Not even the strongest hurricane ever recorded can keep the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base down for long.
Yes, even after Hurricane Irma dealt a punishing blow to the Florida Keys in September, the Florida Sea Base is open for business this fall and beyond. In fact, cleanup went so well that the BSA is allowing the American Red Cross to house displaced residents at one of its facilities.
“Dedicated volunteers and a core group of seasonal and full-time staff have worked extremely hard over the last weeks to prepare Sea Base for participants,” says Tim Stanfill, director of program. “Because of this effort, our facilities, staff and captains are prepared to provide amazing high-adventure programs. We are ready.”
Those amazing high-adventure programs are the kinds of activities Scouts and Venturers can’t get anywhere else. Things like diving through the stunning Keys reefs. Or sailing to exotic places like the Bahamas or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Or spending a week camping, fishing and snorkeling on a primitive island.
There’s something for anyone who loves aquatic adventure. Participants explore the warm, clear waters using their choice of transportation modes: large sailing vessels, smaller sailboats, powerboats, kayaks, scuba equipment — or some combination of the five.
In this atypical setting, Scouts develop leadership skills and grow as teams and individuals. Their confidence and maturity persists even once they’re back on dry land.
Hurricane Irma updates
The Florida Sea Base has seen an outpouring of support from the Scouting family. A team from Philmont Scout Ranch helped restore hot water, sewer lines and showers. A group from the Central Florida Council tore down walls that were unsafe. Volunteers from across the country cleaned the base and supported federal aid workers.
Because of this quick response from loyal Scouters, the Florida Sea Base has been able to support other agencies, including FEMA, the U.S. Army, the American Red Cross and more.
At the Brinton Environmental Center on Summerland Key, the BSA has allowed the American Red Cross to set up a shelter for Keys residents left homeless by Irma. As a result, all fall programs at the Brinton Environmental Center have been moved up the Keys to the main Sea Base facility in Islamorada.
“Thank you to all of our past, current and future volunteers,” the Sea Base said in a message on its Facebook page. “Through your efforts, Sea Base is in a better position to support youth and our community.”
Sea Base registration and lottery info
2017: Select adventures for December 2017 are available. Go here and click on “2017 Open Registration.”
2018: The lottery for 2018 trips was held Jan. 15 to Feb. 15, 2017. Unclaimed trips are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be viewed at this site. Units cancel reservations from time to time, so check back regularly if you don’t see the trip you want.
2019: Yes, it’s time to start thinking about 2019. Slots for 2019 will be allocated using an online lottery, open from 9 a.m. ET on Jan. 23 to 5 p.m. ET on Feb. 13, 2018. 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 in early March 2018.
Other Florida Sea Base news you need
- Sea Base programs serve Boy Scouts and Venturers who are 13 by the date of their arrival.
- 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.
- 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 from late December to April and mid-May to August.
- 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 for the info.