The New England Aquarium’s newest education and adventure program for teens, called Sea TURTLE (Teen Underwater Research, Training and Learning Expedition), connects teenagers with the oceans through classroom sessions and immersive underwater exploration. Participants in this special program learn scuba diving and apply classroom learning to cultivate a greater understanding of ocean ecosystems and the threats against them.

What is Sea TURTLE all about?

Sea TURTLE teens learn how to scuba dive in order to explore the underwater wonders of a unique marine habitat – and you do it as part of a team with support from other teens. Sea TURTLE participants will:

  • Earn open water scuba certification
  • Learn about marine science and participate in real field work
  • Intimately experience the interconnectedness of humans and the oceans
  • Create lifelong memories and friendships with other participants



Participants will begin by attending one week of classroom and field-based marine biology and scuba classes at the New England Aquarium. Teens and New England Aquarium staff members will then embark on a week-long overnight expedition to Rhode Island. Students will demonstrate skills learned during the confined water (pool) sessions in order to complete their open water (ocean) dives and earn PADI Open Water scuba certification. For more information see our Information Packet (116 KB).



Classroom topics will include:

Field experience will include:

Organisms and habitats of coastal New England Scuba instruction lead by a dive instructor
Marine ecology and ocean food webs Fish and invertebrate biology and identification
Research methods and marine science career paths Scientific data collection
Ocean conservation Field equipment usage
  Intertidal exploration

Should I apply?

Applicants must meet all the following basic requirements. Please read carefully.

Interest—Demonstrate a sincere interest in careers/field research related to marine science
Age—Be at least 15 years old and have completed one year of high school or equivalent
Swimming—Possess reasonable swimming ability. Applicants must pass a swim test with our dive instructor in order to be accepted into the program.
Medical—Individuals must have the endurance to withstand moderate exertion. Please note: Medical doctors do not recommend scuba diving by individuals with seizure disorders or other serious medical conditions.
New England Aquarium Involvement - Preference will be given to applicants who have successfully completed, or are currently engaged in another Aquarium program or who have equivalent marine science experience. Please ask us if you have questions.


Examples of acceptable Aquarium programs are:
Aquarium Teen Intern
World of Water Explorers Class
Harbor Discoveries Camper or Counselor in Training (CIT)

Aquarium Volunteer
Live Blue Ambassadors

Aquarium School or DEEP or Aquarium Ocean Series

Aquarium Teen Ocean Summit

Please ask us if you have questions about your experience.



What are the dates for 2012?

Application Deadline

Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 2, 2012.

Download application and other important forms here:

Information Packet (PDF 116KB)

Application Form (PDF 136KB)

Reference Form (PDF 60KB)

Scholarship Application Form (PDF 52KB)


Our interview process includes a group interview and swim test. Once we receive your application, you will receive an email from us with details. Applicants will be selected by May 1.

Class Dates

The classroom and pool sessions will take place all day from Monday, August 6, to Friday, August 10, at the New England Aquarium.

Expedition Dates

The expedition to Rhode Island will begin on Monday morning, August 20. We will stay overnight and return to Boston on Friday afternoon, August 24.

How much does Sea TURTLE cost?

The all-inclusive cost is $1,700, which covers everything from gear rentals to lodging. Need-based scholarships are available for a limited number of applicants. Payment plans are available. Please see the information packet for a breakdown of costs. Download scholarship application here (PDF 52KB).





For more information about the Sea TURTLE program, please take a look at some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or visit the blogs from the 2010 and 2011 Sea TURTLE expeditions.