Marine Science Camp


Frequently Asked Questions


Our FAQ Page is under constant review as we update our program and procedures to reflect new guidelines and mandates.

Check back often as we continue to revise our plans.

If you have questions please email us at

Addressing COVID-19

What are your cleaning procedures?

Our staff has performed a site wide deep cleaning. This will be redone immediatly prior to camp opening. All cleaning procedures are in compliance with San Mateo County Health and California state cleaning and sanitation guidelines. We have implemented more thorough cleaning and sanitizing measures to happen daily before, during, and after camp. Those include:

  • All staff will wear masks when cleaning.
  • High contact surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized after each group of participants uses the area.
  • Facilities will be cleaned daily.
  • Hand washing or use of a hand sanitizer will be enforced before and after activities that involved shared materials and before and after eating (snack and lunch).
  • Any item brought from home will be isolated and kept separated from other groups items.
  • Bathroom and Break rooms will be sanitized multiple times a day.

How will MSI encourage social distancing during camp?

Campers will be with their group for the entire session. Each group of 12 campers will have a safe space restricted from other groups intermingling. Staff will monitor each campers distance, maintaning the recommended 6' amoung group members (and other necessary staff on-site). All teaching spaces at Marine Science Institute have been taped off to mark 6' distances.

What are the preventive measures that have been implemented?

  • Staff and participants are required to wear masks (unless medically not possible).
  • Staff will check their temperature before arrival- if temperature is above 100 degrees staff will not come to work.
  • Staff will check their temperature upon arrival to work. If temperature is above 100 degrees they will leave the facility.
  • Participants will have their temperature taken upon arrival to the Marine Science Institute. This will be done with an infrared thermometer while they are still in their vehicles. If temperature is above 100 degrees they will not be allowed in the facility.
  • Participants will be asked if they or any in their household are exhibiting any of the following symptom: Fever, coughing, shortness of breath, or new loss of sense of smell/taste. If they have the participant will not be allowed in the facility.
  • If Staff or any in their household are exhibiting any of the following symptom: Fever, coughing, shortness of breath, or new loss of sense of smell/taste they will not be allowed in the facility.
  • All Staff and Participants will wash hands or use hand sanitizer upon arrival to facility.
  • Everyone will be reminded and encouraged to not touch their face with their hands without cleaning their hands first .
  • Everyone will be taught/reminded that coughing and sneezing should be done into a tissue which is thrown away. Hands should we washed or sanitized after using the tissue.
  • Toys and stuffed animals are not allowed and should not be sent with kids.
If someone starts to exhibit symptoms after they have entered the facilities they will be quarantined outside until transport off the facilities are available to reduce the risk of transmission. The facilities will be deep cleaned and sanitized.

Cancellation policy and refund policy

What is the cancellation and refund policy?

For Session 1 (June 22-July 10): No refunds for cancellations made at any time. If your child gets sick before or during camp MSI will assess on an individual basis. MSI will fully refund tuition if the session is cancelled. For Session 2 (July 13-31) and 3 (August 3-21): Tuition minus a $250 cancellation fee is refundable for cancellations made more than two weeks prior to the camp start date. No refunds or cancellations made within two weeks of the camp start date. If you child gets sick before or during camp MSI will assess on an individual basis. MSI will fully refund tuition if the session is cancelled.

Pick up and drop off

How does drop off work?

All drop-off is at Marine Science Institute (500 Discovery Parkway, Redwood City, CA 94063). Due to our limited parking area we use a drive through-style drop-off and pick-up. This is proven to be efficient and safe. To drop off your campers follow the circle of traffic cones and pull as far forward as possible. New safety measures will be implemented this summer to attempt redcucing the spread of COVID-19. A Marine Science Camp staff member will greet your vehicle, please wear a face mask when rolling down your windows. Campers will have their temperature checked while in vehicle. Staff member will ask a series of wellness questions and gather any additional information we may need. If children exhibit a temperature of 100 degrees Farenheit or greater they will not be allowed at camp. Additionally, if campers or any members of their household have been sick or experiencing specific symptoms, they wll not be allowed at camp. After campers are given the all clear, a staff member walk your child to their morning gathering area. We will not be accepting walk ups this year. Please, only drop off your children from the safety of your vehicle in the traffic circle.

How does pick up work?

All pick-off is at Marine Science Institute (500 Discovery Parkway, Redwood City, CA 94063). When you arrive to pick up your child, a staff member will greet you and direct you around the circle of cones. Please do not enter the lot until invited to do so--we may need to hold space for school buses returning from field trips. Staff will check that you are on the Authorized Adult Pick Up list, and we will call your camper out as you pull around. All adults picking up campers are required to be on the Authorized Adult Pick Up List and show a photo ID. Guardians are to inform all persons authorized to pick up their child/ren from camp of this policy and are to instruct them to have a photo ID at time of pick-up. If you need to park you may ask to be directed to a parking space. We would be happy to assist your child with their car seat buckles upon request. We only load campers on one side of the parking lot to ensure that no children need to cross the lot. Please be patient until you pull all the way forward before encouraging your child to get in the vehicle.

How is carpooling set up?

In support of the government mandate and the need to keep campers in isololated groups while at camp we will not be providing carpooling support this year.

What to bring

Does MSI provide food for my camper?

MSI unfortunatly will not be providing snacks this year to campers. Lunch is also not provided; please pack snacks, a trash-free lunch, and refillable water bottle for your camper. Water stations are available on-site.

What clothes are appropriate for camp?

At MSI, campers will be enjoying fun activities outside that may include water, mud, and fish slime. Please dress them in "play clothes" that they will feel comfortable in, and will not be worried about getting dirty. A ready camper wears: Closed-toe shoes A hat (for sun protection) A coat or warm layer Sunscreen Clothes that can get dirty Campers will NOT be swimming at this camp--they do not need to bring a bathing suit or towel, though spare socks for wet feet are sometimes useful. Please label all items with your camper's name so that we can help them to keep track of their things.

Should my camper bring medication?

If your camper needs to take medication during the day, please make sure that they have it with them including instructions. Please alert the staff that the camper has these. If your child has severe allergies, please pack emergency medication as needed (anti-histamines, epi-pens, etc). Include instructions detailing symptoms and your preferred plan of action. MSI does not provide medication of any type. Dramamine, or other medicine for motion-sickness may not be necessary for the ship. Because we stay in the Bay, which is typically calm, we rarely see cases of sea-sickness.

Discovery Voyage boat trip

Who goes on the Discovery Voyage boat trip aboard the R/V Robert G. Brownlee?

All campers! Each camp will spend a camp day aboard the research vessel. This is a highlight of the week! Underwater Investigators spend two days and an overnight on board.

How large is the ship?

The Robert G. Brownlee is a 90' research vessel that was designed specifically for teaching programs in the San Francisco Bay. Its maximum capacity is 103 passengers and crew. In 2013, this ship received several upgrades, and the Brownlee now runs on the cleanest and most fuel-efficient marine diesel engines available today.

Is this trip safe?

Our vessel, the Robert G. Brownlee, was designed specifically with students in mind. This ship passes regular Coast Guard inspections of maintenance, safety, and rescue equipment. Our staff undergo rigorous training to become crew on this ship and must complete regular safety drills. In addition, all campers wear personal flotation devices provided by MSI at all times.

How long is the trip?

The "Discovery Voyage" on our ship will last for their full camp day. The ship undocks promptly at 9:00 am after a brief welcome activity on land and donning personal flotation devices (provided by MSI). It is important that your camper arrives during the drop-off window in the morning, between 8 - 8:30 so that they do not miss out on this exciting adventure. Campers will enjoy activities including fishing, sampling mud, and studying plankton, using equipment standard in the field. They will eat lunch on the water before returning in time for pick up. The ship will return approximately 15 minutes before pick up--please plan to have your camper stay for the full day of camp.

Summer camp staff

What is the camper to staff ratio?

This year groups have sizes have been reduced. Each group has a maximum of 12 campers to 2 MSI staff. One or two volunteers may also join each group.

What is the experience of your staff?

There are two levels of staff at Marine Science Camp: Instructors and Counselors work in pairs to lead each group of campers. Instructors must have a college degree and experience working in outdoor education. Counselors must be in college and have experience working with children. Marine Science Camp staff receive a two week professional development training, ongoing observation and evaluations. Instructors go through a rigorous training to be crew aboard the research vessel. All camp staff members are highly qualified, pre-screened, finger printed and background checked, and CPR/First-aid certified.

Extended care

Is extended care available?

We are not offering extended care during the 2020 summer camp season.


What discounts are available?

This year we are not able to offer discounts.

Do you offer scholarships?

We offer partial and full scholarships to attend Marine Science Camp. Scholarship funds are awarded on a sliding scale based on demonstrated financial need. Please visit the Marine Science Camp Scholarship page to learn more. Applications are due by April 3, 2020.

How to register

How do I register?

Registration opens in January for Members and February to the community. Once registration is open click the REGISTER HERE button on any of the Marine Science Camp pages to be taken to ACTIVE, our secure camp registration site. You can also follow this link to register for Marine Science Camp.

What if the session is full?

If the session is full and you wish to be added to the waitlist, please continue with the normal registration process. A deposit will not be taken for waitlist registrations. If a spot opens up for your child you will be notified and given 24 hours to decided if you want to take the spot. Payment will be due at the time of acceptance. If you do not reply to us within 24 hours of being notified of the open spot, we will move down the waitlist and offer the spot to the next family.

Parent Handbook is under construction and will be available soon