SEA Expedition is a 2-week offshore summer program for rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Centered on learning by doing, SEA Expedition is a multidisciplinary experience that welcomes students to participate in every aspect of a challenging offshore sailing and oceanographic expedition. SEA Expedition occurs entirely aboard the Sailing School Vessel (SSV) Corwith Cramer, one of two sailing research vessels operated by SEA.
Student Experience at Sea
Under the tutorage of professional scientists and crew, SEA Expedition students gain hands-on experience conducting oceanographic research, sailing a tall ship, understanding of the complexities of creating and managing marine sanctuaries, and developing crucial leadership and teamwork skills. Life at sea is fast-paced. Activities continue on a 24-hour basis throughout the program, and each student is assigned to a watch team of eight people with whom they rotate throughout a day-and-night schedule. Busy as things are, there is still enough free time to make friends, keep a journal, climb aloft to enjoy sunrises, sunsets, and the night sky, and appreciate the awe inspired by the nature and beauty of the offshore setting. No prior sailing experience is necessary, the desire to learn is required!
SEA Expedition provides students with a unique opportunity to conduct marine research at sea. Our scientific voyages focus on one or both of two protected offshore marine environments near Cape Cod, MA – Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Northeast Canyons & Seamounts Marine National Monument. Both are important habitats for rare and endangered species – whales, turtles, seabirds – along with countless other marine organisms. Data collected by SEA Expedition students contribute to a cumulative data set that provides critical annual monitoring of these marine protected areas for key stakeholders. These data include biodiversity information, sea temperature and salinity, chemical nutrient measurements, sediment samples, visual and acoustic recording of whales and vessel traffic, and more. Scientific studies are given human background context with discussions of the history and policies behind the marine protected areas we visit. Students return home with a broader sense of the ocean’s importance to our planet and the need to preserve this precious resource for future generations.
Sail Training & Seamanship
Central to the SEA experience is the challenge of forming a team to operate a sailing ship at sea. This is accomplished through the sail training and seamanship components of SEA Expedition. Teamwork, leadership, community, and a sense of shared mission are core values of all SEA programs, and having students take responsibility for and participate in all operations of a modern sailing research vessel cultivate these life skills. The captain and USCG licensed mates use instruction in navigation, sail handling and watch leadership to explore communication, thoughtful participation, and a planned approach to tasks – all essential in school, the workplace, and in learning to deal successfully with dynamics or unplanned events. SEA Expedition participants grow not only as students, but as individuals and contributing members of a ship’s company. This in turn fosters a deeper understanding of their own potential and ability to influence our world.
SEA Expedition is an academically rigorous program. In addition to routine watch standing duties that are a part of each student’s experience at sea, lectures, discussions, and written assignments are also part of the learning process. There is always something new to see, learn, or do!