MPA Cruises
Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruises

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(949) 675-0551

The most affordable on-the-water STEM program!

The Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruise is run through a unique partnership between Newport Landing Sportfishing and Crystal Cove Alliance, the nonprofit partner of Crystal Cove State Park. Our sportfishing company works together with this conservation organization, local scientists, State Park resource managers, and participating students and teachers to monitor Crystal Cove's Marine Conservation Area. (image of MPA Map ß attached in email)

This high quality on-the-water STEM education program gives students an opportunity to be a part of authentic scientific research and monitoring in Crystal Cove State Park. During the program, students set sail aboard a "research vessel" (aka fishing boat) and work as scientists for the day in the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area. Working together, we believe that we can best monitor and protect our marine resources, a profitable asset to all involved.

Financial aid available through Crystal Cove Alliance by filling out their application below and sending it to Holly Fletcher.

Download Financial Aid Form Request More Information


The three hour MPA Citizen Science Cruise offers students in grades 7-12 the opportunity to explore the protected waters off the coast of Crystal Cove State Park. Students are assigned to one of three monitoring projects, where they will capture and take an up close look at plankton, drop a digital fishing camera down into the kelp forest to explore life below the ocean surface, and even collect water quality samples. The data that they collect will be shared with local scientists and resource managers who are studying and making decisions on how best to protect the underwater park.

  • In class presentation with marine mammal artifacts by an American Cetacean Society Naturalist before your trip. *dependent on distance and naturalist availability
  • Grade level appropriate curriculum packets that can be printed and used to brief students on what they may be seeing on their trip and how it connects with what they are studying (see links below).
  • Post trip activity sheets that connect with state standards that may be printed and given to students as a follow up learning activity. Additional fun and educational activities available for teacher/student use. (Click here to view material.)

Meet Our MPA Cruise Educators


Marine Science Educator

Jessica is our education coordinator and whale watching naturalist for Newport Whales. She has a Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences and extensive hands-on experience in marine biology. Not only does she enjoy teaching others about the wonders of the ocean, but she spends much of her free time as a volunteer for several organizations working with marine mammals, penguins, and sharks just to name a few. She's an avid S.C.U.B.A. diver, and our on-the-water educational programs have created a great platform for her to engage with youth, teach them about marine life and get them excited about our oceans. Who knew learning could be so fun!


Marine Science Educator

Wesley is one of our whale watching naturalists and marine science educators at Newport Whales. Growing up in Boston, and receiving her Bachelor's degree in Marine Biology from the University of Maine, she has a wealth of experience in marine research and has a passion for the outdoors. She is very happy to be on the water educating the public about the amazing whales we see here in Newport Beach!

2015 sightings

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Water vector designed by Freepik

A wonderfully fun and educational trip in 2016 that your students will never forget!

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