[written on my iPhone while at SeaBase as one of three boats – 24 total / 7 adults / 17 scouts – this is a bit of a ramble as we took and shared notes on what we found at SeaBase.]
You will sleep on the boat for six nights and have seven days in and around SeaBase. With perfect weather each day you’ll have the opportunity to; (i) sail, (ii) snorkel (aka ‘dive’), and (iii) fish. There will be days when you can do more – such as paddle board. Most trips have a ‘midweek’ – ours was at a Pennekamp State Park, where we were able to walk around, see an aquarium, and we slept moored to a pier that night.
Why is it so hard to get a sample SeaBase itinerary?
- My impression is that they really don’t want anyone to be disappointed – but in doing so, they are so vague it creates its own frustration and complications.
- Quote from participant guide: “Where can I find a detailed itinerary? One is not provided. Programs are weather and tide dependent. There are no required destinations other than arrival and departure points. We make every attempt to include Sailing, Snorkeling, and Fishing every day on the water.”
- Seabase doesn’t know the boat you’ll be on
- Don’t know the captain – why is that?
- Don’t know the weather
- Also – it’s obvious to them – everyone in Florida has had this experience, and they know that it can vary
- You can see what the options are when you look at local tourist sites, like Pennekamp State Park
- When does Scouts BSA ever provide really good transparency? It’s a Scout thing!
“Where can I find a detailed itinerary? One is not provided. Programs are weather and tide dependent. There are no required destinations other than arrival and departure points. We make every attempt to include Sailing, Snorkeling, and Fishing every day on the water.”Seabase Participant Guide – Coral Reef Sailing
Preparing for life on a boat
- Boat = RV = Travel toilet, limited water, etc.
- Limited space – not much room to change
- Communal living – limited privacy
- Scout troop
Conclusion: Just take a small duffel, a sleeping pad and a pillow. Get together as a group and review that nobody is taking too much. Pack as if you were camping for 2 nights at a beach in the heat with mosquitoes, sun, and limited laundry.
What is physically located at Seabase?
- Barracks – for adult staff, paid employees, and bunks for visiting troops
- Pool for snorkel / scuba training
- Pier – 30+ sailboats
- 3+ scuba boats
- Scuba maintenance area – compressors, etc.
- Snorkel storage and maintenance area
- Outdoor eating areas
- Cafeteria (3 meals a day)
- Storage lockers – a 4 x 4 x 5 foot deep locker – plenty of room for things that won’t go on the boat
- Field – Kickball was a hit
- Covered area for games for scouts
- SeaBase store
- Outdoor ice machine
- Restrooms for changing for visitors
The Lack of Itinerary Makes Packing Hard
Seabase gives good guidance – captains have read it too. For us, all those cool ‘extras’ that were listed had already been included by our captain. For the other 2 boats we were with – this wasn’t the case.
Different captains, different approaches. Captain style varies a lot – we had a laid back captain who wanted to see what the scouts were interested in each day. Others run a more structured program. You won’t know until you get there.
What about bringing a Hammock?
Sleeping Aboard the Boat:
- Start with the count – there are 9 people. The Captain has a private bed in back, and if everyone needs to sleep below deck (rain, mosquitoes, etc.), then that’s a lot of people to squeeze in.
- Boats aren’t the same – they are common lengths, and SeaBase ‘specifies’ what they want from captains – but SeaBase could sell every boat they could get in.
- Then add the weather – rain, mosquitos
Closing Things out – What is SeaBase?
- Travel agent
- That owns a harbor
- Owns some maritime assets
- Brings people together
- Under principles of Scouts BSA
A Framework for SeaBase
- Rental car company; but different cars
- Add drivers
- add itineraries
- Based on weather
- Based on participant skill
What should SeaBase be?
- Preparing for the scout-iverse
- Accreditation service – trained adults, criteria for ships
Who knows what the future holds for scouting – what this could be is simply an accreditation service that says, “this captain, this boat, and this itinerary make the following a [Seabase] level trip.”