Risk Advisory & Medical Info
The Florida Sea Base has had an excellent health and safety record from its inception in 1980. Sea Base strives to minimize risks to participants and adult leaders through emphasizing proper safety precautions. Most Sea Base participants do not experience injury during their adventure precisely because they are aware of the risks involved and because they exercise proper safety precautions. To attend Sea Base you should be physically fit, have proper clothing and equipment, be willing to follow the instructions of your staff members, work as a team and take responsibility for your own health and safety. By studying this Participant Guide, the information for your specific program and the Guide to Safe Scouting, a crew can be properly prepared for the contingencies that may arise during their adventure.
Parents, guardians, adult leaders and participants in Sea Base programs are advised that Sea Base programs and journeying to and from Sea Base can involve exposure to accidents, illness and/or injury associated with a physically demanding high adventure program conducted in a sometimes hostile aquatic environment. Participants may be exposed to severe weather conditions such as high heat and humidity, tropical weather and intense tropical sun. Other possibilities include sunburn, heat exhaustion, dehydration, asthma and heart attacks. For participants in the scuba programs please read, study and review the special medical constraints.
Sea creatures such as rays, anemones, sea urchins, coral, barracuda and sharks, pose little or no threat if safe distances and respect are given them. Be aware that Sea Base has a no-touch/no-take policy with regard to the coral and creatures of the reef.
The Florida Sea Base is dedicated to the mission of serving young people in a safe, educational, enjoyable, aquatic environment. We are trained for emergencies and able to act in an expedient manner. Furthermore, professional medical services such as hospitals and physician’s offices are available, and Sea Base maintains a fine working agreement with these facilities.
We hope this information will motivate leaders, parents, guardians and participants to be prepared and informed. By being prepared, we can all enjoy a safe Florida Sea Base High Adventure experience.
Recommendations Regarding Chronic Illnesses
Note that there are different standards for scuba programs.
CARDIAC OR CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Adults who have had any of the following must undergo a thorough evaluation by a physician before considering participation in a Sea Base High Adventure program:
Angina (chest pain caused by coronary artery disease or congenital heart disease)
Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
Surgery or angioplasty to treat coronary artery disease
Stroke or transient ischemic attacks
Claudication (leg pain felt during exercise; caused by hardening of the arteries)
Family history of heart disease in individuals under age 50
Weight in excess of recommended guidelines
The physical exertion during a high adventure may cause a heart attack or stroke in susceptible persons. Adults 40 years of age or older or any person who has experienced any of the conditions above must speak with their doctor about an exercise stress test with thallium (a metallic element that helps in the diagnosis of stress) within three to six months before the scheduled trip to assess the adequacy of the heart muscle’s blood supply. It is recommended that an adult who is over 40 years of age who has not experienced any of the conditions above have an ordinary stress test without thallium. Even if the stress test is normal, the results of testing done without the exertions of a high adventure program do not guarantee safety. If test results are abnormal, the individual will not be allowed to participate.
HYPERTENSION (High Blood Pressure)
The combination of stress and heat appear to cause a significant increase in blood pressure in many individuals participating in high adventure. Occasionally, hypertension reaches such a level that it is no longer safe for an individual to engage in strenuous activity. Persons with mildly increased blood pressure (greater than 135/85) may benefit from treatment before coming to a high adventure base and during the program. Individuals who are hypertensive (having blood pressure greater than 140/90) must be treated and have normal blood pressure (less than 135/85) before arriving. Medications must be continued during the high adventure program.
Exercise and the type of food eaten affect insulin requirements. Any individual with insulin-dependent diabetes must be able to monitor personal blood glucose and know how to adjust insulin doses based on these factors. The diabetic person also must be able to give a self-injection. Both the diabetic person and one other person in the group must be able to recognize indications of excessively high blood sugar (hyperglycemia or diabetic ketoacidosis) and to recognize indications of excessively low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). The diabetic person and at least one other individual in the group must be able to begin the appropriate initial responses for these conditions. Arrangements for cool storage of insulin can be made upon your arrival.
A diabetic person with frequent hospitalizations for diabetic ketoacidosis or who has frequent problems with hypoglycemia may not participate in a Sea Base high adventure program until control of the diabetes has been achieved.
SEIZURE DISORDERS OR EPILEPSY (All Programs Except Scuba)
A seizure disorder or epilepsy does not exclude an individual from participating in high adventure. However, the seizure disorder must be controlled by medications. A seizure-free period of at least one year is the minimum. Exceptions to this guideline may be considered by medical staff and will be based on the specific type of seizure and the likely risks to the individual and to other members of the crew.
ASTHMA (All Programs Except Scuba)
It is expected that an individual with asthma will have consulted a physician in order to establish control of the condition. The asthma must be controlled to essentially normal lung function with the use of oral or aerosol bronchodilators. There is no power available for nebulizers. The patient must bring ample supplies of medication for the entire program.
Individuals undergoing allergic desensitization therapy who require injections during their adventure must bring their medications and store a portion at Sea Base upon arrival. At least one other crew member must know how to recognize an asthma attack, how to recognize worsening of an attack, and how to administer bronchodilator therapy. Any person who is approved to go to Sea Base who has received medical treatment for asthma within the past six years must carry a full-size prescribed inhaler for the length of the program. Asthmatic individuals whose exercise induced asthma cannot be prevented with bronchodilator premedication, who require systemic carticesteroid therapy, or who have required multiple hospitalizations for asthma will not be allowed to participate in Sea Base programs.
Each high adventure participant who has a condition requiring medication should bring an appropriate supply. In certain circumstances, duplicate supplies of vital medications are appropriate. Leaders must be aware of medications needed and monitor their use. An individual should always contact the family physician first about the advisability of participation. The staff of the Sea Base high adventure program reserves the right to make medical decisions regarding any individual’s participation. Participating in a High Adventure is NOT the time for a MEDICATION VACATION!
ARTHRITIS OR OTHER MOBILITY LIMITING DISEASES
Due to the nature of our programs and that they occur on boats that are constantly moving, can have small passageways, and require use of ladders to gain access to the boat or interior of the vessel, all participants should have the ability to pull themselves out of the water using a ladder and be comfortable on a moving platform for days at a time.
For individuals using a CPAP machine for the medical condition of Sleep Apnea, you should know that all our bunkhouse accommodations have 110-volt power plugs nearby. If your adventure takes you overnight on a sailing vessel or island, you will not have access to electricity for your CPAP machine.
EXCESSIVE BODY WEIGHT
All programs involve snorkeling and entering and exiting a vessel via ladders rated to only 295 pounds. People weighing 295 pounds or over are not allowed to participate in Sea Base High Adventure. Participants not meeting this requirement will be sent home at their own expense.