Marine Biology Summer Camps for Teens

By Jo Pick
Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities at marine biology camps.
Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities at marine biology camps.

Marine biology is the study of organisms that live in or near the sea. Marine biologists have diverse interests -- the job description can include anything from training dolphins to analyzing the DNA of starfish. Marine biology summer camp can be the adventure of a lifetime and one that opens the door to an exciting career and lifelong friendships.

Action Quest

Action Quest features hands-on marine biology experiences for ages 14 and older. Activities include trans-Pacific sailing, exploring the Galapagos Islands, swimming with dolphins and giant sea turtles, whale-watching, and scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef. Destinations include the Mediterranean, the British Virgin Islands, the Leeward Islands, Galapagos and Ecuador, Tahiti and Australia. Fees include equipment -- except for wetsuits, instruction, food, lodging aboard the yacht, and arranged side trips. Airfare to and from the program is not included. Students are expected to share yacht maintenance, food preparation and navigation duties.


Broadreach has 18 marine science programs in South Africa, Thailand, Fiji, the Caribbean, Bahamas, Central America, British Columbia, Galapagos and Ecuador. Teens live on a yacht while they comb tidal pools, track dolphin behavior, tag sea turtles, analyze coral, and dissect sea creatures. College credit at Lesley University in Massachusetts is available for 16 of the programs. Teens also gain certifications for skills acquired during a program, and 10 to 55 hours of community service credit. Fees include food, lodging, instruction and pre-arranged side trips. Equipment, college tuition, and airfare to and from the program are extra.

Sea Turtle Camp

Sea Turtle Camp operates Adventure Travel Camps in Costa Rica, Florida and Hawaii, NAUI Scuba Camps in North Carolina and Turtle Rehabilitation Programs in North Carolina. Teens work with animals and conservationists while immersing themselves in culture during Travel Camps. They observe marine life while diving with trainers during Scuba Camps. They help rehabilitate sick and injured turtles at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital as participants in the hospital's Rehabilitation Program. All programs offer community service credits. The price includes meals, lodging, equipment, transportation in town, activity fees, and instruction; it does not include airfare to and from the program.

Whale Camp

Whale Camp's home base is on Grand Manan Island, which is in the Bay of Fundy between Maine and Nova Scotia. The Camp offers one, two, and three-week programs during which teens go out on a 65-foot sailboat to observe whales and other marine life; travel to Machias Seal Island to observe the birds; take a coastal kayak tour and a variety of eco-tours; and learn about marine life and ecology in small classes. Fees include meals, lodging at the Camp's home base, and instruction, but do not include transportation to and from Grand Manan Island. Furthermore, the trip to Seal Island costs extra in the one-week program, and the kayak tour is extra in the one- and two-week programs.

The Marine Science Consortium

The Marine Science Consortium in Virginia offers camps for 13- to 15-year-olds on plants and animals that live on the state's eastern shore, dangerous creatures and ocean predators, fish, mammals, and marsh explorations by kayak. It also has camps for 16- to 18-year-olds on ichthyology, marine invertebrates and kayaking. All camps last one week and cost $649. The consortium also offers a three-day Coastal Ecology Program for large groups of teens accompanied by a teacher. This program includes individualized classes and a variety of half-day field trips to beaches, marshes, and maritime forests. The fees for all of the programs include meals, lodging in a consortium dormitory, instruction, cruises and materials.

About the Author

Jo Pick has a master's degree in speech pathology from the University of Florida and has studied child development at the University of Kansas. She has worked with children and families for more than 35 years and is a certified Early Intervention Service Coordinator. A book Pick edited on children's acquisition of communicative competence was published by University Park Press in 1984.