Scouts began exploring the clear waters of South Florida long before an official national “base” was established. These trips — often by sailboat — were organized by the South Florida Council in the early 1970s as the “Florida Gateway to High Adventure” trips.
It wasn’t until 1979 that the BSA acquired property for a base in Islamorada, opening in 1980 as the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base. The base has since grown to include the Brinton Center, Big Munson Island, the Bahama Sea Base and St. Thomas (as recent as 2014).
Thousands of Scouts and Venturers explore the southern waters of the Florida Keys, the Bahamas and now the Caribbean thanks to well-established sailing and scuba trips. Other adventures include the “Out Island Adventure,” which is an island-camping experience on Big Munson Island.
Take a look back at some snapshots from the Scouting magazine archives, featuring the tropical base. Plus, we’ve included some images from this summer to help give you a glimpse at the excitement to come in future trips.
Explorers venture to Cay Sal aboard a Florida Sea Base vessel, shown on cover and in spread, above. (Scouting magazine, November-December 1980)
Big Munson Island is touted as suitable for Scouts and Robinson Crusoe. (Scouting magazine, March-April 1984)
A new addition in 2013 to the Sea Base tall-ship fleet, the Spirit of Independence. “Like” Florida Sea Base on Facebook.com for even more images.
A Moray eel spotted by Sea Base scuba divers. Courtesy of Florida Sea Base.
A look at the scuba boat fleet docked at the base, taken by Alex Bergstedt from the top of a nearby sailboat mast (2013). Courtesy of the Florida Sea Base.
A sneak peek at the Sea Base’s newest addition: the Scuba Complex, hosting a “Divemaster Training Academy.” Opened in 2014. Courtesy of the Florida Sea Base.
— By Gretchen Sparling