About Us

O’Neill Sea Odyssey (OSO) was founded in 1996 by wetsuit innovator and surfer Jack O’Neill. A living classroom was created on board a 65-foot catamaran sailing the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary where 4th – 6th grade students from schools throughout Central California receive hands-on lessons about the marine habitat and the importance of the relationship
between the living sea and the environment. The program is conducted on board the catamaran with follow-up lessons at the shore-side Jack O’Neill and Harry Hind Education Center at the Santa Cruz Harbor.

It is free of charge, but students earn their way into the program by designing and performing a project to benefit their community.

The curriculum is taught in a stimulating and intimate learning environment, which provides a learning experience that lasts a lifetime. The program’s curriculum is designed to support the educational goals of the schools that participate, and each of the subjects taught align with both California state and federal education standards. The three subjects taught are marine science, marine and watershed ecology, and navigation/mathematics.

On September 27, 2018 OSO reached a milestone of 100,000 students served since its inception.

OSO Timeline Graphic


Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award - 2004

Receives Senator Barbara Boxer’s Environmental Champion award - 2006

Adam Webster Memorial Fund received the Community Spinners award - 2009

Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Community Impact Award - 2013

More About O’Neill Sea Odyssey

Jack’s Legacy

Jack O’Neill started OSO in 1996 to teach children to appreciate and care for the marine environment.

Staff & Crew

Meet the fantastic team of people that make our program possible.

OSO Program Curriculum

OSO emphasizes hands-on learning and experiential education with a focus on marine biology, marine ecology and navigation.

Donate with Confidence

Join the elite team of community members that make OSO possible.