Sea Exploring Guide
The Sea Exploring Adventure offers an opportunity for large crews to stay together during their voyage. To aid in your preparation for the trip, we would like to go over some highlights of the week that you will spend with us.
Upon arrival at the Sea Base you will be greeted by your Sea Exploring Mate and given a tour of the Base, a swim review, snorkel lesson, and take an optional crew photo. You will then go to the quarterdeck for the issuing of snorkeling equipment. Each participant, both youth and adult, will be issued a mask, fins, snorkel, snorkel vest and a Sea Base dive bag that you will use for the remainder of your week long adventure. You will also receive a 12x24 bag to transfer all of your personal belongings into to take on your vessel. You will be assigned a storage locker for your effects you will not be taking with you. You’ll spend your first night in our air-conditioned dorms at Sea Base. The next morning you will be transported to your tall-masted sailing vessel and you will “shove off” from the dock and begin your adventure. You and your fellow participants will take turns cooking in the galley and cleaning the boat, along with sailing and providing a nightly anchor watch. Because the sea never sleeps, we use a watch system not only to keep an eye on our vessel, but also to run it smoothly. You will drop fishing lines in the water as you travel to hopefully catch a meal.
The week’s schedule depends on the weather and the crew’s ability. You will stop to snorkel some of the best coral reefs in the Florida Keys, fish for your dinner and best of all, learn to crew and sail your tall ship. When you arrive at Key West midweek, you will be granted shore leave to explore the historic town. After Key West, you’ll visit more reefs and wrecks on your way up and down the keys. On your last day, you will return to shore around 2 p.m. to unload gear and clean the vessel. This is the night of your big Luau dinner and closing program. Your crew will perform skits and receive the Florida Sea Base patch. Your last night will be spent in the bunkhouse before your morning departure.
Try to travel light and bring only what you need. Remember, these sailing vessels can be cramped for space. This is not a pleasure cruise, but a Scout Adventure aboard a working vessel. The quarters can be cramped and hot, so be prepared to sleep on deck. This will be a great adventure that you will remember for a lifetime. You will be doing actual hands-on sailing including navigating with charts or GPS, raising and lowering of the sails, taking turns on the helm, and swabbing the decks.
Because of the number of people involved and the close quarters in shipboard living, you need to ensure that all of your gear fits into one small duffel bag with crushable sides no larger than a pillowcase. While you are under way on your vessel you will troll for many types of large fish. If you are a gung-ho fisherman you may want to try your hand at bottom fishing in several of the anchorages. The Florida Sea Base supplies all the necessary rods, reels and tackle along with your snorkel, mask and fins.
Swim Test and Review: The Florida Sea Base is the premier aquatic High Adventure facility of the BSA. You MUST PASS the standard BSA swim test prior to you arrival. If you cannot pass this test without problems, you may want to reconsider participation. Upon arrival at the Sea Base, you will participate in a swim review to assess your swimming skills. The heat and physical activities can tire you out fast, so arrive at the Sea Base in good physical condition.
Packing your Gear : All your gear (except sleeping pad and snokel gear) must fit in a 24” duffel bag (issued at check-in). No suitcases or frame backpacks can be used. You will be living on a sailing vessel during the entire adventure. Space is limited so you must only bring what you need. Keep this in mind and travel light!
WHAT TO BRING FOR CORAL REEF, SEA EXPLORING AND ECO ADVENTURES:
(Note: Only Sea Exploring goes to Key West)
- 1 Pad lock per crew for storage
- 1 Set Field or Activity uniforms
- 2 T-shirts
- Lightweight rain gear (optional)
- Sunglasses with strap (Polarized are best)
- 1 pair walking shoes for Key West (Sea Exploring Only)
- 1 pair of inexpensive water shoes (Coral Reef and Eco Adventures)
- 16 oz of non-oily, non-aerosol, waterproof, SPF 50+ sunscreen lotion
- 1 pair of shorts
- Pants, long-sleeve shirt & light jacket (December & Spring)• Toiletry kit
- Wide brimmed hat
- 1-2 pair of Socks
- Large-mouth water bottle with plastic clip, (If you like coffee, a mug in addition is good)
- One sheet or light blanket (summer) or warm blanket or a sleeping bag (winter and spring)
- Sleeping pad – Backpacking type
- 1 Swimsuit (modest style)
- 1 towel and a small pillow
- Insect repellant
- Prescription Medication
- Proof of age/photo ID
- Copy of Medical Insurance information
DO NOT BRING
- MP3/iPod/video game player
- Hawaiian style shirt (Luau)
- Camera (waterproof if possible)
- Personal snorkel gear
- Extra money ($100-$125)
- Bonine® (for seasickness)
- (crew photo - $6 per copy)
Make sure you can successfully pass the BSA swim test.
Make sure your name is on the crew roster your leader is going to send us.
Don’t forget to bring a photocopy of the front and back of your insurance card.
Most of the items on the “what to bring list” are carried in our Ship’s Store with the exception of shoes, socks, and sleeping gear. About $100 to $125 is adequate spending money unless you want to buy a lot of souvenirs.
BEING PHYSICALLY FIT
Every participant in the Florida Sea Base High Adventure program needs to be physically fit for the strenuous demands that will be placed on their body. The Sea Base programs are PHYSICALLY CHALLENGING. Get in shape! Stay in shape! You will be in the water a great deal, so go swimming with your crew at your local pool often. Do some light exercises to increase your stamina. You will be frequently lifting your body in and out of the water to boats and docks. You have dedicated a lot of your personal time and resources to come to Sea Base. Get the most out of your experience by being ready - physically and mentally. All participants must be in good health evidenced by a BSA Health and Medical Record filled out and signed by you doctor within the past 12 months. A regular medical is not acceptable, nor is another “sports” medical or anything other than a BSA Health and Medical Record. The unique tropical environment has very different requirements from most Scouting and outdoor activities. All participants should note the suggested weight to height guidelines, which are listed in the BSA Health and Medical Record. 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 Adventures. Participants not meeting this requirement will be sent home at their own expense.
Parents: Do not send mail. Sea Base offers programs to hundreds of Scouts on the sea, on the land, and on the island. We will not deliver mail from home to Scouts unless it is mail of urgency, i.e. glasses, medicine, etc., left at home.
Key West Infomation
Keys and Fishing Adventure Crews and Sea Exploring Crews
Crews participating in these adventures will have a chance to explore the unique and historical town of Key West. Literature about Key West and its attractions are available when you check in, or contact the Key West Chamber of Commerce for information so you can plan your day ahead of time.
You will travel to Key West in a bus or van provided by Sea Base (Sea Exploring crews will be docking in a local marina). Your crew will be dropped off near Mallory Square and you will be given instructions as to when and where to meet for the return trip that evening. Once you are all back aboard, we’ll head North to base.
Crew Conduct in Key West
- Shoes and shirts are to be worn at all times.
- The buddy system is a must, and is required by Sea Base while exploring Key West.
- There is no renting of jet skis or scooters and no para-sailing while in Key West.
FOR SAILING CREWS DOCKED IN KEY WEST
- When using marina facilities, leave areas clean – cleaner than before you arrived, if necessary.
- Do not use the grill on board while at dock; use shore-side charcoal grills on marina grounds.
- Fish only at designated pier, and not off the boat.
- Do not board other boats in the marina.
- Please respect other marina guests. Keep noise level down and not rough play on the docks.
- Scouts must be with adult leaders if out after dark and return to the marina no later than 9:45 p.m.
- Curfew is 10 p.m. Captains, leaders and Scouts must be aboard by 10 p.m. Evening showers and phone calls must be finished before curfew.
Emergency Phone Numbers:
- Florida Sea Base Program office (Sea Exploring) 305-664-5627
- Brinton Environmental Center (Keys Adventure / Fishing Adventure) 305-393-1073
- After-hours emergency phone (Duty Officer) 305-664-7766
Reminder to Adults of crews visiting Key West:
Although you are not at Sea Base or the Brinton Environmental Center, this is still a Scouting function and there is no place for alcohol in the Boy Scouts of America. If you choose to do so, you will be asked to leave with out any refund. This may compromise the “two-deep” leadership in your crew.
Key West has many beneficial opportunities for Scouts, but it also has temptations as well. You know your crew: if you feel your Scouts will be tempted, please accompany them, otherwise, groups of three (3) or more are preferred, while two is the absolute minimum. You, not the captain or mate are responsible for your crew while ashore in Key West. If you have any problems please notify your Sea Base contact immediately. Please have an enjoyable time visiting this colorful and historical city.