Frequently asked questions

Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions about our trip. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us at any time.

  • Health
    • Medical care

      Ocean College has a doctor or paramedic on board at all times. Each student must have international travel insurance to be treated in the hospital on the route or flown home in case of emergency. There is a fully equipped on-board pharmacy for first aid on board. A comprehensive health questionnaire is included in the participant:in contract, so that the crew can take good care of all medical needs.

    • What about seasickness?

      Seasickness is part of seafaring. Even experienced seafarers can get seasick every now and then. Seasickness refers to symptoms such as fatigue, headache, nausea and vomiting. This illness results from a temporary disturbance of the sense of balance caused by the swaying ship. However, seasickness is not a permanent condition. Nevertheless, there are some rules that can be followed when suffering from seasickness: One should not have a completely empty stomach, but should not eat nightshade vegetables, such as tomatoes, as well as no coffee, but should consume plenty of vitamin C.

      Warm clothing and a hat are just as helpful as not going below deck. If you are looking for a remedy against seasickness, we recommend Nausyn® from Weleda. It is all-natural and has no dangerous side effects. However, it should only be the last choice, because a medication mainly fights the symptoms, but not the causes.

      Medication may only be taken on board with the knowledge of the ship’s doctor.

  • Life on the ship
    • Catering

      Ocean College attaches great importance to a rich and sufficient diet. For this purpose, there will be a cook on board who will be in charge of purchasing and catering on board during the entire voyage. There will be three meals daily and an afternoon or midnight tea for the traveling watch. Vegetarian or vegan diets are available by prior arrangement. The young people are jointly responsible for the catering of the entire crew according to a rotating system.

    • Sleep

      If you are out in the air all day and have to do a lot of strenuous work in the rig and on deck, you need regular and sufficient sleep. Eight hours a day are planned for this.

    • Cleanship

      When many people live together in a confined space, daily hygiene is essential. Accordingly, each:r student is also responsible for the ship’s hygiene here in a daily rotating system, which is ensured with various cleaning stations.

    • Watch

      Each student is assigned to one of three watches and has four hours watch in 24 hours in this three watch system. During the watch, the ship is sailed, nautical training takes place, work is done in the rigging and chart and log entries are made, as well as engine and safety rounds.

    • Galley

      Approximately every tenth day, each student is responsible for catering for the entire crew in the galley for one day under the supervision of a cook. This includes the planning and preparation of meals, the correct storage of food on board, washing up and cleaning the galley.

    • Crew

      The crews of the ships are on the one hand qualified for ocean sailing on traditional sailing vessels, but on the other hand they are selected according to educational guidelines. Even if the task of the crew (consisting of captain, two to three officers, deckhand, engineer, ship’s doctor and cook) is primarily to safely guide the ship, they are also responsible for the nautical and seamanship training of the students.

  • Discipline
    • Disciplinary measures

      Prior to the voyage, the project team, in close coordination with the ship’s crew, establishes clear rules for behavior on board and for dealing with each other, and communicates them to the students. These general rules for living together are for the most part signed together with the contract before the trip. The students elect a representative who has a valid vote in the ship’s council (consisting of the captain, the project leader and one representative each from the crew and the teachers) and can also represent the students’ wishes regarding the rules on board. In addition to the class book and log book, there is a log book in which entries are made for gross misconduct, among other things. If three entries are made, a participant will be excluded from the trip. Ocean College will not cover the cost of any transportation home in the event of exclusion from the trip.

  • Route
    • Route

      The Ocean College voyage starts along the west coast of Europe through the Bay of Biscay. Via the Canary Islands and possibly Cape Verde, it heads for the Caribbean and Central America. On the way back, the ship passes Cuba, Bermuda and the Azores. Shore visits and projects are planned in Tenerife, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Cuba and the Azores. More detailed information on the schedule can be found on the page of the respective land program. In addition to the larger shore programs, there are many other short stops along the way, depending on wind and weather conditions.

  • Accommodation
    • How are the participants accommodated during the country excursions?

      During the land excursions the participants are accommodated in guesthouses/hostels, with host families or in tents.

    • How are the participants accommodated on board?

      Accommodation is in multi-bed chambers with a maximum of six bunks. Girls and boys are accommodated in separate chambers. The ships’ sanitary facilities include flush toilets and showers. The showers can be used sparingly on the high seas due to water consumption. A washing machine and dryer are available in calm seas.

  • Security and communication
    • Rules on land

      The ship may only be left in ports when all tasks on board have been completed. In ports and on land, young people may only travel in groups of at least three. As on board, a strict ban on alcohol is also in force on land.

    • Cell phone and internet use

      On board there is no wifi or telephone network for the young people and cell phone use is accordingly only available on land. For this purpose, the students are given a certain amount of time in some ports. It is an educational goal of Ocean College that the young people experience their communication and online behavior consciously and not as otherwise available.

    • Can the ships be reached in an emergency?

      The ships are equipped with modern communication technologies and can be reached via satellite telephone even on the high seas, as well as being precisely located by various services. For this purpose we use the software “Yellowbrick”, which is also integrated in the homepage. Near the coast the ships can also be found with “Vesselfinder”.

    • The ships

      The project ships of Ocean College are the “Pelican of London”, the “Fridtjof Nansen” and the “Regina Maris”. The “Pelican of London” is the only “Mainmast Barquentine” in the world and is specially built and equipped for worldwide sailing with young people. The “Fridtjof Nansen” is a three-masted tall ship schooner with a broad jib and has been undergoing an extensive refit since summer 2022 to meet the requirements of Ocean College and Seas Your Future. The “Regina Maris” was the first ship Ocean College ever sailed with and the crew has a lot of experience with the route. The ships are almost the same in type so that each can offer the same program and guarantee the same standards.

      The ships of Ocean College are certified by law for so called “worldwide sailing”. Besides the strict regulations regarding the qualification of the crew, this includes especially the safety equipment of the ships with:

      • Life rafts
      • Life jackets
      • Watermaker system
      • reserve water tank
      • safety equipment for the moving watch for hooking on deck
      • Fire alarm
      • Four bulkheads in the ship
      • Echo sounder
      • Radar
      • Satellite connection via telephone
      • Onboard pharmacy
  • School on the Ship
    • What is taught and how?

      We expand and improve our onboard curriculum with each voyage, which we are happy to forward after a successful application. During the voyage, we teach the subjects mathematics, English, German, physics, biology, chemistry, history, geography and Spanish on board. In doing so, we respond to the needs of the students: Immediately after the start of the trip, the teachers create an individual learning plan.

      In this way, we want to ensure that the students can return to their class groups after participating in Ocean College and complete the school year as usual. In this respect, we have been able to achieve very good results on previous voyages.
      The rotating system of watch, forecastle, clean ship and school enables us to teach in small groups with a maximum of 15 students. This enables us to provide very intensive and individual support.

      Each student receives four hours of instruction each day, including Saturday.
      Some topics are worked on in project or module form to suit the circumstances of the itinerary. The combination of theory and practice and the integration of the place or ship are always a priority.
      Few examples are:

      Course determination with sextant and mathematical formulas

      Physics of sailing

      Dissection of fish

      Theme of volcanism during a volcano hike

      The discovery of America by Columbus as a theme during the Atlantic crossing

      The Cuban Missile Crisis and communism before visiting Cuba

      English as board language

      Indigenous culture in the jungle in Costa Rica in contact with indigenous people

      Trade and fair trade during the coffee harvest on a coffee farm

      Even with this small selection, it becomes clear that interdisciplinary teaching is often a matter of course at Ocean College.

    • Teachers

      Ocean College travels in the project team exclusively with trained specialist teachers in order to ensure a high quality of teaching. As a professional tour operator, we never work with volunteers, but exclusively with regular employment contracts, which also include extended certificates of good conduct.

    • School materials

      There is an on-board library with a core collection of books, as well as diverse digital materials. For the science subjects, there is equipment with microscopes, dissecting instruments and the most important chemical substances. Printers and project computers are on board. Due to the small teaching groups, individual instruction is possible in many cases, and it is possible to work on different subjects at the same time. Each student also receives his or her own dropbox folder at Ocean College for the duration of the trip, to which the home teachers have access and can upload material. It is thus possible that content from the home schools will also be edited during the trip or that exams will also be written. The dropbox is updated in every port.

    • Certificate

      Each student will receive the following certificates at the end of the trip:

      • A project report card from Ocean College outlining personal and academic growth.
      • A grade sheet which, after prior consultation with the home school, allows the student to finish the class as planned, with year-end grades made by the home school.
      • A subject report card with a detailed description of the content realized and the various sub-grades.

      The curriculum is carried out at grammar school level in order to be able to accept students from any type of school.

    • Who is responsible for the school leave?

      Participating students must be granted leave of absence by their parents in consultation with their home schools for the duration of the trip. A confirmation of participation will be gladly issued after a successful application.

    • What about the subjects that are not taught?

      Ocean College also encourages students to learn independently. Especially on the return journey, learning times are set aside in which the young people can work independently in learning communities and with the help of the teachers on the content of the subjects that are not taught at Ocean College. Very good students and the watch leaders can be used as leaders in the learning community.

  • Cost
    • Why is the price the same for students and watchleaders?

      The price consists of the costs for the charter, diesel costs, payment of the crew and teachers, food for six months, teamwear and sailing clothes, shore stays, language school, payment of our local partners, entrance fees, materials, visas, mooring fees in harbors, surf courses and much more. This is ultimately the reason why the price is the same for watch leaders and students.

      In addition, we put together a separate program for the Watchleaders that is geared to their interests. This is even more time-consuming for us, and requires more planning and individual support than “simply” putting one more student in class.

  • Equipment and materials
    • Equipment

      Each student will receive a detailed packing list sufficiently in advance. This list must be followed, as the storage space on board is limited. No suitcases can be brought on board, only travel bags or duffle bags. The oilskins (sailing clothes) and the teamwear are included in the price of the trip.

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