Set sail at Florida Sea Base (no sailing experience required)

High-Adventure Week is a once-a-year Bryan on Scouting event that celebrates the once-in-a-lifetime experiences offered at the BSA’s four national high-adventure bases.

High-Adventure-Week-2015---Sea-BaseYou might think your Scouts need to know how to sail to visit Sea Base. But Paul Beal, Sea Base general manager, says that’s not the case.

“You don’t even have to know what the pointy end of the boat is called,” he says. “We have an experienced, licensed captain on our vessels to teach and guide you.”

Sea Base, the BSA’s sailing oasis in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas and the U.S. Virgin Islands, offers 14 different programs, meaning there’s something for anyone who loves the water. Participants explore the vast, mysterious underwater wilderness through their choice of transportation modes: large sailing vessels, smaller sailboats, powerboats, kayaks, scuba equipment — or some combination of the five.

Florida-Sea-Base---Tom-King-2They’ll explore thousands of square miles of underwater coral formations, peaks, valleys and hundreds of different types of colorful fish. And they’ll do it all in the warm, clear waters that make this area a popular vacation destination.

Sea Base offers a unique high-adventure opportunity that uses its atypical setting to teach leadership, self-sufficiency, teamwork and personal growth.

“Some Scouts may not want to backpack or canoe and will find this more to their liking,” Beal says. “In addition, many of our programs can be more accommodating to Scouts with special needs.”

You’re thinking: Sounds great; where do I sign up? 

Many of the spots for 2016 were filled earlier this year. (Though you should contact Sea Base and keep an eye on their Facebook page for news of last-minute openings.)

Spots for 2017 will again be reserved through an online lottery system. The 2017 registration lottery will open on Jan. 15, 2016, and close on Feb. 15, 2016. Look for a brochure sent in December to unit leaders and committee chairpeople.

Florida-Sea-Base---Tom-King-3Other Sea Base news worth reading

  • The new Sea Base St. Thomas has seen great success and is filling each year. Make your plans for this amazing adventure.
  • Sea Base has doubled its STEM-Eco Adventure to 28 crews per summer. You’ll experience all of the fun and excitement of a Sea Base adventure while learning about the area’s fragile coastal eco-system.
  • You can get certified to scuba dive at Sea Base. The Scuba Certification Adventure will help you become a PADI-certified Open Water Diver.
  • All participants — youth and adult — must pass a standard BSA swim test PRIOR to attending. There will be a review to check skills upon arrival. All programs are aquatic, so there are no opportunities for non-swimmers or beginners at Sea Base.
  • How’s the food? Galleys offer great served meals while you’re on base. When you’re on the boat or on the island, you’ll enjoy fresh and canned foods, and of course you can eat the fish you catch. If you’re there August through March, you might even get to have “surf and turf.” Sea Base provides the turf, and you can catch the surf during lobster season.
  • Sea Base is open all year. The spring season runs from mid-February through late April. Summer runs from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Fall is October and early November. Winter (if you can call it that in Florida) is the week before and the week after Christmas.
  • Sea Base is looking for staff and summer interns. Learn more here.

How to register and learn more

Visit the Sea Base website or call 305-664-4173.

Photos by Tom King.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.