Underwater Ichthyologist (Ages 14-17) heading banner

Application Coming Soon!Click here for our cancellation policyClick here for our code of conduct

Must have completed 8th grade and be 14 by June 1st. Must not turn 18 before July 31st.

Prerequisite: (1) Students must have an open water dive certification from a nationally recognized organization prior to starting this program. (2) Students must obtain Divers Alert Network (DAN) insurance or equivalent diving coverage prior to program start date. (3) Ability to pass PADI swim test, including 10 minute float or tread in deep water and un-timed 200 meter/yard continuous surface swim.

Are you a SCUBA enthusiast who loves sharks? Do you want to protect and preserve shark populations for future generations? Are you interested in fish biodiversity and abundance? If you are, MarineQuest's Underwater Ichthyologist program is perfect for you! Learn how to identify different fish species and how to efficiently count individuals while earning the Project AWARE Fish ID specialty through PADI. Deepen your understanding and knowledge of sharks by completing the AWARE Shark Conservation specialty and finishing a service learning project. Add dives to your dive log and strengthen your diving technique while learning about the organisms that inhabit North Carolina's local waters.

Field excursions include:

  • Dive beautiful shipwrecks (weather dependent) including Stone Tug, Old Dredge, the Markham, and the infamous Hyde Dredge; NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher; UNCW Center for Marine Science; Wrightsville Beach, and Kure Beach.

Highlights include:

  • Enjoy six dives with an amazing 4:1 student to dive maters / instructor ratio providing personal attention and training tips; interact with professional dive instructors as they work with you to improve your buoyancy skills earn 2 PADI specialties (1. Project AWARE FISH ID and 2. Shark Conservation); complete fish surveys comparing different dive site biodiversity and fish abundance (weather/condition permitting); fish anatomy and physiology experiments; discussions on local marine life and local invasive species (Lion Fish).

Useful Links:

Program Dates and Tuition

Program Dates and Tuition

Day of Week:

Sunday - Friday


Friday pick up/final presentation at 12:30 p.m.

Staff / Student Ratio:


SCUBA Ratio:



UNCW Campus

Summer 2019 Dates:

June 16 - 21

July 21 - 26

Residential Tuition:


* Students will be responsible for bringing mask, snorkel and fins (may be purchased at program for a discounted rate through local dive shop)



Program Application & Registration

You must register by 5:00 p.m. the Wednesday before your program is to begin.

Before completing your application, please review the Cancellation Policy | PDF and the expected MarineQuest Student Code of Conduct | PDF.

To complete the teacher recommendation, please have your teacher click here to submit their recommendation.

Please Note: A completed application does not register you for your program. All applications will first be reviewed by the MarineQuest Staff and upon acceptance, you will receive an e-mail explaining the next step in the registration process.

Residential Information

MarineQuest Airline Information | PDF

The MarineQuest staff is more than happy to pick-up and drop-off students at Wilmington International Airport at no cost. An airline request form is required (see above link for more details).

Residential FAQ's

  • Linens are provided - DO NOT bring sheets, pillows, and blankets.
  • Laundry facilities are available at no cost - bring detergent
  • No electronic equipment (including cell phones) is allowed.
  • You will receive a Welcome Packet with detailed information on what to bring after registering.

Still have questions? Check out our FAQ page.
• Note that prices, content, dates, and times are subject to change without notice.
• Questions? Call 910.962.2640 or send an e-mail to
• Website and program content © UNCW MarineQuest