Florida National High Adventure Sea Base

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Florida National National High Adventure Sea Base
Florida National National High Adventure Sea Base
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Location Florida Keys,
Country United States of America
Founded 1979
Founder Sam Wampler

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The Florida National National High Adventure Sea Base is a National High Adventure Base run by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in the Florida Keys. Its counterparts are the Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico and the Northern Tier National High Adventure Bases in Ely, Minnesota.

The main Sea Base is located in Islamorada, Florida, on the end of Lower Matecumbe Key at mile marker (MM) 73.8. A secondary base, the Brinton Environmental Center, is located on Summerland Key at MM 23.8. In addition there is the Out Island (Big Munson Key) near Summerland Key that is only accessible via boat. Also operated by Florida Sea Base is the Bahamas Sea Base in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas.

In addition to its use as a high adventure program base, the Florida Sea Base also hosts conferences. They added additional building for this purpose, and the Florida Sea Base Conference Center has become an alternative training site to the Philmont Training Center. Most conferences it hosts are for professionals or national level committees, but it also hosts conferences for outside groups.


Currently, the Sea Base offers the following programs:

  • Bahamas Adventure is a week-long sailing trip in the Bahamas, done from the Bahamas Sea Base.
  • Bahamas Tall Ship is a similar trip, but aboard a Tall ship sailing vessel.
  • Out Island Adventure is a week-long trip where participants live on the "desert island" of Big Munson Key. Activities include sea kayaking to the island, fishing, snorkeling and canoeing around the island.
  • Coral Reef Sailing is a week-long sailing trip aboard a pair of small sailing boats.
  • Sea Exploring (Keys Tall Ship) is a week-long sailing trip aboard a large sailing vessel.
  • Florida Keys Adventure is a week-long trip covering various activities in the Florida Keys, including snorkeling, fishing, visiting the Out Island, visiting Key West, sailing, and more.
  • SCUBA Certification is a week-long program for those wishing to be certified in scuba diving.
  • SCUBA Adventure is a week-long SCUBA program for those crews already certified.
  • SCUBA Live-Aboard is a week-long SCUBA program that combines aspects of the sailing and scuba diving programs; participants must already be certified.
  • Divemaster Training Academy is a new program that certifies participants as PADI Divemasters.
  • OA Ocean Adventure (OAOA) is a new program that started in the summer of 2005 by the Order of the Arrow, and is a counterpart to the OA Trail Crew at Philmont, and the OA Wilderness Voyage at the Northern Tier. The OAOA is a 2 week program that includes one week of SCUBA Certification, and one week of environmental restoration work in the waters of the Florida Keys.

Depending on the program, crews leave from one of the 3 Sea Bases. Most programs end with an evening luau before they depart.


In 1975 a handful of volunteers from Miami, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia got together to develop a high adventure program using the waters in and around the Florida Keys as their foundation. They asked the then Camping Director of the South Florida Council, Sam Wampler, to coordinate trips to Freeport in the Bahamas. Sam, using his station wagon and a warehouse, operated this program until 1979. Unable to find a director for this ever growing program, the committee convinced Wampler to become the first Director of the "Florida Gateway". Under Wampler's leadership, the National Council received a 1.3 million dollar grant from the Fleischmann Foundation. Following some extensive research, the Old Tollgate Motel and Marina was purchased. That original 6.3 acres (25,000 m²) became the beginning of what is now known as the Florida Sea Base.

Since that original gift, there have been several other grants and purchases which have allowed the base to grow. From 1990 to the present, the growth has been dramatic with the addition of a third dorm, a conference center, conference housing and a new maintenance building. The original restaurant was also given a major facelift. A new chapel was created and a 45 foot (14 m) Corinthian catamaran was also purchased. In April 2005, a new 46 foot Newton dive boat was purchased, adding to the already large fleet of boats, which also include Duskys. The Florida Sea Base is the only facility of its kind in the world.

Keys blessing

Bless the creatures of the Sea,
Bless this person I call me,
Bless the Keys you made so grand,
Bless the sun that warms the land,
Bless the fellowship we feel, as we gather for this meal,

This blessing was composed by John Hammond.

See also


External links