The mission of O’Neill Sea Odyssey is to provide a hands-on educational experience to encourage the protection and preservation of our living sea and communities.


O’Neill Sea Odyssey (OSO) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization 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. OSO offers a three-hour program where 4th through 6th-grade and special education students from schools throughout Central California receive hands-on lessons in marine biology, marine ecology, and navigation. The program is conducted on board the Team O’Neill catamaran with follow-up lessons at the shoreside Jack O’Neill and Harry Hind Education Center at the Santa Cruz Harbor. 

OSO serves 5,000 students annually, a majority of whom are multilingual learners, underrepresented minorities, and socioeconomically disadvantaged. For many students, this is their first experience being out on the water. 

Guiding principles of O’Neill Sea Odyssey

Thanks to the generous support of our donors, OSO is free of charge. Students earn their way into the program by completing a Student Action Project. This project is intended to build on the OSO curriculum and encourage students to take actionable steps toward protecting the coastal environment. OSO also offers a limited number of transportation scholarships to socioeconomically disadvantaged schools. 

2019 – 2023 Five Year Strategic Plan

See our program outcomes and the results of our applied research surveys.


2022 – Sea Star Award for Education & Outreach with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

2013 – Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Community Impact Award

2009 – Adam Webster Memorial Fund received the Community Spinners award

2006 – Senator Barbara Boxer’s Environmental Champion award

2004 – Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award


More about O’Neill Sea Odyssey