SOUND Science Under Sail (Adults & Families)

Program on hold for 2022

About the Program

Join Salish Sea Expeditions for a half-day, family-friendly marine education program aboard the 61′ sailing research vessel Carlyn. Guests are invited to participate in educational science-under-sail exploration of the Puget Sound, which may include water sampling, learning about the marine food web and the animals that share our local environment, raising sails, or taking the helm. Sit back and listen, or get hands-on with science equipment and learn about how professional scientists collect data.

Program Topics

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

Cost / Reservation Details

Contact us at for pricing information.
Scholarships may be available. Contact our office for more information and to register by phone.

Future Dates

Stay Tuned for Program Details!

All children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult eager to engage in active supervision, and interested in assisting with hands-on learning activities while aboard the vessel.

Programs take place rain or shine. If high winds result in trip cancellation, fees will be refunded.

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.

Forms & FAQs

Welcome! We’re glad that you’re interested in a Salish Sea Expeditions experience and we’re here to guide you through the process. Here you will find information and paperwork required for the program.


Links below will take you to an Assumption of Risk (or hold harmless) form for individuals or families; if possible, please print out and complete prior to arrival as that will speed up our departure.  We also will have forms available at check in for those who are unable to print them in advance.

Waiver for Families
Waiver for Individuals


What to Wear & Pack List

**We will go rain or shine**.  The marine environment is often cooler and wetter than land and NW weather reports are often wrong.  In general, long pants, a warm fleece or sweater, a wind-breaker and sneakers or rubber boots are appropriate. Consider an extra jacket, warm hat, gloves, rain gear, etc too.  Salish will have sets of rubber “foul weather gear” available for all participants, if needed, but feel free to bring your own. And there is plenty of room below-decks if it get s really foul.  PFDs (personal floatation devices/life jackets) are provided and required to be worn while on deck; if you prefer, you may bring your own. This program is open to kids ages 5 and up; children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.


We will have some light snacks and water available during the cruise but you may wish to bring your own water bottle.


Contact us prior to the day of sailing by emailing We appreciate you notifying us of cancellations as these sails are frequently full with a waitlist. Please Note: No refunds will be issued for cancellations made less than 7 days prior to sailing.)


Answers to the questions we encounter most frequently about our programs.

Salish Sea Expeditions FAQs


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