of conservationists by providing education and opportunities to children. They aim to inspire the children to create solutions for sustainability, and to expose them to alternative economic opportunities rather than fishing. Donating will allow them to continue with their vision for a 3-year program to facilitate this education.
Marine conservation charities
With tourism having taken a hit, local marine parks such as the Roatan Marine Park aren’t receiving the volume of donations they usually would. This community based non-profit is dedicated to conservation within the Bay Islands National Marine Park, and inspires and empowers communities and visitors to conserve the underwater environment. You can donate a one-off contribution or continued monthly donation to allow them to continue to protect this popular scuba diving paradise.
Many women in our Girls that Scuba community speak highly of their experience volunteering for this international marine conservation organisation. They “implement hands-on programs to involve local communities in conservation-focused activities”, with lots of our members having taken part in their Volunteer Fish Survey Project. By donating you’ll allow this important citizen science project to continue to thrive.
As many divers know, advocating for more marine protected areas is imperative to protecting the future of our oceans, and this is precisely what Love the Oceans is doing in Mozambique. As it’s an important home to many species of sharks, rays, and even humpback whales, they’re hoping to establish a MPA in the Inhambane Province - a mission which has been recognised by Sylvia Earle as well as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Supporting them financially will help them continue this process, as well as funding their other projects including teaching primary school children about marine resource management, building classrooms, and teaching children to swim.
The Marine Megafauna Foundation works tirelessly to protect the largest creatures of our oceans, and their impressive list of achievements even includes identifying a new species of manta ray. Their approach is to “think global, act local”, working alongside local communities in order to provide effective strategies for the future of animals such as whalesharks and mantas. Their research, education and conservation wouldn’t be possible without your continued support.
Started by a community of divers in East Anglia in 1988, BDMLR was initially set up to respond to a mass mortality event amongst common seals. In the years that have followed, they have become the experts in rescuing marine wildlife - including large cetaceans such as whales, dolphins and porpoises. Every year they train over 1000 Marine Mammal Medics who then become part of a country-wide network of volunteers ready to respond to strandings or animals in distress. Supporting them will allow them to continue this outstanding work by funding important equipment such as life-size dolphin models and blood testing kits for use by vets, as well as continuing their 24/7 hotline availability.
Mission Blue is well known for inspiring protection of our oceans thanks to its legendary founder and President, oceanographer Sylvia Earle. Through encouragement of marine protected areas - which they refer to as Hope Spots - they hope to form a network large enough to restore the ocean. With your donation they can continue leading expeditions, expanding public outreach, and supporting their scientific partners.
The MCS “work to ensure our seas are healthy, pollution free and protected” through a variety of avenues, predominantly focused on leading political, cultural and social change. They hope to minimise the damage caused by fishing (they’re well known for their Good Fish Guide, encouraging sustainability in fish consumption), and prevent litter and pollution ending up in our waters. Their donation page lists exactly what can be achieved with different donation amounts, and if you’d like to donate as a gift for someone you can even adopt a turtle.
Shark conservation charities to donate to
Shark Guardian is a UK based charity which has recently made a splash with their Finspire Change UK campaign, petitioning the UK government to ban the currently legal importation of up to 20kg of shark per person. Their work resulted in over 115,000 signatures meaning that the issue will be debated in parliament. This is one small campaign amongst their global projects, all of which are rooted in education, conservation and research to protect the future of sharks. With your donations they can continue their mission to save our sharks.
Founded by female diver Madison Stewart, Project Hiu is a unique project which aims to provide alternative income to fishermen through tourism. Shark fishermen are often persecuted by people in the Global North for their choice of trade, but through compassionate storytelling and filmmaking Project Hiu shows that these men have no choice but to take on this dangerous work. They also share important films about the demand which is at the source of this issue, aiming to educate people about the toxicity of shark meat and the detrimental effect of shark fishing above and below the surface. Whilst their eco-tourism activities are currently on hold, donations mean that they can continue to support the communities of shark fishermen and their families.
Gills Club, connected to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, is another non-profit encouraging young girls and women into STEM - this time specifically through making an impact on how sharks are perceived by the public. Their events connect aspiring shark scientists with forward thinking women in the field, and your donations will help them inspire even more passionate young shark lovers.