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School by the Sea

Orientation at Sea

Sail training at Tabor Academy began in 1918, and the school’s current training vessel has sailed for the school since 1954. Built as a North Sea pilot schooner, the Tabor Boy is sturdy, seaworthy and safe – a perfect vessel for sail training.
Tabor Boy has welcomed scores of new Tabor students during our summer Orientation at Sea.  
Although optional, the Orientation at Sea Program gives students opportunities to get to know one another and the school in a learning environment that is unique to Tabor Academy. Students spend five days aboard the Tabor Boy, living and working together with the captain, crew, a Tabor faculty chaperone, and an onboard instructor and program director. Each week, the vessel sails to various anchorages and harbors in Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound. Students become familiar with local geography and some of the region’s history while also learning about coastal marine ecology, navigation, and sail handling.
While aboard for their orientation cruise, students serve as trainees under the supervision of the student crew, hired specially for this role for the duration of the summer. The hired crewmembers are current and former Tabor students who are also members of the regular fall and spring Tabor Boy crew, so new students are able to interact with upperclassmen and recent Tabor graduates. The crew teaches the students how to take part in sail handling and navigation safely and competently while providing them with first-hand insight on what it is like to be a student at Tabor Academy.  

Students are divided into two watches, port and starboard, each under the direct supervision of a watch officer. While underway, one watch maintains a lookout at the head of the vessel, takes turns at the helm, helps handle sails, and learns the basics of coastal navigation from the watch officers.  

The other watch works with the program director, learning about coastal marine ecology through different hands-on activities that are tied directly to the local environment.

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel Orientation at Sea 2021 due to the pandemic.




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