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Tabor Boy Summer Experience

Students posing for a photo on the SSV Tabor Boy
Students recording research in their notebooks while on land from the SSV Tabor Boy
Students gathered around the table in the SSV Tabor Boy looking for organisms in the ocean water under a microscope
The SSV Tabor Boy in water surrounded by a rainbow

Tabor Boy Summer Experience

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 Tabor Boy Summer Experience.

Although optional, the Tabor Boy Summer Experience 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 and four nights aboard the SSV 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. Learn more about this year's program, including dates, here.

While aboard, 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 can 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.

View a short video to see what to expect during your Tabor Boy Summer Experience, formerly known as the Tabor Boy Orientation at Sea.