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Caribbean: Tropical Marine Biology


Delve into marine science and discover the vast biodiversity of the underwater realm aboard a 45-foot floating classroom, lab and home.

This program is an eye-opening exploration of the biology and ecology of marine communities. Living aboard a 45-foot yacht and hopping from one diverse island to another gives you the freedom and flexibility to discover the unparalleled diversity of ecosystems found in this tropical region of the world. Learn with a marine biologist as your mentor. Tackle marine conservation. Understand the biochemical nature of marine environments. Learning is always active, experiential and enlightening - never boring.

June 14 - July 5 C22 days$6,180Available
July 8 - July 29 C22 days$6,180Available
Earn & Learn
Caribbean: Tropical Marine Biology Earn & Learn

Earn & Learn

Caribbean Tropical Marine Biology offers 3 natural science college credits through Lesley University. Additionally, students have the opportunity to earn 5 hours of documented service hours and may pursue 2 certifications.

  • Minimum 18 years old
  • High school graduate
  • High school or college biology
  • Minimum GPA: 2.50
  • Completed at least one semester at college or graduated high school over a year ago


Course Description

The ocean covers more than 70% of Earth’s surface and contains nearly 99% of the planet’s available living space. Within this realm, many unique and diverse species collectively help to create a complex world of interacting communities. Perhaps the most diverse and beautiful of these marine communities are found in tropical environments. This course will examine the biology and ecology of tropical marine communities and illustrate research techniques and equipment that marine biologists commonly use.

Course Objectives
  • Develop a greater understanding of oceans and marine life
  • Develop the ability to identify and describe a diversity of marine life
  • Develop appreciation of the fragility of marine communities and an understanding of the major threats to the health of these communities
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how individuals, populations and communities interact in their physical environment
  • Demonstrate understanding of how marine biologists conduct research in the field and in the lab in order to understand ecological and evolutionary relationships
  • Conduct group research in marine ecology


During this 22-day live aboard voyage, students will learn fundamental sailing skills and complete 15+ scuba dives, for which they may earn multiple certifications including:

  • PADI Open Water Diver
  • PADI Advanced Open Water Diver


Through service, gain a more meaningful connection to the cultures and communities you explore while taking an active role to address important global issues at the local level. In the Caribbean, work directly with local marine parks in Saba and Statia to help protect and conserve the local reefs, beaches and marine life you have grown to love. The projects give you an opportunity to reflect on your adventures throughout the Caribbean and your responsibility to protect it as a global citizen.

  • Participate in an underwater cleanup in Statia
  • Clean and help maintain a coral nursery and help with trail maintenance on Saba

2 Certifications

5 Service Hours

3 College Credits

Caribbean: Tropical Marine Biology Itinerary


college student summer programs in the Caribbean

Meet the rest of your crew and settle into the pace of life aboard. Waste no time jumping into the turquoise water to learn how to scuba dive and earn your PADI Open Water Scuba certification, or have a quick refresher if you are already certified. Set sail for Ile Fourche, learning fundamental sailing skills while discussing the geology and natural history of the Leeward Islands. Initial lectures focus on fish ID, coral reef ecology and how different marine ecosystems interact to create a thriving marine world. A sunset hike to the top of Ile Fourche’s rocky peaks gives you a view of mountainous islands in the distance – Saba, Statia, St. Barts and St. Kitts – waiting for our discovery.

unique study abroad program

Make the short hop over to the St. Barts Marine Reserve. We find an abundance of marine life and the ideal environment to begin studying marine animal behavior and interaction, such as schooling and pairing, nesting verses territorial behaviors, predation and predatory avoidance, and more. Take a break to explore the French town of Gustavia and sample its delicious homemade ice cream and crepe desserts. Investigate the water beneath the breaking waves and how the ocean’s movement effects nearby reef systems. Learn about the delicate balance required to sustain healthy coral reefs, then dive below to map the diversity and abundance of fish and coral species on Pain-du-Sucre, Castlemount and Rockefeller Point.

travel opportunities in the caribbean

Next stop, St. Kitts! Set sail with the rising sun and take a turn at the helm. In Ballast Bay, venture into the turtle grass to learn about their important role in maintaining the equilibrium between marine ecosystems. Search for vertebrates and invertebrates and collect data for our habitat analysis lab. Dry off to learn about nocturnal and diurnal species behavior, then return to the water after sunset to witness a new nocturnal world and observe fascinating behavioral changes of marine life at night. Bargain with local fisherman for their catch to use in our dissection labs, then head ashore for a little history and culture on a hike up to Brimstone Hill Fort.

tropical marine science study abroad camps

The waters surrounding the island are protected by the Saba Marine Park, providing us with extraordinary underwater classrooms – awesome reef formations and the greatest species diversity found in the Caribbean. We round out our studies with discussions on life cycles, symbiotic relationships, morphology and counter current exchange. In the water, lay down quadrants and run transects to collect data on different types of habitats surrounding the pinnacles, walls and patch reefs of Man-O-War Shoals, Tent Reef Deep and Hot Springs. Before moving on to Statia, hike through rainforest, give back through community service projects and take a visit into town.

scuba certified college summer abroad programs

Sail to Statia to find a thriving marine park, healthy reefs and a growing artificial reef system. Dive below to explore the Charlie Brown, an impressive 327-foot vessel that is the newest addition to Statia’s artificial reef program. After a discussion with local stakeholders about marine resource management and the success of the Statia Marine Park, we spend an afternoon doing marine service projects to help the reserve’s efforts. Then hike to the top of the Quill and into the crater of this dormant volcano now blanketed in lush rainforest, an epic way to celebrate the end of our achievements together.

summer travel program for college students
  • Trip Highlights

  • Earn college credits in marine science and multiple PADI scuba certifications
  • Conduct hands on research alongside marine science professionals
  • Learn underwater research techniques in a protected marine park
  • Explore colorful reefs and determine environmental changes over time
  • Hike through a rainforest and explore a dormant volcano
  • Explore diverse Caribbean islands on a live-aboard voyage
Caribbean: Tropical Marine Biology Reviews & Testimonials

Reviews & Testimonials

Lisa C. from Merrick, NY

What didn’t I learn on this trip! I came here not knowing what to expect, and am leaving with an advanced open water certification, a college credit, and a new best friend. The amount I have learned beyond lectures in three weeks is endless and couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity. My eyes have opened a little wider and sailing in the Caribbean Ocean makes your mind stop but spin at the same time. Don’t miss an opportunity like this.

Aimee Finley

The trip was great and the experience is something I will never forget. Diving on coral reefs in the Caribbean while learning about all the different organisms and environments was a great way of learning. Statia was a lot of fun and Saba had the most beautiful reefs. Conducting reef checks and fish IDs made you feel like a real marine biologist.

Leah Moorehouse

This trip was rewarding in so many ways. You learn to appreciate some of the smallest things in life while creating life long bonds with new friends. Saba had the best diving you could imagine. Everyday I saw something new and was in awe of the whole trip. I will continue to soak in this trip even when its over. So show me a day when the world wasn’t new!

Karrington Atkins

This trip was the best experience of my life, and I know that sounds cliche but it really was. I have so many memories from this summer that will last me a life time! I do not go a day without thinking of this past summer. I loved being able to travel in not the simple tourist way but being immersed in a completely new culture! The diving is spectacular and what better place than to be diving everyday than in the Caribbean! I made amazing friends and connections that will last a lifetime. I recommend any of the broadreach trips to anyone who wants to have an experience of your lifetime, you will not regret it. I loved this program and cannot wait to go on my next broadreach experience!

Ellis J. from Bowling Green, KY

Broadreach taught me a strength I had forgotten I possessed. I was shown so many passions and perspectives and have been inspired by everyone. This trip gave me the skills I need to journey on into the future and has made me excited to do so. Once you master boat life, you can master anything.

Brittany Evans

Broadreach is a great program if you love the outdoors, its hand on applicatons make learning fun and the dive sites and hiking are some of the most enjoyable things I have ever done. Walking in cloud filled tropical rainforest and swimming with baby sea turtles and sharks is just the beginning. You will make some great friends and experience diversity on a whole new level. An experience I’ll probably never forget.

Hope Goodrich

St. Kitts, Statia and Saba were among my favorite places to visit because of their general atmosphere and dive sites. I love wake boarding and tubing early in the morning. I thoroughly enjoyed going to the beaches and getting my land legs. The people I met were so much fun and we grew very close; they are definitely my second family.

Greg Brittingham

Basically we scuba dove the best reefs and ship wrecks in the Caribbean and went from hardly feeling comfortable in the water to diving 100ft to watch schools of fish and sharks at the top of an underwater mountain. It was awesome.

Jessica Quinn

The trip was more than I ever imagined. Everyday I was more impressed. Saba and Statia were my favorites places. The diving was mind bending. I have made friends here that I wil keep in touch with for long after this trip is over. It’s something that has really made an impression on my life and has solidified my career choice.

Madison White

These trips are incredible. I have been on three now and I have had some of the most amazing times of my life. I talk about them all year round and have made some of the most amazing friends that I am still in touch with. The places we go are incredible, the things we do are like nothing you can imagine. Broadreach is something that will honestly change your life.

Katherine McInerney

I absolutely had a blast. The instructors were great as well as the people I was on the trip with by the end it seemed like we were family. Hiking down into the dormant crater of the volcano on Statia was amazing. I learned so much about myself from knowing that I can be leader to knowing that I can do things like hike into the crater. My broadreach experience was a truly life changing experience from making new friends to experiencing my first time out of the country on my own with no parents.

Kayla Lusnia

This was the best decision I have ever made, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was a fantastic group of people on a wonderful adventure. We learned so much and had a great time doing it. It was definitely worth it, and these are the experiences I will never forget.

Krenare Loxha

This trip completely took me out of my boundaries but was worthwhile. Not only was the diving amazing, but I also enjoyed the academics and how it tied in with the locations we went to.

Caribbean: Tropical Marine Biology FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in the tuition cost and what additional expenses should I expect?

Trip tuition is all inclusive for instruction, food, accommodation and activities from the time you arrive on location. However, you are responsible for your airfare, spending money (we suggest about $150-200), any required textbooks, and student expenses such as medical fees and optional college credit. Our diving adventures require scuba gear which can be rented, purchased or in some cases borrowed from Broadreach. For more information about expenses that might apply to your program, click here.

When is the application deadline? What is the application process?

We accept applications on a rolling basis until each session is full. So, the sooner you enroll, the greater chance you’ll have to get into your first choice program and session! Some of our most popular program sessions fill as early as the fall.

Step one: submit your initial application online with a $35 application fee. If there is space, you can secure your spot with a $1000 deposit while you complete the secondary application. Step two: we will send you login details to complete your secondary application (academic reference, personal statement, interview, transcript). Once we accept your secondary application pieces and you’ve paid your deposit, your place on the program is secured!

How does travel work?

For most programs, we have a few recommended flights and an arrival time range, and we usually give you the option to book flights on your own or through our travel agency partner. A few programs have required group flights, which we set up in advance. Students travel independently, but often meet up along the way, and we collect student itinerary details. Broadreach instructors will be waiting in the arrivals hall of the destination airport to greet each student, and they’ll be wearing special shirts and holding a Broadreach sign. We also mail students Broadreach shirts to wear while traveling which makes it easy for them to identify each other. Typically, making travel arrangements and the actual travel days go very smoothly.

How does Broadreach address safety?

Safety is our top priority, and it is something we evaluate from every angle throughout the year. We’re very proud of our safety record over the past 26 years of running international programs for students. There are so many ways to address how we handle safety, including the extensive experience and training of our instructors, the specific locations we choose to visit, the relationships we have established with our local partners, and the 24/7 support we provide our groups. We have extensive program-specific risk management plans and safety standards that we adhere to. We’d be happy to talk about safety in more detail for the program you’re considering if you’d like to call our office.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance?

We require that students have at least $100,000 of emergency evacuation coverage and some kind of international medical coverage, as well as coverage for scuba diving for programs that include diving. We offer two different policy options, or if you already have a policy that meets this criteria, we would just collect those policy details after enrollment.

Our Tuition Protection policy covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state). It’s also a great comprehensive travel insurance policy, including medical coverage, emergency evacuation, travel delay, baggage (loss or delay), etc. The cost of the policy ranges from $339-379 based on the program duration. For more specific coverage details, please call our office.

How does payment work? Is the deposit or tuition refundable?

We require a non-refundable deposit of $1000 to lock in your spot (pending your acceptance), and then the final balance can be spread out and paid in a few different ways. The final payment is non-refundable and is due 4 months before departure. Our optional tuition protection plan covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and cancellations for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state).

Do your programs accommodate food preferences or food allergies?

We do our best to accommodate allergies and food preferences but we consider the situation, country and the program to determine whether it will be a good fit for the specific dietary restriction. It’s important that you let Broadreach know well in advance of any food preferences or allergies so we can determine whether your restrictions will work on your program.

What is boat life like on live-aboard programs?

Our catamarans have 4 cabins with attached bathrooms, which are divided up between girls and boys. The cabins are mostly used for students to store their bags and change since most students choose to sleep on the deck of the boat in one of a few safe, flat areas. Students bring sleeping bags and pads, and sleeping under the stars with the Caribbean summer breeze is often one of the highlights of the experience. Our boat life video will give you a feel for what it’s like.

What do the academics involve? How do college credits work? What if I don’t take the program for credit?

Academics will vary by program but usually include journals, discussions, lectures, research projects, and a midterm and final exam. We expect all of our students to participate fully in the academic course work on our programs, regardless of whether they have chosen to take it for official college credit.

We partner with Lesley University in Cambridge, MA to offer college credit for our academic college programs. Those credits are widely accepted at colleges and universities all over North America, and we can often let you know if an alumni student has transferred those credits to a specific school in the past. For more information, click here.

Do you offer any discounts or scholarships?

In the fall, we have a few different early enrollment discounts– please call our office for more information. We also offer a 5% discount on the second enrollment from the same immediate family in a summer. This offer is available to an individual student or siblings. The 5% discount will be applied to the program of lesser cost, and cannot be combined with any other discounts.

We do offer some scholarships through the Broadreach Foundation. Please call our office for more information on applying.

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