Oceans-17 (Age 17*) heading banner

What will students explore and discover? 


Students will understand the methodology and techniques associated with conducting scientific research in the marine environment and be able to identify best practices in experimental design, data collection, and communication of results.


Diver Oceans-17

Oceans-17 serves as the capstone program for MarineQuest. An intensive three-week long residential program, with a one week virtual prep week, for highly motivated teen marine scientists-in-training.  Oceans-17 provides opportunities to conduct relevant lab and field-based research alongside UNCW marine science faculty, staff and graduate students. By utilizing equipment and technology to support their research efforts, students will develop knowledge and skills that can enhance their future college experience. Students will interpret the data they collect and present their findings as part of a research symposium held on the final day of the program. In addition to their research activities, Oceans-17 students will participate in a community service project that benefits a local marine habitat. This service will help emphasize the connection between marine science research and environmental stewardship.

Please note that Oceans-17 is not all work! Students will hit the ocean and earn their Advanced Open Water SCUBA certification while exploring the Graveyard of the Atlantic.  They will apply their diving skills as part of an underwater research project during their undersea adventure. And there will be opportunities to enjoy the beach, boogie board, kayak, snorkel, and make friends. Students will also have time to explore the UNCW campus and meet with our admissions staff as part of this pre-college experience designed to help them succeed in the ultra-competitive field of marine science.

*This is a RESIDENTIAL ONLY program. 


  • Students must have open water dive certification from a nationally recognized organization to attend Oceans-17*
  • Students must obtain Divers Alert Network (DAN) insurance or equivalent diving coverage prior to program start date.
  • Oceans-17 is geared towards students who are between 11th and 12th grade and 17 years old.


  • Conduct relevant research in UNCW laboratories at UNCW’s Center for Marine Science and other state of the art facilities.
  • Collaborate with UNCW faculty, staff, and graduate students to conduct real world scientific studies unlike anything typically done in a high school setting.
  • Participate in an ocean-based research cruise using aboard ship technology and oceanographic equipment to collect oceanographic data.
  • Assess the health and biodiversity of coastal ecosystems while getting hands-on experience with the tools of professional marine scientists.
  • Develop your scientific communication skills as you put together a team presentation based on one of the many studies you engage in during your time at Oceans-17.
  • Complete a community service project that benefits the marine environment.
  • Explore the growing field of marine biotechnology in developing new drugs and pharmaceutical therapies that will benefit society.
  • Complete PADI Refresher course and pool session in UNCW pool. 
  • Earn a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification.
  • Participate in 3 dive days, total of 6 dives with a 4:1 student to instructor safety ratio (weather/condition permitting).

The experience Oceans-17 gave me changed my life. Thanks to the program I knew with confidence that I wanted to attend college to study marine biology. Oceans-17 provided me with phenomenal opportunities that I could not have received anywhere else. - Madison L, Current UNCW PhD Candidate

Oceans-17 research


Sunday - Friday (3 weeks)


Sunday Check-in: 3:00 PM

Friday Presentations: 1:30 PM




UNCW Campus - TBD


Virtual Prep:

June 18 - 23, 2023


June 25 - July 14, 2023


Academic $3,100**

Residential $3,000

Total Cost $6,100




You must register two weeks prior to the start of the program. 

*Note that prices, content, dates, and times are subject to change without notice.  

**Academic tuition includes academic open water certification, charters, SCUBA equipment rental of BCD, regulator, computer, and wetsuit.  Students are responsible for bringing their own mask, fins, and snorkel.  You can go to a local dive shop or purchase mask, fins, and snorkel on the first day of program at Aquatic Safaris.