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2023 Florida Sea Base

Welcome to your Florida Sea Base page! This page will be updated frequently as we get more information and get closer to our adventure. Please read everything and take action when noted!

Here is the 2022 Crew Leader Guide for Coral Reef Sailing. Once they have an updated guide for 2023, I will update this link:

Coral Reef Sailing Crew Leader Guide

There is a TON of good and required info in that guide – everyone should read it! And read it again in a few months! There are links to required videos we must watch, packing lists, and much other information.

In addition, there is a Participants Guide to our Sailing Adventure here (UPDATED FEBRUARY 2023 for 2023 Adventures). Also a great idea to read this:

Sailing Adventure Participants Guide


Posted on February 27, 2022 by Mike Bielkiewicz

Hello fellow Sailors! I realized last week that I probably haven’t shared the payment schedule that was dictated to us by Sea Base once we made our deposit back in January. Here is the payment schedule for the Sea Base portion of the trip (note that this of course does not include travel expenses and any activities we do before or after attendance at Sea Base – that will come once we actually need to purchase such things):

1st/Down Payment: $250 due 1/13/22 ($31.25 for each participant)

2nd Payment: $895.00 due 3/1/22 (~$111.88 each)

3rd Payment: $4027.50 due 11/1/22 (~$503.44 each)

4th Payment: $4027.50 due 3/7/23 (~$503.44 each)

Please note that the first two three ALL payments have been made and charged to your Scout accounts. Because their payment amounts don’t always split equally 8 ways, you will see a penny or two variation in the amounts charged – in the end, everyone will have paid exactly $1150.00. I realize that timing is a little challenging for camp card sales in 2023 (sales will likely be AFTER our last payment is due), but we can work out minor differences as we get closer. But with this much time to save, it shouldn’t be a problem for anyone! Get out and sell those camp cards this year!

Medical Forms

As with any adventure longer than 72 hours, we need ALL parts of the BSA Medical Form filled out, which included signatures by a medical provider. This applies to both Scouts AND Adults attending Sea Base. Please make plans to get that Section C completed by your or your Scout’s doctor ASAP.


Stay tuned for more info. Check the participant guide above for Sea Base Packing Lists.

Update 12/12/22: I just found out by digging through some posts that full-face snorkel masks are NOT allowed by Sea Base. So if you are purchasing a mask/snorkel, ensure it’s a two piece combo (or they can be purchased separately as all snorkels should attach to a typical mask.

The waterproof sleeping bag I showed in our recent meeting:

The Neoprene Diving Socks I showed in our meeting:

Before/After Sea Base

We have booked an AirBnB rental for the 2 nights we will be in Florida before our adventure begins. We have rented a 15 passenger van to get us around. The house is in Homestead, just South of Miami, which is a great location for some sightseeing. We will likely be visiting the Everglades and/or other National Parks, plus maybe an Alligator Farm and/or other local hot spots. The home we are renting will cost each attendee roughly $153 total for both nights. Not a bad deal considering the size and location:

Getting There

Flights will be booked as soon as it’s feasibly possible and fares are acceptable. This will likely happen once Southwest Airlines opens their schedule for next summer (this will happen on 10/27/22). We will send out a notice and bill Scout Accounts immediately so please be on the lookout for that.

Flights have been booked. Here are the flight details:

Southwest Confirmation #2CKMDI
Depart Saturday, June 3rd, 2023 at 11:15am MDT on Flight #1345 arriving at 5:15pm EDT

Depart Saturday, June 10th, 2023 at 5:45pm EDT on Flight #2844 arriving at 8:05pm MDT

This far out, the times may see some slight changes and I will do my best to keep this page updated.

Swimmer's Test

Update 3/10/23: We will continue to do the swimmers tests at the Ridge during our monthly sessions. Please attend!

As mentioned during our recent meeting, all attendees must pass the BSA Swimmers Test within one year of attending. This means any time now! Also, we will likely be asked to perform the swim test again once we arrive to Sea Base. This is a requirement. We will be doing a fair amount of swimming on our Sailing Adventure – lots of snorkeling as well as potential swims to and from shore as the boat can’t always dock. We will try to have swim sessions on a regular basis starting in 2023 until we depart to ensure everyone is super comfortable in the water!


Update 3/10/23: T-shirt designs have been agreed upon and will be ordered shortly.

We will come up with a design relatively soon for our trip t-shirt. Stay tuned.

Facebook Group Tips

Here are some pertinent tips from the great Facebook Group on Sea Base. If you have a Facebook account, feel free to join at I will continue to add threads here as I see appropriate ones that apply to our adventure.

General Coral Reef Sailing Tips
Just got back from Sea Base Coral Reef Sailing. We had an amazing time and this group was immensely helpful!
I wanted to share a few things that may help others.

  1. The packing list is on point. Do not over pack. You will have a travel outfit on when you arrive at Sea Base and you will want a clean one to leave Sea Base. I wore a swimsuit the whole time on the boat. I brought two just in case something happened to one. (We did have a scout rip theirs) As a female I had a long sleeve swim shirt and bottom and a tank swim top and bottom. I wore the long sleeve the whole time because it protected from the sun better. I also had something to sleep in (as a female) because the long sleeve was still a little damp and too warm to sleep in.
  2. There is limited space to sleep on deck. We could fit 6 scouts if we really needed to but realistically 4 fit best. I was with my husband so we slept in the v- berth (little room at the bow). 2 scouts slept on the couches below deck and 4 slept on deck. On deck a lightweight liner worked perfect. Below deck was warm but comfortable (we had a good breeze every night that moved through the hatches). As adults we did bring battery powered small fans. They helped! I would say the v-berth was the only place that really needed it.
  3. If you think you might need seasick meds- take them. You might want to test them out before your trip. It made one of our scouts pretty sleepy even though it was supposed to be non drowsy. Captain suggested only a half pill is really all that is needed and it worked out much better. We had a scout with the patch and they had trouble with it staying on with sweat and swimming.
  4. Be prepared to be flexible. Dive spots and sailing will depend greatly on the weather. We were lucky and were able to raise the sails often. Captain said August is typically not very windy which is good for diving the outer reefs but bad for sailing. We had unusually good winds which meant we could sail. One day was a little rough on the outer keys. We still got to the dive spot but the waves made it a little cloudy to see the reefs good. We only stayed there a little while. One of the boats from our group (we had scouts on 4 boats) chose not to stay on the outer reefs due to seasickness on their boat. They went back to the inner reefs. It really depends on your crew’s health, comfort in higher waves, and your captain.
  5. Midweek stops really depends on weather and your captain. We stopped at Pennekamp State Park for the night due to winds even grounding the commercial dive boats. There is a food truck with good food that the scouts decided to eat at instead of cooking food from the boat. There is also a gift shop with shirts and souvenirs. They also have ice cream and drinks. So you will want to have money with you while on the boat in case you stop somewhere like this. We had the option to rent kayaks to explore the mangrove around the park. The person there said it would probably only take a couple hours at most. Scouts chose not to do this and just hang out instead. There were showers in the group campsite and it felt good to wash a layer of salt water off.
  6. Checking into Sea Base is a bit chaotic. At least it was for our group that was pretty large. Someone will check in the office and go through all the paperwork. If you have multiple crews, separating the paperwork by crews will help. We had 4 so one adult checked in 2 crews and the other checked in 2 crews. While the paperwork is being checked all the others will meet with mates. You will go to the dive building and be fitted for fins and life vest and given bags for all equipment. All the bags look alike. Bringing carabiners of different colors or some way to mark your bag will help. 2 people share a bag. Next you will get personal bags ready for the boat. If you have a soft sided duffle or backpack carry on size or smaller you will not need to move to a Sea Base mesh bag. We were allowed to keep our bags to bring onto the boat. We did not need a large duffle for “crew gear”. The snorkel equipment stayed out in the 2 per bag mesh bag they gave us at the dive building. All of our sleeping pads were small enough to stay in our carry on bags. So we didn’t really need a crew bag. Anything we didn’t need on the boat went into a locker (travel clothes, Hawaiian shirt, travel shoes, etc). There is a locker per crew. We didn’t have much to go into a locker so a couple crews shared a locker. Make sure if you have multiple crews share that someone from each crew knows the combo. You may not get back into port the last day at the same time. After getting our personal gear set and into a cart we changed into swim suits. We then went to do a tutorial on how to work the snorkel gear and safety. It is not a test. It is a chance to try your gear and ask questions. We then changed out of our suits back to what we were wearing and attended flags at 5:45. There was a little time to go to the ship store before flags. We ate dinner at the base then went to our boats. We sailed out that evening.
  7. For Covid protocols: you will need a mask for the galley and ship store. Sea Base did give us cloth sea base masks upon arrival. Our midweek stop at Pennekamp State Park did not require masks anywhere. I can’t speak for any other places.
  8. The Luau. Seeing all the cool Hawaiian shirts on base was fun. There is not really anything special though. Flags are at 5:45. The groups just getting to base or staying on base line up at the galley to eat at 6:00. During the ”luau” there are games available to play like ladder ball, volleyball, ping pong. It is on your own. Basically from 6-7 is free time while waiting for the second seating for dinner. Some scouts played, some showered, and some just hung out. Dinner is at 7:00. After dinner is free time as well. The ship store is open as well as the snack shop.
    Hope some of this information helps!
    If you have any other specific questions please feel free to ask!

Sleeping on deck
-Did Scouts have a small air mattress for on deck? We have sleep air mattresses for tents. Bring those or something different?
-One used it and the rest didn’t. They all brought small air mattresses (fit into their carry on bag) but were so tired by night that they never bothered to blow them up. 2 slept in the cockpit area where there were thin cushions to lay on.
-Ours did, and I saw a suggestion to bring paracord to tie the air mattress to the railing/deck so if you get up (ahem..anchor watch) it doesn’t blow overboard.
-that was my thought as well. Something to tie it down or it blows away.
-We brought alligator tarp clips and paracord to tie down mats. Our captain tied up rope bundles as a weight to put on top of mats if they wanted. So we ended up not using what we brought because we didn’t really use the mats.

Snorkling with Vision Issues
Hi All, How have people handled people who need glasses? I’ve just discovered reasonably priced prescription swim goggles this summer. Would those work for the Ismoralda Seabase activities or should I look into a prescription swim mask for snorkeling? My husband had an expensive dive mask back in the day, but I wonder if there are any other more teenager-priced options. Thanks for any tips/advice!

-Get stick on ones unless you plan on using more than once or twice. Several online sites for SCUBA masks
-My son is blind without glasses, prescription scuba mask best money I could spend
-I just used my glasses on the boat, and went without when snorkeling. Since then, I have discovered reasonable options at our local dive shop. They aren’t as specific as my prescription, but I think they would help. Remember the water does help magnify things.
-Disposable Contact lenses and a regular mask!
-Daily-wear contacts are the way to go. Glasses are annoying and difficult to use in the water, and most opticians will give you a 6 pack trial set of contacts will will easily last your time on the water.
-My son has a strange prescription. We tried contacts and he did not want to use them and we could not find a prescription snorkel mask that would work for him
–For me I was able to find stock prescription goggles and snorkel mask. Same prescription in both eyes. Goggles about $20 / snorkel mask $60
–Got them thru here looks like they were $69. I do have contacts and tended to wear those more at sea base but used there to practice and prescription goggles for swimming all the time.
-I am near-sighted. Which I guess is a blessing. I can see at like 10 feet, but anything beyond that is pretty fuzzy. I am a diver and do not use prescription lenses. I find that things are clearer underwater than above.
-My son got contacts for the trip. Hasn’t worn them since.
-We opted for daily wear contacts. Both of my boys used those and found them to be a great solution. They took extras but never needed more than one set per day.
-This is what I do– contacts + goggles but my son has’t taken to them.
-Yeah, this was the first time for each of them. Their love of water motivated them. And they still use them to this day for water activities. The prescription masks aren’t that expensive if you don’t have a really odd prescription. Personally, I thought it was worth seeing when snorkeling. So I’d do something to help that happen
-We found a prescription snorkel mask on Amazon for my son bc he doesn’t like contacts.
-My husband got a prescription type clear sticker to put in the mask. I used those as my reading glasses to see my depth gauge underwater. 😁
-I didn’t see when snorkeling, may have been a good thing, lol! I can’t wear contacts.

Further Questions?

If you have any questions not answered above, please let Mr. Bielkiewicz know by emailing me at !

-Mr. Bielkiewicz
ASM of Plundering

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