The Culver Summer Naval School was established in 1902 and, still today, the United States Navy recognizes Culver as an "Honor Naval School". In addition to the Culver diploma, graduates of the Naval School also receive completion certificates from the Department of the Navy.
Midshipmen are required to take a double period (90 minutes) of sailing Monday through Friday. Though Midshipmen certainly develop skills in rowing, sailing, seamanship and navigation, they are instilled with the Culver traditions of character and leadership in an atmosphere that nurtures the whole person: Mind, Body, Spirit.
The Naval Companies compete each week for the Naval Banner through a series of races involving sailboats, surf boats, and wherries. The culminating year-end competition is the much anticipated Communications Relay, a race incorporating a wide variety of naval events that includes the traditional sailing and rowing events, but also adds code flags, cryptology, semaphore and other naval skills learned during the summer.
The Naval Band provides the musical backdrop for the entire summer, with cherished traditions that date back to 1904. The Band performs at all Saturday Garrison Parades, Tuesday and Thursday evening Retreat Parades, in addition to an occasional Sunday concert. The highlight for the Band each summer is their Moonlight Serenade, an evening performance from the deck of the R.H. Ledbetter as they circumnavigate beautiful Lake Maxinkuckee.
Naval Bandsmen, like all Midshipmen, must take a double-period of sailing every day – but they are also required to dedicate one class period per day to band practice. As they are proud to say, "Band is Best!"
US SAILING is the governing body for the sport of sailing in the United States and it certifications are recognized internationally. Culver is the first non-profit affiliate member to certify in Small Boat, Keelboat, and Coastal Navigation.
The 65 foot, 25-ton R.H. Ledbetter is the flagship of Culver's fleet of nearly 100 sailboats. The Ledbetter is the largest fully rigged square-rigged vessel on fresh water in the world and is listed in the Tall Ships America registry. Second Classmen may try out for the Ledbetter crew, with the top 21 scores selected. Seven First Classmen from the previous summer's crew are appointed as officers.