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 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.