2017-2018 preview: Florida National High Adventure Sea Base


It’s the third-annual High-Adventure Week here on Bryan on Scouting. It’s time to celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime experiences offered at the BSA’s four national high-adventure bases — and give you tips on how to secure your spot in 2017, 2018 and beyond.

If your skills on the high seas don’t quite rival those of Jack Sparrow, fear not.

At the BSA’s Florida National High Adventure Sea Base, no sailing experience is required.

haw-2016-sea-base-2“All of our vessels have experienced captains to help you through your adventure,”says Capt. Paul Beal, Sea Base general manager.

The Florida Sea Base offers program Scouts and Venturers can’t get anywhere else. Sail or dive the beautiful Keys reefs. Explore exotic places like the Bahamas or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Spend a week on an undeveloped island camping, fishing and snorkeling. Or enjoy the Marine STEM Adventure, a program debuting in summer 2017.

The Florida Sea Base offers 14 world-class aquatic adventures, each promising a unique, challenging and downright awesome experience for Scouts and Venturers.

With adventures in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas and the U.S. Virgin Islands, 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.

They’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.

In this atypical setting, Sea Base teaches 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.”

haw-2016-sea-base-3Sea Base registration and lottery info

2017: Select adventures for February through December 2017 are still available. The list updates regularly as units cancel, so go here for the latest info. And if you’re the kind of Scouter who likes getting information before everyone else, be sure to like the Florida Sea Base on Facebook.

2018: Yes, it’s time to start thinking about 2018. Slots for 2018 will be allocated using an online lottery, held Jan. 15 to Feb. 15, 2017. You can enter the lottery by logging onto bsaseabase.org. There’s no advantage to entering early; as long as your entry is submitted during the window you’re good. Winning units will be notified by March 1, 2017.

haw-2016-sea-base-4Other Florida Sea Base news you need

  • The new Marine STEM Adventure will start in 2017 in conjunction with the BSA’s STEM Scouts pilot program. The new adventure promises to be educational, informative, challenging and, most importantly, fun.
  • The Order of the Arrow Ocean Adventure is moving to historic Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas National Park. It’s going to be an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for service and tremendous memories.
  • Sea Base programs serve Boy Scouts and Venturers who are 13 and have completed the eighth grade or are 14 by Sept. 1 of the year of attendance.
  • Do participants have to be able to swim? Yes. All participants, youth and adult, must pass a standard BSA swim test prior to arrival. The Sea Base has no programs for nonswimmers or beginners. That said, you don’t have to be an accomplished sailor to participate.
  • Leaders should look for a brochure in their mailbox in early December that will tell you even more.
  • 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 hires staff and summer interns. Learn more here.

How to register and learn more

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

Thanks to Tim Stanfill and Paul Beal for the info.

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