Florida Sea Base
The original Florida National High Adventure Sea Base location, on Lower Matecumbe in Islamorada (mile marker 73.8) on the Overseas Highway began as a fishing camp after the highway opened in 1938. It was located so tourists could stay and fish while avoiding paying the toll to cross the Channel Two Bridge. In the early 1950’s, the Tollgate Inn was built and it featured 10 deluxe rooms, a honeymoon suite, a convenience store/bait shop, a lounge and first class restaurant. One of the great features of this facility was a marina with a 300 foot long dock that could facilitate even the largest fishing and sailing vessels. By the 1970’s, the Tollgate Inn had seen better days, but little did anyone know that the best days of this facility were yet to come! The Boy Scouts of America purchased the Tollgate Inn complex in 1979 with a grant from the Fleischmann Foundation and the Florida Gateway to High Adventure had a new home and a new name – the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base. Since 1980, the BSA has added participant dorms housing over 200 Scouts and leaders, scuba pools, conference/staff housing, program facilities and an administration building, making this facility a showplace of Scouting!
Just a few miles offshore, an extensive underwater living coral reef forms a barrier protecting the keys. Here, among pillars of living coral, you come face to face with thousands of multi-hued tropical fish in water so clear that while swimming, you have the sensation of floating in mid air. The area abounds with legends and tales of unequaled adventure. Even though the pirates and wreckers have been gone from this area for a long time, to this day the lure of discovering a buried treasure burns in the hearts of true keys adventurers.
Brinton Environmental Center
The growth and popularity of the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base and the Out Island Adventure on Big Munson Island eventually led to the donation of a permanent base of operation, the Brinton Environmental Center. Named for the project’s benefactor, J. Porter Brinton, the 6-acre property, dedicated on May 5, 2001, stands on the west side of Summerland Key at mile marker 23.8. Our facility officially opened its doors on June 1, 2001.
The Brinton Environmental Center is home to the Out Island Adventure, Keys Adventure, Florida Fishing Adventure and Marine STEM Adventure. This facility also works closely with Camp Jackson Sawyer, the local area council camp, hosting the Order of the Arrow Ocean Adventure and the Key West Sailing Adventure.
In 2019, Sea Base’s partnership with Mote Marine Laboratories culminated in the construction of the first land-based coral nursery of its kind on-site at the Brinton Environmental Center. The Coral Nursery at the Brinton Environmental Center was constructed with the goal of supporting ongoing coral restoration efforts in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) and to serve as an educational facility where youth and students actively participate in the restoration process.
The Brinton Environmental Center, located 125 miles south of Miami, hosts over 4,500 participants each year. Brinton Environmental Center participants have opportunities to sail, snorkel, fish, kayak and explore our pristine coral reefs of the beautiful Florida Keys.
Big Munson Island
In December of 1982, a gift was received by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America which was destined to change the very nature of some of the exciting programs offered by Sea Base. The gift was an untouched, uninhabited island over 100 acres in size, surrounded by the crystal clear water off Big Pine Key in the lower Keys.
On the entire string of islands called the Florida Keys, there are but a few that remain as they were when the pirates first rowed ashore in search of fresh water and game to provision their galleons. This island shows up on old nautical charts as Newfound Harbor Key, and on newer charts as Big Munson Key.
Big Munson Island is located three miles offshore from US 1, and a mere four miles inshore from Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA) within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. This area is known for some of the most fabulous reef formations found in the Florida Keys. Sea Base has committed to retain this island in its natural state. Lightweight screened tents, cooking gear and other necessary equipment is provided by Sea Base, but all personal gear, food, and water must be waded ashore for your stay.
Camp Jackson Sawyer
Camp Sawyer, at the Edward B. Knight Scout Reservation, is a nine-acre camp site located on Scout Key in the Florida Keys. Flanked between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, Camp Sawyer offers tent camping opportunities for Scouting units and other qualified community, service, and youth organizations.
Scouts can enjoy paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, and swimming. Camp Sawyer offers tent camping sites, campfire rings, a modern restroom/shower facility, two covered pavilion spaces, a beach volleyball court, a seaside pier, and plenty of outdoor activity space to provide an outstanding, camping experience.
Originally utilized to operate the Out Island program in the early 80’s, the property is now used for the Order of the Arrow Ocean Adventure, Key West Sailing, and Family Adventure Camping.
Bahamas Sea Base
Sam Wampler and his colleague Joe Maggio began offering sailing programs in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas as an extension of Florida National High Adventure Sea Base in 1990. The original Florida Gateway program was designed to sail young people from Miami to Freeport on Grand Bahamas Island. Now, Sea Base no longer crosses the Gulf Stream with the Scouts; our Bahamas Sailing Adventures are based out of Marsh Harbour in the Abacos of the Bahamas, located about 100 miles east of Fort Lauderdale. Crews fly into MHH Abaco Bahamas which is a short one hour flight from Miami. Bahamas Sailing crews have the opportunity to sail the beautiful Sea of Abaco and visit its surrounding islands and settlements. Bahamas Sea Base offers three different sailing adventures that can accommodate crews of 6-8, crews of 10-12, or crews of 18-20.
St. Thomas Sea Base
Under the direction of then General Manager Captain Paul Beal and Program Director Mike Lucivero, Sea Base St. Thomas began sailing operations in 2014. Crews board vessels in beautiful St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and then circumnavigate St. John, USVI throughout the duration of their adventure. Celebrated globally for its waters, winds, coral reefs and beaches, the US Virgin Islands offer participants amazing opportunities for adventure and exploration.
St. Croix Sea Base
In partnership with the National Capital Area Council, Sea Base will launch its newest program located at BSA Camp Howard M. Wall in Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands beginning in the Summer of 2019.
St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is a short two and a half hour plane ride from Miami. The island boasts amazing vistas, crystal blue water, vibrant coral reefs, and endless opportunities for adventure. Participants will have the opportunity to choose between programs St. Croix SCUBA and St. Croix Adventure where participants will set sail, snorkel, boat, and kayak; learn about ecosystems and underwater species; work with conservationalists and scientists to help save marine life; and visit Buckhead Island National Park, historical Christainsted, and historical Fort Christiansvaern. Every day is a new adventure on St. Croix!
Crews will camp at beautiful camp Howard M. Wall overlooking the Caribbean Ocean. Camp Howard M. Wall is a hidden treasure on the island, offering 17 acres of open campground with beach frontage. In addition to tent camping, the camp includes a main building for orientation, a large full kitchen, three large covered open pavilions, and an amazing view of the Caribbean Sea.