Sarasota High School’s unique floating classroom is celebrating her 32nd year on the waters of Sarasota Bay. The Carefree Learner was launched in March of 1978 and continuously serves as a valuable educational resource for students and adults. The vessel was designed and constructed by the faculty and students of Sarasota High School. She was built in six months at no expense to the taxpayers of Sarasota County with materials, expertise and labor all donated by our generous community
The students of Sarasota High School’s Marine Science classes are on board 75 days per school year. Monthly trips are conducted for the purpose of monitoring water quality, sampling marine life and performing a population survey of the Roberts Bay Rookery. The data collected has been used in marine science classes, students’ research projects and by various agencies and groups involved with Sarasota Bay. Each year, approximately 90 sixth grade classes have an opportunity to explore Sarasota Bay on board the Carefree Learner. The trip emphasizes the importance of the food web, the interrelationship of all species, and the impact our community has upon the bay as well as an up close look at some of the species inhabiting Sarasota Bay. Adults can use the Carefree Learner for Sarasota Bay Bio-cruises, field experiences, and customized activities about 30 days a year. Some of the groups served are: American Littoral Society, Englewood Shell Club, Florida Audubon Society, Sarasota Shell Club, Selby Botanical Gardens, and various other government, community and private groups. In a typical year, the number of passengers is about 3,500 people.
Carefree Learner Facts at a Glance:
Approximately 174,000 students and adults have studied Sarasota Bay Ecology for 32 years on board the Carefree Learner.
Launch Date - March 8, 1978
United States Coast Guard registered vessel - inspected annually for safety equipment and seaworthiness.
41’ in length - capacity 25 students or 20 adults
Long term supporters include Marina Operations Inc. (Marina Jack) - berth at marina is a donation (for 32 years), Sarasota Shell Club, Englewood Shell Club, Selby Gardens, Sarasota Audubon Society and the American Littoral Society
Typical Year's Usage:
Middle Schools - 90 sixth grade trips
Sarasota High School – 75 marine science classes
Adults - 30 trips to include American Littoral Society, Englewood Shell Club, Sarasota Audubon Society, Sarasota Shell Club and Selby Botanical Gardens.