Teen Advanced Open Water SCUBA Camp
2023 Registration Now Open
Take a deeper dive into the world of marine biology in our 6- day Advanced Open Water/Nitrox SCUBA certification camp. This program is designed for rising 9th graders – recent high school graduates who have already completed their Open Water SCUBA certification and are looking for new and challenging opportunities!
The waters off the North Carolina coast provide the perfect opportunity to further develop your skills, as our coast was rated one of the top diving destinations in North America. During this program, you will develop your knowledge of marine biology fundamentals and ocean conservation further while developing your SCUBA skills. This camp is designed for rising 9th-12th graders, who are passionate about SCUBA diving and the marine environment. Join us on our next adventure as we:
- Earn a PADI Advanced Open Water SCUBA certification
- Earn PADI Nitrox Certification
- Dive the crystal clear waters off the coast of North Carolina
- Take nest walks to check for recent tracks or nests
- Boogie board and enjoy the ocean right out front of your room
- Hands-on marine science lessons taught by professionals
- Earn ten hours of community service
**Please note that all activities are subject to change without notice**
Due to our commitment to personal instruction, each camp session will be limited to 15 students. This guarantees that everyone has the best experience possible. Camp tuition includes lodging on Topsail Island, all meals from dinner on the first day to breakfast on the last day, 24-hour same-gender adult supervision (5:1 camper to staff ratio), admission to all activities, all equipment, transportation including pickup and drop off from the Wilmington International Airport (ILM), Sea Turtle Hospital donation, community service certificate, Sea Turtle Camp t-shirt, and memorable group photo. Campers are responsible for round-trip airfare to ILM or transportation to Topsail Island, mask, fins, and snorkel, and additional money for souvenirs.
2023 Advanced Open Water SCUBA Camp Dates:
Coastal North Carolina is surrounded by rich marine ecosystems that countless aquatic species call home. From the expansive Atlantic Ocean, with its miles of white sand beaches on barrier islands to the fluctuating and dynamic salt marsh habitats, Sea Turtle Camp gives you the opportunity to explore and study these amazing ecosystems in depth. We strive to provide teenagers with the opportunity to learn more about marine biology and conservation through hands-on, feet-wet experiential education. Campers get the extraordinary opportunity to participate in some amazing daily activities designed to teach them through experience instead of out of a textbook.
During this amazing adventure you will:
- Visit the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center
- Receive PADI Advanced Open Water Scuba Instruction
- Earn the PADI Nitrox Certification
- Hands-on marine science lessons taught by our professional staff
- Search for turtle nests during nest walks along the beach
- Learn ocean and wave dynamics through boogie boarding
* * Schedule is subject to change. Please keep in mind that we try out best to adhere to this schedule but we cannot control mother nature, in the event of adverse weather, we have rainy-day activities in place. We cannot control canceled vendors. We will try out best to incorporate what was missed in later days, but it does not always fit into our schedule **
While at camp, students will be staying in the heart of the sea turtle action on Topsail Island. Pronounced Tops’l by the locals, this 26-mile long, quarter-mile-wide barrier island has a rich history filled with pirates, fishermen, and surfers. Since Topsail Island is one of the less developed barrier islands in the area, groves of maritime forest still dot the island and are rumored to hide Blackbeard’s treasure. Nowadays, Topsail is known as a laid-back beach town and a sanctuary for sea turtles.
Campers will be housed in a fully furnished retreat center with an ocean view and beach access just a few feet away. This is an ideal location, as we will only be steps from our outdoor classroom. Students will see the sun rise over the ocean during morning nest patrols.
The rooms are gender-specific and feature air-conditioning, comfortable common areas, and gender-specific bathrooms. Each participant will have his or her own bed. Sea Turtle Camp staff members are housed on-site and will provide 24-hour, same-gender adult supervision.
Campers will not only enjoy the breathtaking sunsets from the decks of the Retreat Center, but also private beach access, campfires, and outdoor activities such as volleyball, corn hole, basketball, and much more.
As we are only minutes from the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and beach, we can have a more active role in providing care to the turtles at the hospital and assisting the Topsail Beach Nesting Patrol. More hands-on opportunities and nest watching means more fun for the campers!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I get to see real live sea turtles?
YES!!! We work very closely with the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center which has an average occupancy of about 20 sea turtles with varying degrees of injury or illness. Some are even permanent residents due to the severity of their injuries. The NC Aquarium usually houses a few and from time to time we even see them out in the ocean.
What kind of community service will I be doing?
At Sea Turtle Camp service is the most rewarding part of our program, and we like to think of it as service learning. Everything we do at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, from working directly with live sea turtles to cleaning and feeding sounds more like enjoyment than service, but it is. We also conduct beach sweeps in the local area.
Should I bring a friend?
While most participants come alone, you are welcome to come with a friend. Please indicate if you would like to room with someone specific.
How old are the campers I will be rooming with?
Roommates are grouped together by age in order to enhance the overall level of comfort. There are 5 campers and 1 counselor in each bunk room.
I am a finicky eater. Can you cater to special diets?
Yes, we can. We know how important it is to eat healthy meals when you are outside and at the beach all day long. We’ll ask you in a questionnaire what types of food, snacks, and drinks you prefer.
What do I need to bring?
A complete packing list will be included with your informational registration packet.
Can I call home during camp?
We have all campers check in with their parents upon arrival, but we have limited parental contact for the duration of the camp. Sea Turtle Camp is a growing experience, and we find that young people do best and gain confidence through independence. Campers are NOT allowed to carry cell phones at any time during camp. Any cell phones brought to camp will be collected upon arrival and returned upon departure. Parents will be updated through emails and the many pictures we’ll be posting on Facebook throughout the trip! We will provide an after-hours number to reach the office in the event of an emergency.
What sort of payment do you accept?
We accept checks, money orders, or VISA/MC/AMEX credit cards. All credit card payments are processed online using a secure server. There is a $50 service charge for all returned checks. With the exception of the trip deposit, a 3% credit card surcharge will be assessed for all payments made by credit card. Please review our cancellation policy. Deposits are not refundable after we have received teacher references and your camper is accepted into a program.
What airport is best to fly into for your program, and do you provide a shuttle service?
The airport to fly into is the Wilmington International Airport (ILM), which is located 45 minutes from our facility on Topsail. Our educators meet all participants at baggage claim OR their gate. The shuttle cost to and from this airport is included in the program tuition. Participants must arrive and depart between 12-3 pm to ILM. If you have to arrive outside of our arrival and departure times, there are additional fees for a separate shuttle pickup.
What if I can't get in by the set check-in time?
Please contact our Program Coordinator to discuss arrivals and departures outside of our preferred times. In order to avoid missing any planned activities, participants driving in should try to arrive between 12:30 – 2 pm on the first day and depart around 12:30- 1:30 pm on the last day of camp.
What if my luggage doesn't make it?
Occasionally the airlines will misplace luggage or your suitcases will miss connecting flights. We recommend keeping essentials, such as medications, toiletries, bathing suits, and extra change of clothes, in their carry-on luggage just in case. We also recommend purchasing trip insurance when you select your flight.
What is your cancellation policy?
Sea Turtle Camp is an extremely high quality, tight margined program, with limited space. Therefore, once your student has been accepted into the program, exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason, including weather or personal emergencies. Please review the terms of our cancellation policy. In order to enroll in camp you must agree to these terms. Our full cancellation policy can be found here.
Do you have insurance?
We carry a comprehensive insurance package, including general liability. Once again, travel insurance is recommended.
How much spending money should I bring?
We recommend campers bring $50 to $75 per week of camp. This is for snacks, souvenirs, or gifts you wish to purchase while at camp.
Does my child need to know how to swim to be able to attend this program?
Yes. Due to the nature of this program, all campers must be able to swim and have a basic level of comfort in the water.
“My 14-year old son attended the Advanced Diving Certification program for one week in summer of 2020. As we all know, this summer was a season of disappointment and cancellation so when we found Sea Turtle camp, we were excited that our son would have at least one adventure this summer.He LOVED the program, connected with all of the 15 kids, and the dive experience exceeded his expectations. He is typically concerned that programs will treat young teenagers younger than they are and limit their experience. That was not the case with his Sea Turtle Camp experience. There was the appropriate caution but the kids were treated with respect for their knowledge of the water and scuba and had experiences that we never could have expected.
We’re grateful that the friendship and memories of camp will last a lot longer than the memories of our quarantine situation, which is exactly what we were looking for. Thank you to the Dive Master, the counselors and the diligence of the program overall. This was not an easy summer to relinquish control over our children’s well being but we took a calculated risk that more than paid off. THANK YOU!”
“My son attended the Sea Turtle Camp in Wilmington, NC during July 2015. In his words, “It had many unique features and it wasn’t nerdy at all.” Evidently, it was also great fun. He was enrolled in the scuba certification program, so that was a central focus, but he also had plenty of time to learn about the turtles and marine biology and horse around in the ocean with the other campers. Needless to say, he’s already talking about going back next year.“
“My son attended the PADI Open Water Scuba program the summer of 2018, PADI Advanced Open Water Scuba program the summer of 2019 and most recently the Rescue Diving Scuba Camp this past summer 2020. Needless to say, having attended camp three consecutive years in row, both my son and I highly recommend Sea Turtle Camp for any teen looking for an amazing experience. The counselors were caring, fun and extremely knowledgeable in providing a safe and exciting experience. It touched my heart when I saw my son reach out to hug one of the counselors to say goodbye. Thank you Dive Master, counselors and administrators who always quickly answered my phone calls and e-mails and provided amazing memories that my son will never forget!“
“Our 14 year old son has wanted to be a marine biologist. Sea Turtle Camp gave him the beginnings of this experience. He earned his open water certificate and looks forward to qualifying for his advanced open water certificate. The camp counselors were contentious and caring. With the pandemic I thought the arrangements provided everyone safety and protection. Sea Turtle Camp provided a wonderful summer experience, and I would recommend it without reservation.“