Submit a Proposal

The International SeaKeepers Society is currently accepting research proposals for DISCOVERY Yacht expeditions. The SeaKeepers DISCOVERY Yacht program provides marine scientists with a unique and cost-effective platform for at-sea research by placing researchers on privately owned vessels to conduct oceanographic research. SeaKeepers is committed to promoting ocean research, education, and conservation. We are looking for high-impact projects that support our missions, foster scientific collaboration, and stimulate further exploration.

Research Project Application

How It Works

For each expedition, a scientist is paired with a vessel that can meet the research expedition’s needs, including location, itinerary, and vessel specifications as outlined in the research proposal. The yacht owner’s scientific interests are also taken into account when pairing scientists and their projects with DISCOVERY vessels. Therefore, it is important that submitted proposals speak to the scientific significance of the project, the outreach and broader impact potential, and the proposed involvement of the owners, guests, and crew on board.
A Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for obtaining and financing any required research permits. Travel expenses to/from the vessel are not usually covered.

How to Submit a Proposal:

Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis. All submitted research proposals must meet the following criteria:

  • Clearly state project title, goals, intended impacts, background information and/or previous related research, methodology, targeted location, and timeline.
  • Identify the Principal Investigator (PI) and all involved researchers and participants, their position titles, affiliations, and roles in the expedition. Include a brief (one paragraph per person) biographical sketch for each researcher, describing their research, fieldwork, and educational background. Provide current contact information for PI.
  • Specify any equipment to be brought onboard. All instruments, gear, consumables, and chemicals brought by researchers will have to be pre-approved. There will be no invasive or permanent installations of any instruments, gear, or laboratory spaces on our vessels.
  • Specify any necessary vessel requirements, including number of berths (for overnight expeditions), deck space, water access, crane capacity, satellite communications, water depth restrictions, etc.
  • Declare current status on funding: Is this project, or any part of this project, already funded? If yes, for how much and by whom?

Submit the final proposal through our website.

Proposal Review Process:

Proposals are reviewed by The International SeaKeepers Society’s Programming Team and Scientific Advisory Council. Principal Investigators will be contacted with any questions from the review committees and notified when a decision has been made.

Accepted proposals are shared with limited details (project title, location, timeline, number of researchers, vessel requirements) as a project opportunity on The International SeaKeepers Society webpage and at meetings with SeaKeepers members. The full proposal document will remain confidential until such time that one of our yacht members expresses interest in participating in the project. The International SeaKeepers Society cannot guarantee that an accepted project proposal will be selected by a yacht owner or the timeline in which this will occur. However, accepted project proposals will remain active in the system for two years. During this time, a PI may update their accepted proposal (assuming minor changes) with approval from the Director of Programs & Policies or withdraw their proposal at any time. After two years, the PI will be notified and asked to resubmit an updated proposal if they wish.


Only the Principal Investigator (PI) may submit a proposal. The PI for an expedition must have a four-year college degree and at least two years of work experience in the field. The PI must be affiliated with a reputable academic, government, private, or not-for-profit institution or organization. The PI must have support from their institution and be able to acquire all necessary permits for the proposed expedition.

Each participant must fill a necessary role during the expedition, which must be described in the submitted proposal. All research team participants must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license or similar identification card. For expeditions outside the United States, a passport is required. All participants are expected to have health insurance.

There is no limit to the number of submitted or accepted proposals by a PI. However, a PI submitting project proposals on overlapping themes will reduce the likelihood of the proposals being accepted.

Unlike most research cruises, SeaKeepers expeditions on private vessels often come together quite quickly. On average, detailed planning starts three months prior to the departure date but could start as little as six weeks out.

Yes. If a vessel owner is interested in a project, SeaKeepers makes every reasonable effort to make the expedition work.

The PI is expected to contribute to post-cruise reports and press releases. The International SeaKeepers Society has numerous media contacts and works hard to promote the expedition to local, national, and international media outlets. Specific requirements will be discussed with the PI during the planning phase of the expedition.

SeaKeepers works with the private vessel and PI’s institution to make sure all insurance and liability requirements are met. The private vessel provides Protection & Indemnity (P&I) insurance to everyone on board during the expedition.

Depending on the financial requirements of the expedition, SeaKeepers can work with the PI to acquire additional funding through various sources. This is done on a case-by-case basis.