SOUND Program: 1-Day Expedition

About the Program

One-day Expeditions engage students aboard the 61’ Research Vessel Carlyn in hands-on activities that explore the Salish Sea ecosystem, water quality issues, and nautical science.

Program Topics

  • Water Quality Analysis
  • Oceanographic Equipment & Sampling Techniques
  • Nautical Science & Seamanship


  1. Nutrient station – Samples drawn from the bow of the boat are analyzed using a colorimeter and compared to water from a local storm drain.
  2. Dissolved Oxygen, Temperature, Salinity and pH station – Surface and 20m samples are taken with a niskin bottle are analyzed using oceanographic equipment.
  3. Microplastic + Plankton station – Samples drawn using the Neuston net and then observed under microscopes in our onboard lab.
  4. Navigation and Nautical Science – Chart basic latitude and longitude, plus learn the physics of sailing and lift.

Research Equipment

Water Quality Monitoring

Water quality monitoring in the Salish Sea is highly variable and dynamic, changing with proximity to land, river mouths, currents, as well as many other factors.  To give the best snapshot of water quality in our research areas we employ the following equipment:

  • Phosphate, nitrate, copper, surfactant, turbidity and silicate test kits (LaMotte): measure the amount of important water quality parameters in the water column. While necessary to aquatic life at small levels, problems can arise when these parameters reach high levels.
  • Colorimeter: used in conjunction with water quality test kits to obtain measurements from specific water samples.  Results recorded in PPM (parts per million).
  • Dissolved oxygen/Temperature probe: continuously measures dissolved oxygen/temperature throughout the water column to 50ft. These vertical transects give a good indication of biological activity.
  • Refractometer: measures salinity of a water sample using a drop of water and light refraction.
  • Niskin bottle: used to collect water samples from discrete depths, which are then chemically analyzed.
  • Secchi disk: used to estimate the transparency of seawater, and can provide a relative measure of productivity or turbidity.
  • pH probes:  measure how acidic or basic the water is on a scale from 0-14.  pH is an important water quality measurement with most organisms only tolerating a small range, typically around 6-8.5.

Biological Monitoring

The biological life of the Salish Sea is dependent upon local water quality.  Through collection and analysis of biological and water quality samples we are able to employ the scientific process to determine relationships at different locations.  Biological sampling equipment onboard includes:

  • Phytoplankton net: This 63-micrometer mesh net collects the smallest plankton, which can then be analyzed using volume measurements as well as under a compound microscope.
  • Zooplankton net: This 120-micrometer mesh net collects animal plankton, allowing phytoplankton to pass through the larger mesh.
  • Dissecting and Compound microscopes: used to more closely analyze plankton by species.
  • Seives: can be used to sort sediments collected from shore to classify sediment composition and/or to uncover macro-invertebrates.
  • Fisheye underwater camera: camera to deploy off of the side of the vessel to observe creatures when visibility allows.

Registration Process

Welcome teachers and group leaders! 

Step 1: Questions about our programs?

Contact the Salish Sea Expeditions Education Director at

Step 2: Ready to register?

Once you have completed and submitted the Request Reservation Form, we will contact you to discuss details and confirm information, including fees, scholarships, dates, times and location.

Step 3: Receive your Contract & Invoice

Please review, sign and return your contract and deposit by the indicated deadlines. We will hold your requested dates, however, your SOUND Program is not confirmed until the signed contract and deposit have been received.

Step 4: Get excited and ready to explore and sail the Salish Sea!

There will most likely be questions along the way. Please don’t hesitate to contact our Education Directly directly should you need anything.

Expedition Paperwork & Prep

Step 1: Expedition Paperwork & Forms

Step 2: Expedition Preparation

Marina Information

If you have questions at any time, please contact our Education Director at



Salish Sea Expeditions FAQs – Frequently asked questions about our program, vessel and safety practices and policies

What is Salish Sea Expeditions?

Salish Sea Expeditions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to inspire youth to connect with the marine environment through boat-based scientific inquiry and hands-on learning, instilling curiosity, confidence, and critical thinking. Salish Sea Expeditions provides opportunities for student scientists and sailors to design and conduct authentic scientific research from the decks of a 61-foot sailing vessel on the Salish Sea.

What vessel is used?

Programs occur aboard the sailing vessel Carlyn, a 61-foot yawl built in 1996, belonging to Four Winds*Westward Ho Camps. Carlyn is a US Coast Guard (USCG) inspected vessel.

How many crew members are there and what qualifications do they have?

There are a minimum of four to six crew members on all programs, including a Captain, Mate, Deckhand, Program Coordinator, Marine Science Educator, and Logistics & Galley Coordinator. All have experience working with youth in various settings and have first aid training. The Marine Scientists have experience both in the teaching and research fields, while our Mates and Deckhands have experience on the water. The Captain and Mate are licensed by the USCG and have extensive experience operating sailing school vessels.

What kind of plan do you have for emergencies while students are on board?

Any vessel carrying passengers for hire must meet construction and operations standards established by the USCG. Carlyn was designed and certified under the Sailing School Ship Vessel Act. As the name implies, vessels certified under the Sailing School Vessel Act are meant to be used as training vessels and operated by students. As such, the safety margin in construction standards and operational requirements are quite high.

Carlyn is required to have plans that meet or exceed response standards set by the USCG for just about any incident. These mainly address major vessel incidents such as man-overboard, fire, collision, and abandon ship. Every Captain is required by law to thoroughly train and drill their crew in the approved emergency procedures for that particular vessel. When students board the vessel, the Captain will specifically discuss with the group what to do in the event of an emergency. An emergency drill might very well be part of your program. Carlyn is also required to carry emergency supplies and equipment including radios, flares, first aid kits, life raft, life sling and Type I Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs). We have established safety procedures for every activity the students participate in, both aboard the ship and while ashore. Students are informed of the procedures before engaging in the activity. Students who cannot follow the procedures do not participate.

Do students wear Personal Flotation Devices?

Yes. Any time they are working on deck while the boat is underway or in the small boats they will be required to wear Type III PFD’s (lifevests). We are also required to carry the Type I PFD’s (highest USCG buoyancy rating) for each person on board.

Is sea sickness a problem?

Sea sickness is generally caused by the motion of big ocean swells. The Salish Sea is protected from swells by the land that surrounds it. Seasickness can often act as a self-fulfilling prophesy; if you come aboard convinced you will get seasick, then you probably will! Most people that experience seasickness do so when they are below decks for long periods of time. They usually feel better just by coming up on deck, getting some fresh air, and looking at the horizon. If you know that motion sickness is a problem, consult your doctor about a motion sickness product. These products tend to make you feel drowsy and usually need to be taken several hours before going out on the water. Please, only use them if you know that motion sickness is a problem. You may want to look into alternative remedies such as ginger (tea or candied) and wrist bands that work using pressure points.

How long are programs?

One day Expeditions usually run for about 5 hours. We work with the group leader to set the start and end times that work for the group.

Is Food Provided? 

Students are responsible for bringing their own lunch and snacks for the whole trip. We recommend 2 snacks and one full lunch. We also ask that students bring their own water bottle to use. Water bottles can be refilled while onboard.

Could a parent contact their child if there were an emergency at home?

Yes. During all Salish Sea Expeditions adventures, a designated Salish staff (typically the Education Director) will carry a phone during all programs in case of emergency at any time during the Expedition. On Call Education Phone Number: (206) 715-0312

What do students need to bring that is not covered in the program fees?

Students need to wear and bring warm clothes plus their lunch and snacks for the day. For more details read through the What to Bring- Single Day Expedition information sheet.

What’s the insurance coverage policy?

Participants are covered by a $1,000,000 liability policy.

If you have questions at any time, please contact our Education Director at

If you have questions at any time, please contact our Education Director at

Program Details

  • Spring season: March - June
  • Fall season: September-October

Cost: Operations cost $4,200 per day, but we only charge $2,600 per day.

Money should never be in the way of getting your students out on the water with Salish Sea Expeditions. Scholarships are available for those who qualify. Please indicate on your program request form to apply for assistance.

Class Size: Up to 28 students and 2 chaperons.
Grade Levels: 5th – 12th grade

Contact for scheduling options.