The most sought after programs are our school sails. A student sail for 25-33 students plus 2 chaperons lasts for 3 hours. The Captain, crew and on-board educators are all involved in making this an exceptional experience for participants.
Before boarding the vessel, students put on their life vests and hear a safety talk by the captain, crew or a Coast Guard Auxiliary member. After boarding, the Education Director gives an orientation after which they become part of the crew and raise the sails as the ship reaches sailing waters.
Our on-board educator relates important details about the history of sail on Florida waters and asks questions that involve students in the education process. Participants are divided into 4 equal groups and rotate through the learning stations taught by our trained volunteer educators.
The Learning Stations include:
1. The Plankton Station (the bottom of the food web/chain)
2. The Fish Station (aquarium with local flora and fauna)
3. The Water Quality Station (students conduct field test for dissolved oxygen)
4. The Navigation Station (location of vessel using 2-position fix on nautical chart) This learning station can also be swapped for the “Hydrologic Cycle Station,” which discusses the cycling of fresh water to salt water and back again.
Each station activity lasts 15 minutes. The stations provide hands-on work that helps integrate the marine ecology concepts being taught. Children work in teams – we have found this strengthens cooperation and a positive spirit all around.
The education director then explains there will be 5 minutes of complete silence. For many students, this is the first time in their lives they have spent quiet time listening only to the voice of the ship, the sea and the wind. A soothing strum on the guitar and a new song break the silence bringing them back to the group where students learn some traditional and ecology-based sea chanteys. It is always wonderful to note how great the level of cooperation and participation is among the young people aboard!
Time is taken to have a bag lunch and to socialize. Recycling is provided for lunch containers setting a good example for raising awareness among participants. The Aquarian Quest program is in compliance with Sunshine State Standards for Science Education. The cost of the program is $695.00 for 25-33 students plus 2 chaperons.
All students receive a Certificate of Completion of the Aquarian Quest On-board Program.