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School by the Sea

Nautical Science

Try Your Hand at Real-Life Challenges

Our nautical science electives are uniquely suited to allow students to test their knowledge and apply their leadership skills in real-life situations or in controlled simulations, such as when we study sea survival in our Lifeboatman course. Actually applying what is discussed in class on the water changes the theory into experience, building confidence and skill. These hands-on programs set Tabor apart by teaching important life-long skills steeped in tradition. Approximately 150 students are enrolled in one or more of our unique nautical science courses or activities each year. They include:

  • Celestial Navigation
  • Sailing Model Building
  • Ship & Boat Lines Drawing
  • Theoretical Ship & Boat Design
  • Lifeboatman
  • U.S. Sailing Level 1 Instructor Course
  • Elements of (and Advanced) Nautical Science

Our Naval Honor History

Tabor Academy was designated as a Naval Honor School in 1941 by Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, in accordance with congressional legislation enacted in 1936 to encourage the teaching of naval subjects at the secondary level, and to generate interest in the nation’s military academies. Tabor earned this designation by providing instruction, continuously since 1917, in a variety of hands on maritime subjects and activities.

Service Academy Nominations

A special privilege granted to us, as one of only two remaining Naval Honor schools in the country, is the authority to directly nominate up to three candidates each year to each of the nation’s military academies. Students, once nominated, then compete on their own merit to secure a place at West Point, Annapolis, The U.S. Coast Guard Academy or The Air Force Academy. This is an option pursued annually by a small number of our top students, most commonly at Annapolis and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Our participating graduates have maintained Tabor’s excellent reputation through the years at the academies. The maritime academies are also popular with our nautical science students.

Naval Honor Recognition at Graduation

As a part of Tabor’s Naval Honor School tradition, students can earn a designation of “Naval Honor Graduate” with their Tabor diploma by successfully completing the necessary requirements within our Nautical Science curriculum. In the spring of their senior year, eligible Naval Honor candidates are required to submit a one-page application for final approval, with consideration given to overall experience and competence in Nautical Science, as well as leadership and/or academic proficiency. This distinction is recognized at Prize Day and during Commencement.
Naval Honor recognition requirements (5 or more of the following credits with a minimum overall average of 80):
  • Service as a TABOR BOY Officer (two seasons minimum) [1 credit]
  • Any semester-length Nautical Science course, prior to 2017-18 [2 credit]
  • Any trimester-length Nautical Science course [1 credit]
  • Celestial Navigation [3 credits]
  • Maritime History [1 credit]
  • Research & Environmental Education Focus (R.E.E.F.) participation [1 credit]
    • Tabor students trimming sails on Tabor Boy
    • Tabor students reading nautical instruments



Admissions Office: 226 Front Street, Marion MA 02738 | Mail: 66 Spring Street, Marion MA 02738 | 508.748.2000 |