What is the minimum group size needed for a MarineLab program?
Nine students and one chaperone is the minimum for our "little boats," which is also their maximum. A minimum of 14 students (max 18) is needed for our "big boat."
What age groups or grade levels do you work with?
We work with students grade 5 through college.
Do I or my students need to know how to snorkel before we get there?
No, we will train you and your students to snorkel. In fact, you don't even have to know how to swim specific strokes to snorkel - it's just floating on the surface of the water! If you have non swimmers, we will equip them with ski vests for additional floatation. If you have younger students, it might be helpful for them to practice swimming or floating in a pool so they get comfortable in the water.
Does MarineLab arrange for ground or air transportation?
Schools must make their own arrangements to get here on their own, EXCEPT if you are flying into Miami or Ft Lauderdale airports. Then we can provide round trip ground transfers for a fee.
Do chaperones or teachers have to pay?
For snorkeling programs, one chaperone per group of 9 students participates free; one additional chaperone per group pays room and board; and all other adults pay full price. For SCUBA programs, every chaperone must pay the SCUBA fees. One chaperone per boat pays SCUBA fees only; one additional chaperone per group pays SCUBA fees and room and board; all other additional chaperones pay the full price. SCUBA fees vary depending on the program and cover the dive boat charter and rental gear costs for the chaperone.
How are the dorms set up? Do students from different schools share rooms? Do chaperones go in with the students?
MarineLab has five large dorm rooms and five smaller rooms. Rooms are sex-segragated and school-segregated; your students will not be in a room with students from another school. Housing chaperones in the rooms depends on your school's policy and whether we have the room to give you a separate chaperone rooms. Chaperones from different schools may be housed to gether.
Are linens provided? Are there any additional or 'hidden' fees? How much money should we bring?
Linens are not usually provided; students bring a sleeping bag and pillow. Otherwise, MarineLab prices are all inclusive and include meals, accommodations, field trips, all instruction, and snorkel gear. Optional costs include ground transportation, linen rentals, and wetsuit rentals. What is and is not included is clearly set out in the confirmation letter. You will only need money for vending machines or souvenirs from the gift shop.
Is there a lot of free time?
No, we keep the students pretty busy from wake-up until lights out! A typical day starts at 8 am with breakfast, out on the boats from 9 am until 12 noon, lunch at 12:30, out again from 2:00 pm until 5 pm, supper at 6:30 pm, and then evening activities from 7:30 pm until 10:00 pm. Students have time to shower and visit the gift shop, and maybe play some volleyball on our court.
Will there be other schools there while we are there?
Unless you have reserved all the boats, there probably will be other schools here. You will not be sharing dorms or teaching time with these other students, but will be sharing meal times and the restrooms.
What do you do when it rains?
We have a saying in the Keys: if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes! Short rain showers move through quickly, so unless there is severe weather threatening, or electrical storms, we will continue with the program. In the event of especially severe weather which prevents us from going out in the boats, staff will lead land-based activities. We are experienced at 'juggling' the program to match the weather, ensuring that you experience a full program.