Coral Reef Guide
The staff of the Florida Sea Base is eager for your arrival and participation in the Coral Reef Sailing Program for the upcoming season. To aid in your preparation for the trip, we would like to go over some highlights for the week that you will spend with us.
When you arrive at the Florida Sea Base between 1 and 3 p.m., you will check in at the registration office. You will be met by your Coral Reef mate, who will lead you through the orientation process for your adventure ahead. After your adult leader checks in with the registration office, your crew will have a photo taken before you head over to the shakedown area under the scuba dorms. All personal gear minus your sleeping and snorkeling gear will fit into the issued mesh bags for the boat. You will change out of your Scout uniform and into your swim trunks. Make sure you apply sunscreen; the Florida sun is very hot. You will stow your gear not going to the boat in either our lockers (you provide the lock) or your personal car if you choose. Next you will proceed on the Sea Base tour highlighting the Ship’s Store, the submarine, chapel, dive boats if in port, the sea habitat, and galley.
Next is a trip to the quarterdeck to get your snorkeling gear. Each participant (youth and adult) will be issued a mask, fins, snorkel, snorkel vest, and a dive bag that you will use for the remainder of your weeklong adventure (if you have your own snorkeling equipment, you may bring it). Everyone will participate in a BSA swim review and a snorkel instruction lesson so you are comfortable with your gear and swimming in the ocean. Next it is off to your assigned ship to meet your captain. If your crew is quick, you may be able to provision your ship with food for the week before flags. If not, after dinner you’ll accomplish this task. Flags is at 5:45 p.m. and dinner at 6. After dinner, you will board your vessel for your first night on board the boat at the dock, or you may sail into the sunset if time permits. We try hard to get you off the dock if at all possible. You are now on your way for a week of unforgettable adventure including sailing, snorkeling and fishing.
The program is not a pleasure cruise, but a Scout adventure, and scoutsand adults are expected to work aboard the vessel. You may stop andsnorkel many times in one day or just sail as much as you can. If your crewlikes fishing more than snorkeling, let the captain know your expectations. Sleeping arrangements are cramped and limited below decks. Most crews sleep on deck, weather permitting. Be advised that inclement weather means hot cramped quarters below decks. Not everyone will have a bunk (high adventure). All our vessels carry a fishing license that will cover you during your week aboard. The Florida Sea Base supplies all the necessary rods, reels, and tackle. This tackle can be used while trolling or at anchor in several locations.
The basic itinerary (everything is weather dependent) is you leave the docks the night of your arrival, time permitting. Full day one and two are spent sailing, fishing and snorkeling from Rodriquez Key to Marathon Key. Full day three you’ll pull back into Sea Base for your shore day. We have small boat sailing, tubing, kayaking and team volley ball. You have the chance to earn you BSA Kayak Award as well as BSA Snorkel Award during your adventure. After dinner we show movies, and provide games for your pleasure. You’ll leave the docks the next morning for another day and 2/3rds of activities then pull back into sea base your last day. NOTE: The Coral Reef Adventure does not take the crew to Key West.
Upon your return to Sea Base, you will return your snorkeling gear, clean your boat, move into the dorms for the night, and prepare for the evening luau, patch presentation, and reflection. Some crews like to bring Hawaiian-type shirts for this. We may do the limbo and island-type games before a seafood meal.
Hot-water showers, coin-operated laundry facilities, and pay phones are available for your use while at Sea Base. The Ship’s Store carries souvenirs and many items you may have forgotten.
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, this probably is not the right adventure for you. 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 snorkel gear) must fit in a 24-inch 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 or 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.