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MarineQuest strives to meet the learning needs of all participants, including those who are talented and gifted. We have prepared a guidance document to help you decide if MarineQuest is the program for your child. 
MarineQuest is covered by the UNCW Minors Policy legal document which enacts steps to protect minors from potential abuse. Please visit our UNCW MarineQuest Minor's Policy page for more information. 

Most MarineQuest program educators are marine scientists pursuing or who have recently completed their undergraduate or graduate degree in a marine science discipline

We also hire teachers passionate about marine science education. We search through 100+ staff candidates to identify a summer team with experience working with youth, marine science, and hold safety certifications including first aid, lifeguard, and more.

If you would like to communicate with your child's instructors before the program starts, please email and a phone call can be coordinated.   
All pick-ups and drop-offs will happen on the UNCW campus unless otherwise noted. The exact location will be sent to you in your student's Welcome Packet made available upon registration completion.
MarineQuest does not coordinate carpooling amongst participants. It is the guardian's responsibility to coordinate student drop-off and pick-up daily for commuters.
This information will be available to you when your registration is complete, and you are provided a link to your student's Welcome Packet. Two of the most important items your student will NEED to have is a water bottle and sun screen with them every day. 
Swimming skills are encouraged but not necessary. MarineQuest provides floatation devices and PFDs in required areas and during certain activities with a lifeguard on duty at all times. Your student will never be forced to go into any water against their will. 
Students 14 and under are transported by New Hanover County activity buses operated by New Hanover County bus drivers. Students above 14 are transported in 12-passenger vans operated by MarineQuest staff who have a valid license, clean driving record, UNCW van safety training, and 12-passenger van training.

Public health Best Practices

All program participants are asked to monitor their health for flu, cold, and COVID-19 symptoms during the 3 days leading up to their program start dateIf a participant has any of these symptoms, they may not be able to attend program. For residential programs, students may be required to attest to a negative COVID-19 test.   

The MarineQuest illness policy states that students who are sick, with or without a fever, are not allowed to attend program. Students with a fever must be fever free for 24 hours without a fever reducer in order to attend. Residential students who become sick during their program must be picked up ASAP. The full policy can be found on page 5 of the Policies and Procedures. 

MarineQuest works closely with UNCW Abrons Student Health Center for communicable disease management and Best for the Nest. Any student that is ill must return home per the MarineQuest illness policy. 

MarineQuest requests that students attending have all the North Carolina Public Schools' recommended immunizations. Additionally, we collect the latest tetanus immunization data in our confirmation forms. The program does not require but encourages that participants are vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend. For further vaccination information, please review the UNCW MarineQuest Policies and Procedures, Immunization and Outbreak Policy. 

Payment Questions

Please review our policy for all information: UNCW MarineQuest Cancellation Policy. 
Due to funding, MarineQuest cannot guarantee scholarship spots in any of our programs. All questions regarding scholarships must be submitted via email to No phone calls will be returned (scholarship requests made by phone will not be considered as we require all the information and documentation in writing). 


Residential students are housed along with our Residence Life staff in UNCW on-campus dormitories equipped with 24-hour surveillance and A/C. Males and females are separated in the dorms and have their own bathroom facilities.

MarineQuest has staff on call 24 hours a day in case of emergencies. Most students will be placed in double rooms, with randomly assigned roommates unless specified. Students attending multi-week senior programs are permitted to occupy single rooms. For more information, please visit MarineQuest’s Summer Residential page. 

MarineQuest partners with UNCW campus catering for almost all student meals to accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions, including vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, etc. We ensure that all students eat a balanced and healthy diet throughout the duration of their program. 

Wilmington International Airport is about 15-20 minutes from UNCW’s main campus. MarineQuest offers airport transportation services where a staff member will pick-up your child from the gate (if an unaccompanied minor) or at the exit to the terminal.

At departure, a staff member will ensure your child makes it through security or will wait with your child until their plane has exited Wilmington airspace (if an unaccompanied minor). If you wish to utilize these services, you will need to fill out the Airport Transportation Request form. For more information, please visit MarineQuest’s Airport Transportation page.  

Dive programs operate in confined water, open water, or both, but the type of water you will dive in depends on the caliber of diving you will do. Confined water dives take place in a pool or pool-like conditions while open water dives may take place in the ocean and/or lake. If weather or rough seas prevent a scheduled open water ocean dive from taking place, we will typically relocate to an open water lake. 
If you are participating in a program that includes some level of SCUBA diving, you will be required to register for DAN insurance. Dive Hawks, Scientific Diver: Fish ID, O.C.E.A.N.S. and Oceans 17 require at least Master Level DAN Insurance ranging from $80 - $100 depending on location. For more information, please visit DAN's website. 

Application & Registration Questions

MarineQuest prefers students to meet the grade requirement, but we strongly recommend that they also meet the age requirement. If you still feel this program best meets your student's needs, you can petition for an exception via email to Any exception will be made at the discretion of the director.

You have not been accepted until you receive an acceptance email which will be sent automatically once a teacher recommendation has been received on our end. If you have any questions on the status of an application, please email us at  

Ask an adult individual that has observed your student in a learning or group settingFor example, scout leaders, youth group leaders, etc. Family members or friends will not be accepted. 

Due to planning and reservations of summer activities, we require a completed registration and payment to be submitted no later than two weeks prior to the start of program. In extreme circumstances, you can petition the Registration Associate for an exception or call the registration office at (910) 962-2939. 

Contact Us


Main Office: 626 MacMillan Ave. 
MarineQuest Lab: Center for Marine Science, 5600 Marvin K. Moss Lane 

Registration Office:
Phone: 910.962.2939

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday,
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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