High School Seminar Parents
Health & Safety
For over forty years and more than one million miles, SEA has thoughtfully and continuously honed its safety policies and procedures to minimize risk to program participants and personnel while achieving programmatic goals. Although SEA takes pride in our safety record, we continuously monitor and assess our training, personnel, policies, and equipment to maintain safety as a priority within our programs and operations. We operate under a philosophy of prevention but prepare for and are capable of a broad spectrum of response.
Safety for all program participants is paramount. The foundation of a safe & successful SEA Semester begins with our medical screening process. All students are required to have a thorough physical examination performed by a licensed medical practitioner within three months of the start of the program. Additionally, we ask that students be exhaustive and forthright in disclosing all pre-existing medical conditions, medications, and medical histories. We do this not to discourage applicants or limit the number of students who can participate in SEA Semester, but rather to best enable our faculty and staff to provide a safe & appropriate learning environment both on shore and at sea. With adequate lead-time, SEA can frequently accommodate a wide variety of medical issues. We will work with every student, on an individual basis to assess whether their participation in an at-sea program can happen safely and productively.
While on campus in Woods Hole, Student Services staff and the on-site Head Resident are available for minor First Aid as well as transportation to nearby medical facilities. Falmouth Hospital and a nearby walk-in clinic provide additional medical support to our students during their shore component. Once at sea, the ship’s captain and designated medical officer review each student’s medical form, communicating with individuals to stay abreast of student health issues. The ship maintains 24-hour access to a network of physicians specially trained to provide remote medical care & advice.
To learn more about our commitment to student health and safety, read a letter from David Bank, Director of Marine Operations and access the SEA Safety Policy.
During the shore component, students have access to phone, email and internet, and mail. They are welcome to bring and use cell phones while on campus. While at sea, however, although ship communications include high seas radio, satellite telephones, and limited email capability, student access to these tools is purposefully limited in order for them to experience full immersion. We are able to pass urgent messages to students on weekdays via satellite phone and responses are usually available the next weekday. Alternately, a return call can be made from the ship directly to any place in the world. Calls directly to the ship may only be made from SEA Headquarters.
Parents may always access the ship’s position and student blogs on our Ship Position Report page, updated each weekday. They may also access additional information through an automated voice mailbox at SEA Headquarters in Woods Hole.
The Academic Program
SEA Summer Seminars are academically rigorous programs. Academic programming is scheduled throughout each day of the shore component, including weekends. Coursework on shore includes lectures, discussions, laboratory activities, and field trips. Students continue their academic studies at sea while participating in the hands-on activities involved with operating a sailing research vessel.
Academic coursework for each Summer Seminar may be found on their respective webpages, accessible here.
Life on Shore
During each Summer Seminar, students participate in a shore component (locations vary by program). Under supervision from on-site staff, students live in coed dorm style housing in single-sex rooms. With their classmates, they share the responsibilities of communal living as they learn to work and live as a group.
Academic coursework during the shore component complements students’ time at sea as mariners, scientists, and global citizens. Although students are kept busy with structured activities and classes, there is always time for relaxing, enjoying their settings, and making new friends.
Life at Sea
Boarding one of SEA’s ships is like visiting a foreign country. At sea, students will gain insight into a culture steeped with strong customs, speak a traditional maritime language, and encounter a part of the world few people have the opportunity to experience.
Life is busy as students process oceanographic samples, participate in classes, stand watch in shifts during the around-the-clock schedule, and delve into navigation, science, and engineering. Teamwork takes precedence as they share responsibility for the ship and the well-being of their shipmates. Relying on each other is essential for the creation of a tight-knit community, where privacy is limited. Learning to balance their time on watch with sleeping, eating, and relaxing is part of adapting to shipboard life.
Read more about SEA’s ships or track current voyages.
All SEA programs offer an interdisciplinary curriculum with an emphasis on hands-on learning and independent research. With a student-teacher ratio of 3: 1 (approximately 2:1 at sea), Summer Seminar students work very closely with our teaching staff. Drawing nationally from a group of faculty and instructors, many of whom have worked with SEA for decades, we complement our resident faculty with other instructors who particularly enjoy and have experience working with high school students.
To read more about our outstanding faculty, visit the Academics section.
Paying for SEA
SEA is committed to making our programs affordable for every qualified and motivated student. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available, and applying for financial assistance will not affect your student’s chances for admission.
To learn more, please download financial aid and scholarship information here.
"[My son] had a wonderful experience and really gained so much confidence! What an excellent program!”
- 2012 Seminar Parent
“I want to thank you for giving [my son] the experience of a lifetime. It is not too often that high school students get the opportunity to be disconnected from friends, family, and electronic devices and discover that they can have a great time. I am amazed at the growth and maturity I have seen in [him] since coming back from SEA. Thank you for that and the memories he will cherish forever.”
- 2009 Seminar Parent
“SEA gave [our daughter] confidence and a lesson that she needs to work hard to achieve her goals. She spoke poetically of listening to "chirping dolphins" off the bow, of guiding the Corwith Cramer at the helm, of watching the stars with Captain Binh. Since the trip she has lectured us on copepods; she passionately told a clerk at Wal-Mart that the store should stop using plastic bags because of what plastic is doing to the oceans. We know the three weeks at SEA will be resonating for years inside [her] mind and helping to shape her character. Thank you!”
- 2008 Seminar Parents
“A new, more confident kid walked off the Cramer this morning. [He] has had nothing but praise for the entire SEA staff. As [he] slowly tries to regain his land-legs I think his own words sum up the experience: ‘It was a no BS ZONE. No social BS and no academic BS.’ [He] is already planning on returning, as he said to the crew, ‘I will be back!!!’”
- 2008 Seminar Parent/2009 SEA Semester Parent (he came back!)
If you would like to speak with the parent of a Summer Seminar alum, please contact the SEA Admissions Office at email@example.com.