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: This course requires that students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend. For questions regarding this policy please see this page or call us at 866-467-7651.
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For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean, click here.
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!
Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist spots will become available. In the event a spot becomes available, those on the waitlist may have an opportunity to secure the available spot. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. Upon completion of your application, a $500 deposit is required to reserve the waitlist spot. If you choose to remove your application from the waitlist, or if a spot does not become available, you will be refunded the $500 deposit. If a spot becomes available and you elect not to take it, Outward Bound will keep $150 of the deposit.
Waitlist spots are prioritized in the order of returned paperwork, not in the order applications are received, so be sure to return the initial paperwork as soon as possible! Please be aware that waitlist spots may become available up to two weeks before the course starts. While cancellations do occur, we cannot guarantee a spot will become available. Applicants may only be listed on one waitlist. If there is another course that still has availability and is also of interest to you, we recommend applying for that course instead. 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.
Do you ever want to unplug, step away from the daily grind to take on new challenges? Are you ready to conquer harder skills and remind your senses (or discover for the first time) what it’s like to crest a mountain peak, hear the echoes at the edge of a vast canyon or feel the rush of white water spray on your face? Take a break from your routine, radically change your surroundings and test your tenacity. Put some “firsts” in front of you and find moments of unexpected discovery along the way. Experience Outward Bound as an adult and prepare for an injection of adventure, awareness and adaptability that sticks with you long after you unpack your backpack.
Build skills, form connections: Meet like-minded peers and make connections as you work through priorities and adventures together, learn outdoor skills at the hands of expert Instructors, and earn every good night’s sleep.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Re-discover your inner strength, renew your natural leadership abilities and practice adapting to new environments. Tap in to your trust and compassion as you tackle obstacles with a support crew standing beside you.
Demonstrate mastery: As you awaken your wilderness skills and dig deep to rise to the physical and mental challenges, the bulk of the expedition’s leadership and decision-making responsibilities transfer from the Instructor to the crew. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both individually and together.
What you’ll learn: By allowing yourself to focus beyond daily responsibilities and obligations, you’ll master more difficult skills and open up new directions and opportunities you never thought possible. You’ll find clarity in the life changes you’re facing, you’ll uncover inspiration in the wilderness and you’ll renew your sense of adventure to take on the next challenge in front of you.
Return home with newly expanded wilderness acumen, an energized outlook, a rekindled allowance of empathy into situations and relationships and an eye toward the future.
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 of 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.
Personal Challenge Event
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 Leave No Trace ethics throughout the course.
The Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition to give students quiet time to reflect on the Outward Bound experience. With the basics of food and equipment, and with safety a top priority, students will take some time away from the group to be alone at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first parts of the course. Often located along beautiful lake shorelines or peaceful rivers, Solo sites 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 learned and focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at regular intervals. The time students spend on Solo depends on the length of the course. On one-week courses, Solo is four to 12 hours long.
Most adults find it hard to get away, with busy lives that are often filled with pressures and expectations. Outward Bound’s one-week adult courses are the perfect opportunity to get a fresh perspective, step out of daily routines, find new challenges, discover new strengths and forge new friendships. No previous experience is necessary—all wilderness skills are taught from the beginning. Only two things are needed: being physically fit and motivated to live, learn and work in a team. The expedition may only last a week, but the strength and impact of the experience lasts a lifetime.
Sailing and seamanship techniques are great practice for the essential skills and habits that help prepare for new challenges at work, home, and in the community. Outward Bound expeditions encourage students:
to remain engaged and present, giving every challenge the best effort, even when the goal seems beyond reach.
to form a team and focus on the team effort. Planning and organizing each day requires attentiveness to individual and group goals, and to details large and small.
to share responsibilities, communicate and lead. In addition to the challenges of moving through remote wilderness areas, living together requires commitment to the support of crewmates and community as a whole. Leadership roles are shared within the group, and responsibilities rotate each day.
to find reserves of tenacity and compassion. Outward Bound courses are designed to expand and stretch your limits so that every expedition is a true accomplishment and a memorable journey.
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 team mates, be challenged and reap the rewards.
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
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.