Sea Base: Lessons Learned
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These are in no particular order, and are provided with the hope that these might be useful to anybody else planning on going to Sea Base.

Take all this with a grain of salt.  Your mileage may vary.  In many ways, we were very lucky.  We also understand that each trip, each crew, and each ship has their own way of doing things. These lesson speak only to our specific experiences with a week long Sea Adventure, and may not map to other things available at Sea Base.

bulletTravel...
bulletWe used Delta airlines.  We found that they had the best rates (by a long shot). They were also fantastic in making sure we were taken care of.  No regrets. We also made sure to book the flights months in advance.
bulletYou can expect that over the course of the months leading up to your trip that you will have your airline schedule change a half dozen times.  Watch this.
bulletWe did not use a travel agent. Instead, we booked directly with the group services of the airline.  This gave us greater control over our options, and yielded better prices.
bulletWe used Key Shuttle for vans to/fro Ft. Lauderdale and Sea Base.  There was a discrepancy between the price on their web pages and what they told us over the phone. After discussion, they gave us what they'd posted on the web (big savings).  The $500 price each way did not include the $75 gratuity which they put on the bill.  This was a $150 impact we had not expected.
bulletFor our cost and schedule, Ft. Lauderdale made a lot more sense than Miami.
bulletTraveling down the day before our arrival at Sea Base was the best thing we could ever have done.  Brilliant!  Saved our trip from disaster.
bulletBring 1-2 suitcases as checked luggage to hold all the liquids (during travel).  Everything else should be carry-on.
bulletAt sea...
bulletBromine was key.  Used it every morning.  Plan on one pill per person, per day.
bulletCandied ginger is a great alternative to Bromine, for those so inclined.
bulletWe were barefoot almost the entire time while on board!  The only time you'll use sneakers is on shore leave in Key West, or at Sea Base itself. 
bulletDo not bring sandals or flip flops.  They are not allowed while at Sea Base camp, and you will be better off with sneakers for the many miles of walking in Key West.  Sneakers are also better for climbing the ropes up to the crows nest.
bulletWhile on the ship, you only need two pairs of swim trunks for the whole week... one to be wet in, one to be dry in.  Two or three t-shirts and maybe a change of underwear, and you're all set.
bulletWear hats.  It's windy, so ones with chin straps are a good idea.
bulletBuy & bring those disposable underwater cameras.
bulletSleeping bags, no matter how light, were overkill.  It was hotter than the blazes down there.  Most of us got away with a sleeping pad, a pillow, and a sheet.  (Mine was flannel, which was nice for the windy nights.)
bulletRandom...
bulletThe scouts do not need to bring any form of ID.  This was a source of endless debate and consternation. After many phone calls, emails, and cross checking, we confirmed this point.  The TSA does not require kids under 18 to have any form of ID, and the Sea Base camp does not require it.  All you need to do is fill out the on-line registration. End of story.
bulletYou should, however, make a simple sheet for each parent to sign, which says something like what's shown at the bottom of this page.  You never know.  Gather these all before travel and have them stapled together.
bulletMake everybody wear a common t-shirt for travel days.  This helped immensely at the airports.  Also very good for establishing a team mentality.
bulletClass-A uniforms are not needed anywhere.  Ignore the Sea Base literature and web site on this point.  Coordinated t-shirts (ala Class-B uniforms) are sufficient.  See above.
bulletBring a combination lock to secure all your non-ship goods in a supplied storage area (plenty of room).  The camp store does not sell them.
bulletSPF-30 was plenty fine.  Anything more is a waste.  Also, although they recommend bringing it, I don't think any of us used chap stick.
bulletGold Bond powder, while handy at times, can hurt like the dickens and feel like Ben Gay if applied to the wrong places.  You've been warned.
bulletDo not... repeat... do not allow any scout to have anything that requires batteries.  No cell phones... no game things... no exceptions.
bulletA small magnetic chess/checkers set will go a long way.  Also bring a couple decks of cards.
bulletWhen forming your budget, build in a lot of padding for tips.
bulletIf you give a street artist money, make sure you at least get his name and take a picture of him.  Best to do these things early - well before he knows you intend to buy.
bulletWater and other drinks were readily available on the ship, so it never made sense to fill a water jug and carry it around.  In that respect, having a strong plastic mug actually worked quite well.
bulletIf you do bring drinking containers, bring plastic... not metal.  These things all end up hanging together on a line, so at night they act like wind chimes and can be noisy.
bulletRemember to bring carabiners for the above.
bulletDon't even think of playing Mr. Pratt in ping pong (unless you're fond of humble pie).

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Main | Day by Day | There & Back | Base Camp | Weather | Sunsets | Panoramas | Fishing
Lobsters | Snorkeling | Wrecks | 100 Fathom Club | Boca Grande | Key West | Jolly II Rover
Atop the Mast | Rope Swing | The Crew | Sleeping | War at Sea | Food | Cleanups
Memorabilia | Bread Crumbs | Books and Movies | Friendly Faces | Lessons Learned

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SAMPLE permission slip...

Permission for Sea Base Trip with Troop 14

I hereby give permission for my son, ____________________________ to participate in Boy Scout Troop 14ís trip to Sea Base in Florida, August 31 - September 1, 2012.  I have been fully briefed on all aspects of this trip, and am allowing my son to travel under the supervision of the troopís adult leaders.


Scoutís printed name: ________________________________

(same as above)

Scoutís date of birth:________________________
Parentís printed name:________________________________________
Parentís signature:________________________________________
Date of signing:________________________