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GAP PROGRAMS FOR gap year & winter start students

Environmental Studies in Woods Hole & at Sea 1


Adventurer. EXPLORER. Ocean enthusiast.

You have a passion for the environment. You’re ready to gain hands-on experience. You want to influence change. You’re looking for something different.


Educators. Leaders. Ocean stewards.

SEA is an internationally recognized leader in ocean education. For nearly 50 years, we’ve taken more than 10,000 students safely to sea aboard our tall ship sailing research vessels. We educate ocean scholars, stewards, and leaders: people who are passionate about making a difference.

Adventure with a purpose.


We’ll go from classmates to shipmates, form a tight-knit crew, and cross oceans to engage with the critical environmental issues of our time.



Sea Education Association (SEA), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, is an internationally recognized leader in experiential ocean education. Since 1971, we have equipped more than 10,000 students with the tools to become environmentally literate leaders through preparatory studies on shore followed by a tall ship sailing research voyage at sea. WHAT WE DO

The ocean covers nearly three-quarters of Earth, yet 90% is largely unexplored. SEA provides an experiential opportunity to gather firsthand knowledge that will influence your lifelong relationship with

the ocean. Moving beyond the textbook toward hands-on research and field-based experience, SEA gap programs prepare you to take a more active role in solving today’s environmental problems. where we go

Going to sea is a powerful experience. It presents an opportunity to disconnect from the distractions of daily life on land in order to connect with yourself and your environment instead. Our alumni often report that SEA was a transformative experience, and one that was seminal in their development of personal traits such as confidence, maturity, and respect. SEA will change the way you view the world, and yourself. Where will you go with SEA?

preparing students for the future BUILDING SKILLS FOR SUCCESS

Embarking on a gap program with SEA provides you with a unique set of skills that’s applicable to any future career path you choose to take. With us, you have the rare opportunity to live and work with a diverse group of individuals under dynamic conditions all while striving toward a common goal. 92% of our alumni report that SEA gave them skills that have been useful in their professions. These skills include self-reliance, teamwork, leadership, followership, and the ability to communicate and work effectively with a variety of people across disciplines. ACADEMIC PREPARATION

SEA welcomes gap and winter start students from all backgrounds who are interested in the oceans and ready to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to address the critical environmental

issues of our time, including climate change, sustainability, environmental justice, and human impacts. Whether you’re looking to reconnect to your learning without the pressure of grades, hoping to strengthen a future college application, or interested in transferable credit as a winter admit to a college or university, SEA gap programs can help you build a solid foundation for any academic pursuit. OUR ALUMNI NETWORK

The unique experience SEA offers has created a strong, active, and supportive alumni community. Always eager to help, our former students are an invaluable resource for personal and professional networking, and for employment opportunities in most any career field. SEA students go on to a wide variety of careers and post-graduate pursuits. Read about them at www.sea.edu/alumni.

marketable skills


the SEA

Ripple Effect setting a course for success

Being an SEA alum means something. It says something about you: your passion, your knowledge, your character. It also means that you’re part of a well-established community. These are essential elements to success – in your undergraduate studies, professional career, and personal life – that colleges and employers value.





Make a difference.

Master a range of academic subjects.

Develop confidence.

Join a tight-knit alumni community.

Gain lifelong practical and interpersonal skills.

Be a leader, and a follower.

Gain powerful networking opportunities.

Challenge yourself. Hone your sense of adventure. Contribute to something bigger than yourself.

Strengthen your ocean intellect, whether for academic credit or just the experience.

Get to know yourself.

Abide by a code: ship, shipmates, self. Develop critical thinking & communication skills.

Find a professional circle of mentors. Make friends for life.



personal growth




At the beginning of every SEA gap program, up to 25 students come together on SEA’s residential campus in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. During this initial shore component, you’ll undertake coursework with SEA faculty that will prepare you personally and practically for the second part of your experience at sea.

You’ll then join the SSV Corwith Cramer, our Atlantic sailing research vessel, to put your classroom knowledge into real-world practice. No sailing experience is required. Guided by our faculty and professional crewmembers, you’ll quickly become an integral member of the ship’s company, fully participating in the scientific mission and 24/7 sailing operations of the vessel.

You’ll explore the connections between humans and the ocean and learn the principles necessary to crew a tall ship. Living in fully furnished private cottages, you’ll share all of the responsibilities of community living including grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. From day one, your class will begin building skills in teamwork, communication, and collaboration, all of which will prepare you for the demands of living and working together at sea.

You’ll be hands-on in every aspect of shipboard life, including collecting and analyzing oceanographic samples, handling sails, charting and navigating your course, and even helping to prepare meals! When you step off the ship, you’ll take away a toolbox of skills and knowledge, self-confidence, lifelong friends, and a sense of direction that will serve you far beyond your voyage.




17 Boston University credits

Atlantic Odyssey is a fall semester program specifically tailored to gap/winter start students who are looking for an experiential, non-credit bearing learning opportunity. It explores the conservation and sustainable management of marine environments, and introduces students to the coastal and island communities that depend upon these natural resources.

Ocean Exploration is a fall semester program designed for gap/winter start students who are seeking transferable undergraduate credit. This interdisciplinary program combines insights from oceanography, the humanities, and the social sciences with practical skills in seamanship, allowing students to address and answer some of the most pressing global questions related to the ocean environment.

A 3-week field intensive shore component in Woods Hole is followed by a 6-week sailing research voyage from Woods Hole to the Caribbean. Learn more: www.sea.edu/ao

A 6-week academic shore component in Woods Hole is followed by a 6-week sailing research voyage from Woods Hole to the Caribbean. Learn more: www.sea.edu/oe

global perspective


C al b o Gl



SEA Semester Alumni Survey American Gap Association Alumni Survey




74 77

Useful career skills

92 84

Personal development

98 98

Professional success Find a purpose

97 77

Helped get first job

81 75

Ocean steward Global citizen

77 82


Influenced career




I learned a lot academically, especially in terms of Caribbean culture, scientific methods, and traditional tall ship sailing. I also felt that I grew older with my time at SEA, and it made me more confident to

tackle college.”

- NINO Tomas, SEA Gap Student, Middlebury College “Feb” Admit


v En

mental iron


LIFE ON BOARD Field Research

Once on board the SSV Corwith Cramer, students become full, working members of the sailing crew and scientific team. Field work at sea includes deploying nets to catch marine plants and animals, sending sensing equipment hundreds of meters below the surface, listening to the underwater soundscape to observe dolphin and whale behavior, and contributing to ongoing research projects focused on human impacts on marine ecosystems. Students will participate in open ocean oceanographic research and active citizen science efforts while underway, and conduct snorkel-based coral reef survey work upon their arrival in the Caribbean. Sail Training & Seamanship

SEA’s sail training and seamanship components challenge students to form a team and sail a tall ship at sea. Teamwork, leadership, community, and

a sense of shared mission are core values of all SEA programs. Students take responsibility for all shipboard operations to cultivate these life skills. The captain and professional crew instruct students in navigation, sail handling, and watch leadership with emphasis on communication, thoughtful participation, and a planned approach to tasks - all essential in school, the workplace, and ultimately, in life. SEA’s gap program participants grow not only as students, but as individuals. health & Safety

SEA fully recognizes the significant responsibility for training and housing young people at our campus in Woods Hole, and for taking them to sea. Since 1971, SEA has continuously and thoughtfully honed its safety policies and procedures to minimize risk to program participants and personnel while achieving programmatic goals. We operate under a philosophy

leadership development


of prevention but prepare for and are capable of a broad spectrum of response. Safety is among our highest priorities on every voyage, every day. The SSV Corwith Cramer is a 134-foot brigantine custom designed and built for SEA with student and crew safety foremost in mind. It is a United States Coast Guard (USCG) certified vessel, and regularly inspected for ocean service. As a U.S. flagged Sailing School Vessel (SSV), the ship is required to meet safety standards different from those for passenger vessels on a comparable route. The SSV Corwith Cramer meets or exceeds the safety requirements for its USCG and American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) class designations, and possesses all required equipment for navigation and emergency situation response. As with other areas of safety, medical care at sea is heavily biased towards prevention. The ship carries simple medical kits and is assigned a designated

medical officer. It also maintains 24-hour access to a network of physicians specifically trained to provide remote medical care and advice. SEA cruise tracks are planned well in advance to optimize program objectives, and are based on seasonal weather patterns, sea conditions, oceanographic research clearances, and port calls. Our cruise tracks reflect strict adherence to predictable heavy weather avoidance. SEA crew are highly trained, experienced, and fully licensed by the USCG. At sea, the crew to student ratio is approximately 1:2. Our professional staff receives safety and medical training and performs regular drills. SEA takes a leadership role in the world of sail training regulation, and as an organization, voluntarily subjects itself to external and internal safety audits.  For more information about our commitment to health and safety, please visit www.sea.edu/safety.


In order to be considered for admission, applicants must submit:

year in advance of the program start and encourage students to apply early to ensure placement in their preferred program.

• Online application form


• Two writing samples

SEA is committed to working with every qualified applicant to make our gap programs affordable. Our Financial Aid Office works one-on-one with each student and their family to come up with the best possible financial package. Between need-based SEA gift aid and other outside awards, we can help to make SEA a reality for you.

• High school transcript • Two references • Interview with SEA Admissions Counselor WHEN TO APPLY

Admission for SEA gap programs operates on a rolling basis, and programs are limited in capacity with a maximum of 25 student spots per class. Therefore, we welcome applications as early as one

Access more details about our application process, program costs, and financial aid at www.sea.edu/gapadmissions.

tools for success




adventure with a purpose



Each summer, current high school students (including graduating seniors) can participate in a shore-based field program on our campus in Woods Hole, Massachusetts or an at-sea voyage aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer with a focus on oceanographic research under sail. SEASCape: SEA Science on the Cape combines academic coursework at our Woods Hole campus with laboratory activities, leadership training, and field work. The program is a great opportunity for high school students to explore marine science, the history of humanity’s relationship with the oceans, and modern maritime issues. SEA Expedition welcomes high school students to participate in every aspect of a challenging offshore sailing and oceanographic expedition. The

program occurs entirely aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer, where students gain hands-on experience conducting oceanographic research, sailing a tall ship, and developing crucial leadership and teamwork skills. UNDERGRADUATE STUDY ABROAD

Our Boston University accredited study abroad program, SEA SemesterÂŽ, is the leading off-campus environmental studies program focused on the ocean. While the academic focus varies, each summer or semester program offers a suite of interdisciplinary courses designed to explore a specific ocean-related theme. We look for motivated undergraduates of all majors who are passionate about learning, inspired to tackle and address real-world problems, and eager to become part of an unparalleled living and learning community.

LEARN MORE www.sea.edu

Sea Education Association www.sea.edu P.O. Box 6 Woods Hole, MA 02543 800-552-3633 x770 800-977-8516 fax 15

Profile for SEA Semester

SEA Semester Gap Programs  

Modeled after our Boston University accredited SEA Semester undergraduate program, SEA gap programs offer any student interested in the ocea...

SEA Semester Gap Programs  

Modeled after our Boston University accredited SEA Semester undergraduate program, SEA gap programs offer any student interested in the ocea...