Caribbean Marine Reserves

Review this Program


The Caribbean: St. Maarten


Work with the stunning marine parks of Saba, Statia and St. Barts. It's difficult to understand the threats that these marine environments are up against until you immerse yourself in their natural beauty. Compare and contrast how these different islands approach marine conservation. Beyond participation in lectures and engaging in discussions with local stakeholders, your role is to dive in and apply survey techniques in real underwater settings. Help shelter the endangered resources of these fragile environments and while simultaneously allowing for their sustainable use.

Earn 3 credits in Marine Science. Gain scuba certifications up to PADI Advanced Open Water. Also earn IYT sailing certifications. Not to mention, valuable experience in reef surveying techniques and learning daily water measurement.

Day 1-4
We begin our adventure at Broadreach's base in Anse Marcel on the French Side of St. Martin. Settle into your yacht, get to know your crewmates and get accustomed to the pace of life aboard. Whether you are already certified or it's your first time scuba diving, you'll be blowing bubbles and checking out amazing reefs and colorful fish in no time. Balancing our time between formal instruction, hands-on learning and underwater exploration, we examine the primary challenges in marine resource conservation. Learn about the ecological, social, economic and legal reasons why the oceans need our help, and discuss efforts to conserve these treasured resources.

Day 5-10
Sail to St. Barts to explore their newly formed marine park, established to stop further deterioration of fragile ecosystems due to overuse. Discuss the issues relating to the creation and management of marine reserves. How do they operate? Who are the stakeholders? How do marine parks impact other ecosystems? How do they measure success and failure? On several great dives we see how the park has benefited the island's underwater realm in just a few years. Take a break to explore Gustavia and treat yourself to delicious crepes or mango sorbet.

Day 11-15
On the Dutch island of Statia, we put our newfound underwater skills to the test by participating in community service projects and fun dives on some of the marine park's most popular dive sites. Learn about and assist the marine reserve with its sea turtle monitoring program and nighttime watches on Zeelandia Beach. Explore Wreck City and the Charles Brown, an impressive 327-foot wreck sunk in 2003, and see how artificial reefs boost dive tourism while providing sanctuary for juvenile reef fish. After morning dives, learn about the park's policies, successes and failures, then hike through lush rainforest in the crater of Statia's extinct volcano.

Day 16-19
The island of Saba towers out of the sea and captivates us with its majestic beauty, world-class diving, quaint villages and mountain rainforests. Settle into your home for the next week, the colorful Eco-lodge nestled in the heart of lush elfin rainforest. Dive below to discover an abundance of marine life and a pristine underwater landscape, from limestone based reef systems and fringing reefs to pinnacles and seamounts. Our underwater classrooms are spectacular sites - Man 'o War Shoals, Diamond Rock and Twilight Zone - perfect for undersea adventure and learning! Learn how dive tourism has flourished since the creation of the SMP and how diver impact has been significantly reduced, in contrast to other parts of the Caribbean that are experiencing the erosion of coral and marine life.

Day 20-25
Research, monitoring and maintenance are critical to the ongoing management and continued success of the SMP. Conduct research using Reef Check protocols to assess coral diseases, bleaching, algae coverage and biodiversity in Saba's awesome underwater realm. Discuss different types of outreach and education, and learn about the methods used worldwide to instruct stakeholders and others how to protect fragile environments. Host a dinner with local stakeholders, from shopkeepers to government officials, to discuss their perspectives on the SMP. Saba's conservation efforts extend above the waterline as well, and we explore the island's nature trails, rainforests and park systems. Lend a hand by doing some community service and trail work, then hike through elfin rainforest to Saba's dramatic 3,000-foot peak. We conclude our time on Saba by presenting our research and findings to the SMP. We travel home with unforgettable memories, new friends, a broader perspective on marine conservation and the knowledge of how we can make a difference.


* Hands-on studies of marine reserves and marine resource management
* Underwater research and community service
* Sailing voyage
* Scuba training and certification
* Visit 3 Caribbean islands: Saba, Statia, St. Barts




June 11 - July 5

Travel Types

  • Ecology
  • Environmental Studies
  • Sailing
  • Scuba
  • Trekking
  • RainForest Tours
  • Hiking
  • Volunteering

Degree Level

Bachelors Degree (Undergraduate)

Minimum Education

High School

Subject Areas

  • Biology
  • Conservation And Preservation
  • Ecology
  • Marine Biology
  • Marine Science
  • Tropical Biology

Cost in US$:

please call for latest details

Experience Required


  • Minimum 18 years old
  • High school graduate
  • High school or college Biology
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5
  • Completed at least one semester at college or graduated high school over a year ago

This Program is open to

Worldwide Participants.

Typical Living Arrangements

  • Group living

Typically Participants Work

in Groups of limited in size to between 10-16 students.

Scholarships are Available

Applications for next summer are due May 1. Scholarship awards will be made May 15th.

Application Process Involves

  • Written Application
  • Physical Exam/Health Records

Typically The Application Process Time is

1-3 days