Student FAQ

1. I have never been on a boat before. What should I expect?

Expect to have a lot of fun! The Team O’Neill Catamaran has two hulls instead of one, which means it’s a more comfortable ride than most boats. It’s the perfect boat for your first trip. You will likely see animals such as seals, sea lions, otters, pelicans and maybe even dolphins or jellies! Riding a boat is like being on a very slow roller coaster; it takes some getting used to, but most people really like it.

2. Will I get wet?

No, you will be far above the water while on the catamaran.

3. I’m a little nervous because it’s my first time on a boat. Is the boat dangerous?

Our boat is one of the safest boats on the water and we have taken out 65,000 kids with a perfect safety record. We are certified for safety by the U.S. Coast Guard, the agency that oversees all boat transportation. The crew will give instruction on how to behave safely on a boat and if you follow those instructions you will be perfectly safe. You will be wearing a lifejacket and our captain and crew will take good care of you.

4. We are going to the beach, so I should wear shorts and a t-shirt, right?

We will be leaving the harbor to go out onto the open ocean where it is much colder than it is on land. You should dress warmly for your trip. Wear sneakers and bring a warm jacket.

5. Will there be sharks? Whales? Dolphins? Giant squid?

You never know what you will see from our catamaran. You have to keep your eyes open. We have never seen a shark from the boat and we don’t need to worry about them at all. We regularly see otters, dolphins, porpoises and whales, but you have to watch carefully for them. Sorry, we won’t be seeing any giant squid!

6. What happened to Jack O’Neill’s eye? Can we meet him?

Jack’s eye was injured in a surfing accident many years ago. He may look like a pirate but he is actually a very nice man. Jack is retired and doesn’t come to the boat every day anymore, but he still checks in with us all the time. He enjoys reading all the thank you letters from our students. He started the OSO program in 1996 and is really happy that his boat is used to introduce kids to ocean science.

7. What if I have to use the restroom?

We take bathroom breaks before and after the boat trip, because there isn’t much time for breaks once we are on the boat. It’s best to take care of your restroom needs before boarding.

8. What can I bring with me?

The most important thing to bring is a jacket and a hat and sunscreen. All backpacks will be left on shore and there will be no food allowed on the boat. You may bring a camera or binoculars on the boat if you wish, but we recommend that you use a strap or cord because it’s easy for small things to fall overboard.

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