Youth Ocean Explorers

YOE Logo

The Youth Ocean Explorers (YOE) Summer Program, which started in 2015, is a 4-week, hands-on marine science program for middle to high school-aged students interested in exploring our oceans. YOE utilizes best practices in science education and youth development to provide a fun, unique and educational experience for students in grades 7-12. Each week, our team of informal science educators and youth mentors engage students on various topics such as animal and plant identification, careers in marine science, and environmental impacts to natural resources. Students can also earn their PADI open water scuba certification from the Coki Dive Center and Cane Bay Dive Shop which helps to further their love for the ocean! Dive in and join our Youth Ocean Explorers family today!

Howard Profile Jarvon profile

Howard Forbes Jr., MSc.
(Program Director)

Jarvon Stout (Program Coordinator)

Howard Forbes Jr. currently serves as the St. Thomas Coordinator for the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS).
"YOE is one of the many programs I enjoy coordinating that helps to connect our Virgin Island's youth with the ocean."
Jarvon Stout currently serves as the Community Engagement Specialist for the Virgin Islands Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR).
"I love that this program creates access to the types of ecosystems, research, and STEM professionals that the students otherwise would not have exposure to." 

  • 2022 FLYER - Click the previous link to download the 2022 YOE flyer and share. 
  • NEWSYouth Ocean Explorers Did Not Let COVID-19 Stop Them from Learning (VI Source).
  • NEWS - National Summer Learning Association fellowship award to support YOE 2021 (VI Source).
  • NEWS - YOE students help to fight coral disease outbreak (VI Source). 
  • MEDIA COVERAGE - CBS USVI news story on the YOE 2021 Summer Program. 


What age is my child eligible to participate? The YOE Summer Program operates by grade level. Students in grades 7-12 are eligible to apply. 
Should my child be a strong swimmer to be selected to participate? Students should have some comfortability in the water as many of the program's lessons will be conducted in or near water.
Are non-VI residents eligible to apply? Yes, non-VI residents are eligible to apply; however, first preference is given to VI residents. 
Is this an overnight program? No. The YOE Summer Program operates as a day program and thus housing is not provided. 
What is the current program structure? During the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure public safety, YOE operates on a half-day basis with 3 days virtual (M,W, and F for 1 hour / 9am - 10am) and 2 days in person (T and R for 3 hours / 9am - 12pm).
How much does this program cost? The YOE Summer Program charges a one-time program fee for selected applicants of $400 (this amount can vary by year and funding support received). Scholarships are provided.
When can I register for this program? The registration application for the YOE Summer Program opens each year on the 1st of January and closes on May 1. 
Are there any similar marine science based programs for younger children? Yes. Our team also facilitates the Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program for students in grades 3-6. Log on to for more information on this program. 


  • May 1, 2022 - Registation closes 
  • July 11, 2022 - Program starts
  • August 5, 2022 - Program ends

STEP 1: Complete the online application for the program you are interested in.

yoe stt    yoe stx

STEP 2: Child completes the following application:

YOE student application   

STEP 3: Apply for a scholarship to cover your registration and scuba certification costs. Please note that scholarships are only provided to USVI residents. 

STEP 4: Review checklist; your application is only complete until all of the following have been received:

  • Completed online application (Done by parent or legal guardian)
  • Completed student application (Done by child)
  • Completed video response (Last question found in the student application; all videos should be uploaded to this DROPBOX folder as the file will more than likely be too large to send through E-mail. Please be sure to rename the video file as follows: Student first name_Student last name_YOE2022; e.g. Howard_ForbesJr._YOE2022).
  • E-mailed a copy of child's current insurance policy (if insured) and child's vaccination card (if currently vaccinated against COVID-19). 


To be eligible for a mentorship position in the Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program, the applicant should have participated in the program previously and be at the high school level (grades 9-12). Mentors are paid a monetary stipend for their assistance with the YOE Summer Program. 
Click on the application button below to register for mentorship position for the 2022 YOE Summer Program. 

Mentor application

Our program operates each year via small grants from private foundations and federal agencies as well as donations (monetary or in kind services) from the Virgin Islands community. Your funding could support the registration costs for a student or covering their scuba diving course fees. If you are interested in providing a donation or to sponsor a student to attend, you can donate to the program by clicking the "Donate" button below; from the dropdown menu, select "Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program" to make your donation. The University of the Virgin Islands is a 501c3 institution so all donations are tax deductible.

Donate to YOE

- CONTACT US -   new

Office Phone: St. Thomas (340) 693-1672
E-mail: St. Thomas (
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Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service
Center for Marine and Environmental Studies
University of the Virgin Islands

St. Thomas
#2 John Brewers Bay
St. Thomas, USVI 00802

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