SEAmester – South Africa’s Class Afloat aims to introduce marine science as an applied and cross-disciplinary field to students who have shown an affinity for core science disciplines. It will combine traditional class-room lectures with hands-on ship-based deck activities for a maximum of 46 students; while providing them with an opportunity to support specialist scientists in recognised marine research activities. Our research group comprises of over 30 oceanographic, fisheries, biogeochemical and biological experts, who jointly have trained over 600 Southern African students onboard a wide variety of international and local research vessels.

What ship will SEAmester take place on?
The new South African polar research vessel SA Agulhas II will be used for SEAmester V. The SA Agulhas II is a state-of-the-art icebreaker and is fully equipped for all marine research activities.

To find out more go to

To find out more, visit the Links page and specifically the Life At Sea article.

What will it cost me?
Nothing. SEAmester is fully funded through the Departments of Science and Technology (DST) and Environmental Affairs (DEA). All board and lodging onboard the SA Agulhas II will be provided free of charge through SEAmester.

What research will SEAmester be involved in?
SEAmester will run in parallel to the scientific objectives of the Agulhas System Climate Array (ASCA) spearheaded by DSTs SAEON Egagasini node. ASCA is a multi-institutional, international collaboration and designed to provide the first long-term observations of Agulhas Current volume, heat and salt transport and its variability from seasonal to interannual timescales. ASCA’s objectives are to determine how the Agulhas Current and its role in the global conveyor belt varies over time.

To find out more go to

What will be expected from me?
You will be expected to choose one of two module steams – either Tools of the Trade or Oceans in a Changing World (see below). Learning will comprise of daily class-room lectures, daily assignments and deck work – running in parallel to the ASCA programme. Students from both streams will also provide research support to specialist scientists and obtain daily hands-on deck training, data collection, sampling and data analysis. Each student will gain experience working with the full suite of oceanographic, atmospheric and biological ship-based instrumentation such as CTD, underway measurements and autonomous devices such as Argo, SVP drifters as well as gain experience on all biological net tows. Training on data analysis following each deployment will be given, as well as technical and electronic experience in calibrating, assembling and modifying each instrument. In addition, each student will work on a specific scientific mini-project related to their area of interest and the scientific research underway.

What are the tentative dates for SEAmester?
SEAmester will depart on the 24th June returning to Cape Town on the 4th July 2024. Travel arrangements and costs will be made through the SEAmester programme for all students residing outside of the Western Cape. PLEASE NOTE: Applicants to be aware that the cruise dates may be subject to change by a few days.

What travel documentation must I have?
SEAmester will be working outside of South African waters and therefore all participants are requested to have a valid passport. SAMSA approved medicals will be required and costs incurred will be covered by the SEAmester programme. Students with study visas need to ensure that their visas have not expired.

Are COVID vaccinations mandatory?
Yes they are. All applicants must be vaccinated and the QR code included in your application. A PCR test 72 hours before the cruise followed by a Rapid Test on the day of departure are required. A positive test will result in your participation being withdrawn.