Education Programs

About 70% of our planet is covered by oceans.  The atmosphere, land and marine ecosystems are very dependent on one another.  A slight change in the marine ecosystem can noticeably impact our lives on land.  A change in sea temperature affects the weather on land, causing hurricanes or droughts.  A change in plankton levels adjusts the oceans carbon cycle. If you live by the coast, this means that the oxygen you breathe may be adjusted.

Educational programs on the Derek M. Baylis are unique because they are modeled after real research that has been done on the vessel. From marine mammal surveys to aquatic debris and refuse monitoring program our crew brings the experience of real science into the hands of our students and passengers. While it’s not possible to tag a white shark or use hydrophones to search for blue whales like some of the projects we have been a part of; we can start with the basics and build off that sense of wonder and discovery.

Today there are many issues facing the marine environment. Scientists will be the first to admit they do not have all the answers. Our programs are designed to bring these questions to the forefront in an effort to create awareness and understanding of the challenges the aquatic landscape will face over the next century.


Plankton station

This station focuses on plankton collection, count, types and its vital function in the marine ecosystem.

In this station passengers will:

  • Discuss what plankton is and why it is so important in a marine ecosystem
  • Use a plankton net to collect samples
  • The use of a microscope to identify various species of plankton
  • Take a count of the various types

Navigation Station

This station focuses on the basic operation and navigation of a sailing vessel.

In this station passengers will learn the basics of:

  • The use of nautical terminology
  • Steering the vessel and using the appropriate commands.
  • Understanding tides, currents and the planetary influence on bodies of water.
  • Use of a nautical chart to find location and corresponding longitude and latitude.

Water Sampling & Quality Station

This station focuses on collecting water samples at specific depths to determine water temperature, salinity, phosphate and pH levels.

In this station passengers will:

  • A discussion about how sea temperatures and the levels of nitrates and salinity affect the seas ecology.
  • Collect samples and record the temperature at various depths by way of a Van Dorn bottle.
  • Test for and record salinity, phosphate and pH levels

Marine Debris Station

This station focuses on the collection and mapping of marine debris to determine the path and point of origin.   The north pacific convergence zone and related issues of marine debris will also be discussed.

In this station passengers will:

  • Use binoculars to look for debris
  • Use nets to retrieve, examine, attempt to map and identify its origin
  • Discuss its effect on the marine environment
  • Propose solutions to help solve the problem of marine debris

Marine Mammal Station

In this station, there will be discussion of marine mammals that can be spotted in the area. The discussion will include feeding habits, social behaviors, adaptive attributes, etc.

In this station passengers will:

  • Use binoculars to spot marine mammals
  • Examine marine mammals as part of the ecosystem
  • Observe exciting marine life and discuss its importance

Hydroacoustic Station

In this station, participants can listen to the sounds of the ocean. A hydrophone is deployed into the water and the educator explains what participants are hearing.

In this station passengers will:

  • Learn about the importance of hydroacoustics
  • Understand the effects of man-made noise
  • Determine if sounds are man-made and biological

Bottom Sampling Station…coming soon

In this station, focus is on the collection and analysis of sediment and other samples gathered from the bottom of the bay using a mud grab.

In this station passengers will:

  • Use scientific equipment to collect sediment sample
  • Analyze and discuss what was collected
  • Discuss the correlation of sediment and nutrients