About Sea Base

Sea Base is a unique Scouting program that offers aquatics programs found nowhere else. Whether your interests lie in sailing, scuba diving, rustic camping on an undeveloped barrier island, fishing or a combination of all, this is the place for your Troop, Team, Crew, Sea Ship or Explorer Post. Sea Base serves around 16,000 participants annually.

Sea Base began in the early 1970’s as a local program in the Florida Keys called the Florida Gateway to High Adventure under the guidance of Sam Wampler, a professional Scouter from the South Florida Council. It offered primarily sailing programs using local marinas and chartered boats sailing to the Bahamas and back. As the idea caught on and grew, it joined the high adventure offerings of the National Council of the BSA along with Philmont Scout Ranch and the Northern Tier High Adventure Base. In 1979, Sea Base acquired a permanent facility on Lower Matecumbe Key and when this opened for Scouts in 1980 it was renamed the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base. As the popularity of this program grew, scuba diving was added and in 1984 the BSA received the gift of Big Munson Island from Homer Formsby. This undeveloped island offered tremendous program potential as an outpost for primitive camping, Robinson Crusoe style. During this time period the sailing program concentrated on sailing around the fabulous Florida Keys. New sailing programs were started that originated and ended in Marsh Harbour in the beautiful Abaco Islands of the Bahamas.

Sea Base programs continued to excite the imagination of Scouts and Scouters, and as attendance grew the need for a second facility was obvious. Thanks to the generosity of J. Porter Brinton of Greenwich, CT, the Brinton Environmental Center opened in 2001 making Sea Base even better. Sea Base has continued to add and upgrade facilities and programs to meet the needs of Scouts.

Sea Base now operates 18 different High Adventure programs for scouts out of five locations: two in the Florida Keys, one in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and one in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas.  

  • Coral Reef Sailing, Sea Exploring, Eco Sailing, Keys Adventure Sailing, Island Expedition, Scuba Adventure, Scuba Certification, Scuba Live Aboard, and Scuba Advanced Marine Exploration operate in the Florida Keys at Mile Marker 73.8 at Florida Sea Base on Lower Matecumbe Key located 75 miles south of Miami.
  • Out Island Adventure, Keys Adventure, Florida Fishing, and Marine Eco Expedition programs operate in the Florida Keys on Summerland Key at Mile Marker 23.8 at the Brinton Environmental Center located 125 miles south of Miami.
  • Sea Base Bahamas offers Bahamas Adventure 6-8, 10-12, and Bahamas Tall Ship Adventure operated out of Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas, located about 100 miles east of Fort Lauderdale.
  • Sea Base St. Thomas offers St. Thomas Sailing Adventures 6-8 and 10-12, which operate out of St. Thomas, USVI.

Explore each exciting Scouting adventure on our Adventures Page

Sea Base offers Family Adventure Camp opportunities for families with youth under 18 at Camp Jackson Sawyer in the Florida Keys. 

Explore family adventure camp opportunities October-April below!

Scouting’s most complete aquatic facility offers a variety of water activities from scuba diving to sailing “Tall Ships”. All of our participants have the opportunity to swim, snorkel, and fish among the most beautiful coral reefs in the northern hemisphere