What are Ocean Explorers Expeditions? 

Ocean Explorers Expeditions are customized travel programs that allow groups to have meaningful connections and real-world learning at international and domestic destinations. During the program, group participants will become citizen scientists themselves, contributing to one or more of REEF’s marine conservation programs, such as the Volunteer Fish Survey Project. Whether your group wants to travel to a new destination or revisit a past location, we'll work with you to create a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience. Current structured program locations include The Florida Keys, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Bonaire. If you'd like to develop an Expedition in a new location, we'd be happy to discuss options. 

Each Expedition includes classroom lessons on Program Topics selected by trip participants or group leaders. Program length and class content are customized around each group's interests, so every experience is unique and personalized. The programs are led by REEF staff who have the experience and knowledge to provide an extensive, all-encompassing experience that exposes participants to various marine science-based initiatives. Our Expeditions help define what participants can do as individuals to make a difference in the health of our oceans. 

Schools, colleges, and universities have begun to incorporate Expeditions into their learning experiences. 


Frequently Asked Questions About REEF Ocean Explorers Expeditions

Do participants need to be SCUBA certified to participate in an Expedition?
Nope! SCUBA certification is not required to schedule or participate in an Expedition program. We welcome all levels of divers and snorkelers on Expeditions. Some destinations may be more suitable than others, so please contact us to discuss which locations are the best fit for non-divers or snorkelers.

Do participants already need to be SCUBA certified to join as a diver?
If you plan to schedule an Expedition that includes diving, we highly recommend completing your dive certification prior to the trip. If you are a brand new diver, it is recommended that you build up your confidence in the water first before participating in citizen science diving. 

Can the group be a mix between divers and snorkelers?
Yes, many of our locations are appropriate for mixed groups of divers and non-divers/snorkelers. Some destinations may be more suitable than others, so please contact us to discuss which locations are the best fit for these types of groups. 

Do participants have to have any experience doing REEF surveys, identifying fish, or participating in citizen science to schedule an Expedition?
We welcome participants of all levels on all Expeditions. No previous experience or knowledge on program topics is necessary. If you’re a beginner, we will teach you everything you need to know to get started with REEF’s Citizen Science Programs. 

What if our group has participated in REEF’s citizen science programs before, and is looking for a more advanced Expedition?
We customize programs and lessons based on the group’s experience and desires. If your group has participated in REEF’s programs before, we offer a variety of lessons and activities for each topic from beginner to advanced. 

If I am an individual and want to join an Expedition, is that an option? 

Yes, you can join a Service Learning Trip called Ocean Explorers Field Survey Trips. For more information on upcoming trips, click here

What is the length of time for an Expedition program? 
Expedition programs are typically 5-7 days in length but can be adjusted to each group's needs and availability. 

Does my cost include lodging and meals?
With our ability to customize your experience, we can include lodging and meals for you or you can arrange and book on your own. This is also dependent on the location you choose for the Expedition.

What is included in the cost of Expeditions, and what other fees should I anticipate?
Package inclusions vary depending on each program. Please visit our Expedition Rates page to view what is generally included in the price of your program, as well as other fees that are not included (such as rental gear or national park fees). You may also visit our Sample Itineraries page to see examples of group programs and the estimated average price per person. 

I’d like to book an Expedition! How do I begin? 
If you're interested in scheduling an Ocean Explorers Expedition, contact explorers@REEF.org or call 305-852-0030 to start your adventure! Once you’ve contacted us, we’ll begin scheduling your program and communicate more details with you on preparing for your program.

What are the payment and cancellation policies?
Please review our Ocean Explorers Policies for detailed information about the payment schedule and cancellation policy.

Who will lead the Expedition program?
Expeditions are led by REEF education staff who are experts in marine conservation and citizen science. You can read about all of our trip leaders on the Expedition Leaders page.

What is an average day like?
This varies depending on the destination and group preferences. A typical day usually includes at least a half-day excursion (diving, snorkeling, etc.) and lessons or activities on selected Program Topics. Many topics center around marine biodiversity and marine ecology.  

What if participants need to rent dive or snorkel gear?
Although availability varies for each location, most dive operations are able to accommodate full gear rentals for an additional fee, which can be paid on site. If you have specific questions about gear availability or pricing, please contact us.

Do You Require Dive and/or Travel Insurance to participate in an Expedition?
It depends on the destination. Some locations require that all participants carry dive insurance such as DAN or similar. However, REEF strongly recommends that all participants be covered by both diving insurance and travel insurance. Visit our Policies page for more information and links.

Still have questions?
If you have any questions regarding Ocean Explorers Expeditions, please contact us at explorers@REEF.org or 305-852-0030. We are happy to answer any of your questions!