Step away from the daily grind and head to the subtropical marine wilderness of Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico to explore by water - sailing, rowing and living on a traditional 30-foot open sailboat.
The Florida Keys’ turquoise waters, warm temperatures and prevailing easterly winds provide exceptional and memorable opportunities to reenergize and challenge yourself in new ways, discover new strengths and forge new friendships. Using a 30-foot open sailboat as both a home and a classroom, you’ll revitalize your outdoor enthusiasm as Instructors introduce you to beginning, intermediate and advanced skills in chart and compass navigation, small boat seamanship, weather observation and anchoring. Through living and working closely together, you will practice more than seamanship. Heading out into the waterways of Florida, you will learn to camp and travel simply, relying on your group, the supplies you have on hand, and the expertise you either have or acquire as you go. You’ll have time to sit on the shore and reflect on your progress and think about the journey that still lies ahead. Leadership responsibilities are shared so that every crew member is integral to planning the journey and discovering how to best live and work closely together. The habits learned and strengthened through this sailing expedition will serve you long after you return home.
NOTE: Outward Bound strongly recommends that all students be vaccinated against COVID-19 and up to date as defined by the CDC prior to arriving to their course start. For all open enrollment courses beginning on or after April 15, 2023, Outward Bound will no longer require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For questions regarding this policy please see this page or call us at 866-467-7651.
For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean,
Thank you for your interest in Outward Bound!
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
APPLY NOW This means a course has several open spots and is actively processing applications.
APPLY NOW – Almost Full This means there are three or fewer currently available spots left on a course. To secure your spot click Apply Now to begin an application!
JOIN WAITLIST Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist positions become available. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. A $500 deposit is required. This $500 deposit includes a $150 non-refundable application fee and a $350 tuition payment. The $350 tuition payment is refundable only if you cancel your waitlist application or if an open position does not become available. If a position does become available, the applicant will be applied to the open position and the Application and Cancellation Policies of the Regional Outward Bound School will be followed, including forfeiture of the $500 deposit if you cancel 90 days or less prior to the course start date.
Waitlist applicants are encouraged to complete all required admissions documents while awaiting an open position. Positions may become available up to two weeks prior to the course start date. Applicants may only apply to one course. We recommend applying to a course with open positions instead of a course that is accepting waitlist applications. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
CALL TO APPLY This means a course is very close to its start date. Although it is unlikely to secure a spot this late, you can call the National Admissions office at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
COURSE IS FULL When a course has reached maximum capacity, meaning all spots and the three waitlist spots are occupied, a course will read “Course Is Full.” This means applications are no longer being accepted.
CLOSED As a course nears its start date, the availability status may read “Closed.” In this event, a course roster has been finalized and applications are no longer being accepted or processed.
Travel to course, welcome, equipment issue and check, introduction to the Florida Keys
Personal Challenge Event, equipment clean-up and de-issue, depart for airport
It’s time to make your own adventure. Outward Bound’s Classic expeditions for middle and high school students are built with you in mind. Make new friends, sleep under the stars, and learn skills like backcountry navigation and how to cook a delicious meal no matter where you are. You’ve got this! Whether you’re in a raft or on a mountainside, you’ll learn what you’re made of – and you’ll see first-hand how far teamwork can take you. Join us for an unforgettable challenge and discover a whole new way to get outside.
Build skills, form connections: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Find connections with your crewmates based on support and respect (and fun too!), and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Uncover your unique character strengths, develop your leadership abilities and learn how to let compassion in to everyday life by pushing your own limits and working alongside your peers.
Demonstrate mastery: As you gain confidence in new skills, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as individuals and as a group.
What you’ll learn: Your connections matter – working together to navigate challenges will quickly turn your crewmates into friends. Together, you’ll find opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences. It’s all about confidence, communication, and independence.
After you come home, many of the character, leadership and service traits you uncovered on your expedition stay with you, helping you navigate your daily life with more resilience and success.
Traditional 30-foot sailboats encourage teamwork and leadership like no other classroom. On an open boat with no cabin and no engine, the group will live closely together using only wind and oars to power their way. As they rotate responsibilities during the expedition, students learn the crafts of maneuvering under sail, coastal navigation, rowing, and living aboard a small open boat. At night, students sleep on deck under a tarp, taking turns at anchor watch under brilliant night skies.
On this course, students:
Adjust sails properly for sailing at different angles to the wind, and to execute sailing maneuvers like tacking and gybing, which turn the boat through the wind.
Navigate using a chart and compass to arrive accurately at the day’s destination, using techniques that include taking bearings, dead reckoning, triangulation, and sounding.
Move the boat under oars, coordinating all the rowers' movements so that the oars splash as one, precisely maneuvering in and out of secluded anchorages.
Live (cook, eat, sleep, work, and learn) as a team aboard a small open sailboat, contributing energy and ideas, sharing tasks and responsibilities and relying on each other.
This course ends with a Personal Challenge Event, an individual final physical push in the form of an endurance swim. This event is a chance for students to finish their Outward Bound experience with a culminating effort towards a personal goal.
Service projects are often incorporated into Outward Bound courses through coordination with local land managers, conservation groups, government or social service agencies. While on an expedition, students are encouraged to practice service to their team and the environment by sharing responsibilities and following Recreate Responsibly ethics throughout the course.
The Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. With sufficient food and equipment, students will set up campsites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first parts of course. The time students spend on Solo depends on the length of the course. Often located along beautiful shorelines or peaceful rivers, campsites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (yet be within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Most students spend their solo time journaling, drawing or just thinking and resting as they process lessons of the course to focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at least daily.
Students return from their Outward Bound journey ready to fully participate and positively engage at home, in school, at work, on teams, and in their communities. Age-based curriculum and course length help adapt the Outward Bound program to meet the needs of each developmental stage. Our Instructors work with each group to make sure that the balance of challenge and success matches the group's level of ability as much as they can, and they expect the students to work with them to do so. Some courses for high school students have the same activities in two- and three-week versions. Longer courses provide deeper levels of immersion and engagement. While every course provides significant learning opportunities and high-impact outcomes, we encourage students to select the longest course that fits their schedule, because the successes, rewards, learnings and memories will be greatest.
The Florida Keys, home to numerous birds and abundant marine life, is rich with the confluence of water flowing out of the Everglades into inner Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The waterways are shallow and intricate, providing an exciting cruising area for Outward Bound’s nimble shallow-draft sailboats. Winding channels through the backcountry offer challenging and exciting navigation and the opportunity to explore mangrove keys, grassy tidal flats and coral patch reefs. The Atlantic side offers open water sailing and, in calm weather, excellent snorkeling at the outer reefs. We plan our course routes based on course type, local conditions and logistics, and weather patterns. Whether you are on the Atlantic or Gulf side, you will have lots of opportunities to learn the skills it takes to sail and travel in our traditional sailboats, live in community with your teammates, be challenged and reap the rewards. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Seminole, Matecumbe, Cuchiyaga and Guarungumbe nations.
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If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.
To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee.