Also see Sea Education Association

Spend your summer on a tall ship!

Oceanography of the Gulf of Maine (OGM) is a three-week academic program for high school students that offers undergraduate college credits.  The program is offered jointly by the Sea Education Association (SEA) and the Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML).  OGM includes onshore study on Appledore  Island off the coast of Maine followed by a migration to the SEA schooner SSV Corwith Cramer. At sea, the coursework continues with hands-on oceanography as well as assisting in all aspects of operating the ship

OGM is designed to provide the serious high school science student with real-life experience in an oceanographic research environment, both in a shore-based field station and aboard an oceanographic research vessel.  OGM combines an academically rigorous study program with the fun of living, working and sailing in a communal student group.

The Shoals Marine Laboratory’s research center on Appledore Island, Isles of Shoals, Maine is home to OGM students for the first ten days of the program. Academics take up the daylight hours as students collect coastal marine ecology data under the guidance of SML teachers.  This scientific fieldwork is complemented by lectures and lab time or, possibly, a daytrip on SML's research vessel, John M. Kingsbury.

Free time on the island provides swimming in the brisk Atlantic waters, volleyball and socializing in the dorms.  Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments, and informal jam sessions draw students, faculty and staff together many evenings. Personal stereos and other electronic widgets are banned as the emphasis is on personal interaction.  During the day students are immersed in science and in the off hours they work towards becoming part of a team working together towards communal goals.  They wake together, work together, play together and rest together.  

The shipboard component of the program begins when SEA's 134-foot sailing research vessel Corwith Cramer pulls up to the Appledore Island dock and welcomes the students aboard. The ten-day oceanographic cruise explores the waters of the Gulf of Maine, George's Bank and Cape Cod.  Students work alongside professional scientists conducting oceanographic research in the fields of biology, geology, ocean chemistry and environmental science.  

The group is organized into "watches" and under the guidance of the SEA captain, mates and crew, they learn all aspects of operating a tall ship.  Like any research vessel, SEA's schooners operate 24 hours per day, so sleep is at a premium but there's still time to enjoy the sunrise, learn to shoot the stars with a sextant, or watch for the northern lights.  Onboard the ship, the food is great, teamwork is essential and lifelong bonds of friendships are often forged. Over the next ten days, the ship sails south, ending with a passage through the Cape Cod Canal en route to SEA's home base in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

The OGM program concludes with formal presentations by the students of the research they conducted during the cruise, and a shipboard party the evening before pulling into the Dyer's Dock in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.  Successful completion of the program qualifies students for four undergraduate college credits from Cornell University.  Grades and transcripts are delivered to students after the course.  

OGM isn't for everyone, but those who "get it" have an experience they'll never forget.


Notes & Resources

SEA (pronounced Sss. Eee. A., not cee), is a small, private, non-profit oceanographic school in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.  SEA offers high school and college-level multidisciplinary courses that combine oceanography, nautical science and maritime studies.  See Sea Education Association for further information.

The SEA website:
SEA Semester Program for College Students:

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