Home » Top’s’l Sea and Science Program

Top’s’l Sea and Science Program

Who: Ages 13 – 17 as of start of first day
When: June 21 – August 20, 2021
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Cost:  $550/2-week session/student

Lunch will not be offered until further notice

Financial assistance available
Please note: If you plan on requesting financial assistance, the Financial Assistance Request Form MUST be submitted and approved before registering for a session.

The Top’s’l Program is designed for more experienced sailors. This full-day leadership program* builds on skills developed at Stay’s’l I & II programs. Instructors and advanced level sailors will use BSSC’s fixed keel boats as a platform for advancing maritime skills and knowledge. This program also incorporates an advance understanding and respect of the marine environment. Participants work and learn as a team.

Enrollment limited to 2 students per session.
* The development of leadership skills in the Stay’s’l-I, Stay’s’l-II, and Top’s’l programs opens the door to our Apprenticeship Program.

COVID-19 Statement
Boothbay Sea and Science Center’s 2021 summer programs will be COVID-19 compliant. At the beginning of each session, appropriate modifications will be made as directed by Federal and the State of Maine CDC as well as those put forward by local healthcare organizations. To that end, we have reduced our number of participants enrolled in this program.

Because this is a fluid situation, our programming plans may change. Please check our website for updates. We anticipate providing final guidance on or around April 15.

Themed Sessions

Each session includes weather, basic boating and sailing skills, local marine life, and responsible marine stewardship.

Session I: Ship to Shore: Discovering BSSC (June 21 – 25)
During this 1-week session participants will experience a sampling of what BSSC’s summer program offers on and off the water. Together we will sail, row, seine, tie knots, explore the shore and touch tank, and have fun with all that’s sea and science. A different topic and related activities each day.

Session II: Sea Fever: What’s Hot in the Gulf of Maine (June 28 – July 9)
This session will focus on the environmental changes that have occurred in the Gulf of Maine since its formation. Together we will investigate how geology, weather and climate change over time, and how these changes impact the organisms living here. Big questions include: What causes environmental changes? How quickly do these changes occur? How do local species respond to these changes?

Session III: A World Below the Waves (July 12 – 23)
During this session we will investigate what lies between the surface and the seafloor. Together, we will try to answer questions like: What sea life is found in the Gulf of Maine and where? How what we do on and off the water has an impact on natural habitats? What is sea farming and who’s doing it? Activities will include; exploring the vegetation in the Damariscotta River and recording what and where it’s found; conversations with local sea farmers, fishermen and scientists about how growing seaweed is affecting the ocean and the air we breathe. Students will gain an understanding of the laws governing the sea farming and fishing industries and the impact of the support from coastal communities on Maine fisheries.

* Emerging Oceanographers (Included in this Session  for Stay’s’l I & II Programs, Top’s’l Program only)
Part 1: Wednesday, July 14, 9:00 a.m.- 12:00 noon @ BSSC *
Part 2: Wednesday, July 21, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon @ CMBG **

During this two-part, shore-based marine science program, developed and offered in collaboration with the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, participants will investigate how geology, climate, and weather change over time and how these changes impact the organisms living in the Back River and the Damariscotta River.  Participants will compare these two tidal rivers as they investigate and identify what lies between the surface and the seafloor. Activities will include: exploring the vegetation in the river and recording what and where it’s found; doing net tows and using secchi discs, refractometers and other scientific equipment that will help participants gain a better understanding of the marine life that makes its home in these rivers. Participants will also learn how our activities on and off the water impact these natural habitats.

* Part 1 will take place at the Boothbay Sea and Science Center, in East Boothbay along the shore of the Damariscotta River.
** Part 2 will take place at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay along the shore of the Back River.  Participants will be emailed directions upon registration.

This program is developed and offered in collaboration with the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Session IV: Tracking Trash (July 26 – August 6)
In this session, participants will explore where marine debris comes from and where it goes. We will interview people about their plastic usage at nearby beaches and restaurants, in addition to visiting the transfer station to learn more about where our trash goes in order to create “trash stories.” Together we will explore different technologies to help solve the problem of plastics in the ocean and work with an artist who uses marine debris as her medium. Participants enrolled in the Stay’s’l and Tops’s’l Program will be conducting their own research by investigating currents, towing for microplastics, and tracking trash in the local waters and on a nearby island.

Session V: Tall Ships and Taller Tales (August 9–20)
Together we will take a look at the history of Shipbuilding in Maine. We will talk with the people that design and build boats and meet and work with shipwrights, artists, musicians, and storytellers that celebrate them through their trade, art, music, and sea tales. We will learn sailing techniques and seamanship skills necessary for collecting scientific data. Working alongside scientists, we will do net tows, use secchi discs, and other scientific sampling methods that will help us gain a better understanding of the marine life in and around the Damariscotta River. Together we will explore the tools used in boatbuilding and use them to build model boats. Experiential outreach will Include behind the scenes tours of boats that have been and are now undergoing restoration.


Images from previous years

What is a Boothbay Sea and Science Center session like? See our photos from previous years.