Bay Explorations:  Outdoor Education Programs

Our crew of professional educators create an environment for students to engage, participate, inquire, and discover in an unforgettable on-the-water school field trip experience.

Contact us to find out more & request sail dates

Available on both Seaward and Matthew Turner

We begin Bay Exploration Sails with a safety briefing, then students set sail with the assistance of the crew to head into San Francisco Bay! Lesson plans are conducted under way in groups of 10-12 students, rotating through 30 minute learning stations, with time for a 5-10 minute pause for students to stay still, listen to and feel the motion of the boat in the bay. Students get a tour below deck and a glimpse of life on a sailboat!

Select your program package below for an interdisciplinary educational sail tailored for the age level, Third grade through University or adult groups

Lesson plans:


  • Engage in sailing the vessel and think critically about teamwork, communication and the safety of themselves and others.
  • Haul up sails, coil lines, tie knots and engage with simple machines.
  • Learn to read a navigational chart, use coastal piloting techniques and simple mathematics to fix their position
  • Learn about how the winds and currents impact navigation.

Central Challenge: Students apply newly acquired skills to figure out their location on a chart.


  • Explore and identify what lives in and around the marine environment.
  • Observe several different types of plankton found in San Francisco Bay.
  • Discuss how we are all connected to the marine food web.

Central Challenge: Students collect and identify plankton, and discover their importance to themselves, each other and the planet.


  • Explore what life was like for sailors during different periods of time.
  • Learn what sea shanties are and how sailors use them
  • Discuss topics from human migration, unrest and protest, the gold rush and military defenses.
  • Engage in environmental and social justice issues around the San Francisco Bay from a maritime perspective.

Central Challenge: Students reflect upon the past and present to identify their own hopes and challenges for the future.


  • Apply the scientific method to make predictions and answer questions about the marine environment.
  • Explore our dynamic marine ecosystem by deploying scientific instruments and analyzing water samples. 
  • Study where the bay’s water comes from and anthropogenic and natural factors that affect its composition–including temperature, salinity and ocean acidification.

Central Challenge: As a field scientist, students collect and analyze data from the San Francisco Bay.


  • Engage with Matthew Turner’s hybrid-electric propulsion system
  • Discover how sailing energy powers the ship’s electric motors and contributes to our zero- carbon platform.
  • Engage in meaningful conversation around topics including sustainable seafood, ocean acidification and microplastics.

Central Challenge: Students will engage with a perspective shift using the shipboard experience as a platform for change to empower students to make individual and community-wide change.


  • Bring physics to life by using mechanical advantage to set sail and navigate the Bay.
  • Learn a new perspective on sail theory and hull design.
  • See how technology has informed sailors through the years.

Central Challenge: Students manipulate simple machines to find out what they do and how they do it.