Safe Harbor Boys Academy

Christian boarding school for troubled boys in Jacksonville, Florida.

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Safe Harbor offers a unique therapeutic program for at-risk boys, who live aboard vessels and learn seamanship and maritime skills while studying for their high school diploma. The program offers exceptional education for teens who are not thriving in their current school. We achieve a very high success rate with these boys, which means you enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your child is receiving the structure, stability, guidance, discipline, love as well as the academic and vocational training he needs. Contact us for our screening application and program description for troubled teens.

Safe Harbor is a nonprofit organization that is unparalleled in its ability to create men of character, integrity, and vision. Each cadet learns responsibility by working and living on their own boat, gaining success in the maritime environment, learning to captain their own vessel and leading to successes in other areas of life.

The dramatic story of how Safe Harbor Academy began 30 years ago was brought to television in 2009 by the Hallmark Channel movie Safe Harbor, which continues to be aired periodically today. The academy is similar to a therapeutic boarding school, but it uses disciplined maritime and seamanship training as a therapeutic framework for helping turn around at-risk teenage boys. Safe Harbor features a team of professionals who provide a secure, stable, and structured alternative to harsher juvenile programs or more expensive therapy. Boys in minor trouble with the law or who are exhibiting bad behavior or disrespect are taught responsibility, self-respect and respect for others through around the clock mentoring and counseling. The boys are also given spiritual instruction and character-building principles while also continuing or getting caught up on their formal education through our in-house accredited school.



Boy’s scuba certification at Gennie Springs, Fl.




See Safe Harbor (the movie) by Hallmark Channel




CBN News reports on our program.


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Bringing Hope and Healing to Families and At-Risk Youth for More than 25 Years

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Safe Harbor was founded “accidentally” 30 years ago when a judge asked the founders, Robbie and Doug Smith, to care for a troubled boy on their large sailboat, instead of that boy being sent to juvenile hall for the weekend. The judge, a friend of Doug’s, wouldn’t take “No” for an answer, even though the Smith’s were retired and about to embark on an around-the-world trip on their boat. The success of that weekend triggered more pleas by the judge for the Smith’s to help more boys, until the Smith’s needed more help. A nonprofit program was launched and formalized in 1984. Safe Harbor is now an established nonprofit maritime-based boarding school based in Jacksonville, Florida. It utilizes maritime principles, discipline and seamanship as a therapeutic model for helping turn around at-risk teenage boys. Safe Harbor provides a safe, structured, and exciting alternative to therapeutic boarding schools and harsher juvenile programs.



Safe Harbor
News and Info

California Pizza Kitchen Awards $250,000 Grant to Safe Harbor »

Doug and Robbie Smith retire after 30 years at the Safe Harbor helm »

JD Reeder takes the lead as Executive Director at Safe Harbor »



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Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor is a lifeline for troubled boys. The maritime-based boarding school program in Jacksonville, Florida is similar to a therapeutic boarding school, but it uses maritime training as a therapeutic model for helping turn around at-risk teenage boys

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Help enable us to accept more boys into the program. You can be a part of helping children and families through a tax-deductible gift to Safe Harbor.

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Should you need help finding troubled teen ranches, or schools for troubled teens, or military boarding schools, let us know because we can help.

boys home

Therapeutic boys homes and academies for troubled or misbehaving boys offer behavioral therapy and counseling for at-risk teenage boys, including boys with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), drug or substance abuse. At-risk boys tend to have difficulty in school, have conflicted relationships with parents and peers, and have repeated problems with the law and authority figures. Rebelliousness, associations with negative peer groups, and incorrigibility are common behaviors among at-risk juveniles. Unacceptable behaviors include property destruction, theft, burglary, violence, fighting, dropping out of school, truancy, alcohol and drug abuse, bullying, gang associations, anger, and generally antisocial behavior. Therapeutic boys homes like Safe Harbor Home for Boys can be a much more effective option than reform schools, foster care programs, or lockup in the juvenile justice system.

Boys home for troubled boys serving at-risk boys from the southeast and in Florida cities like: Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Hialeah, Tallahassee, Fort Lauderdale, Port St. Lucie, Pembroke Pines, Cape Coral, Hollywood, Gainesville, Miramar, Coral Springs, Clearwater, Miami Gardens and Palm Bay. We help boys in Georgria, in Kentucky, in Tennessee, in Missouri, in Louisiana, and in Texas, and in the Midwest in Michigan, in Ohio, in Indiana and in Illinois. Also, boys are helped from homes in and along the east coast including in Virginia, in North Carolina, in South Carolina, in Pennsylvania, in New Jersey, in Massachusetts and in New York.

Safe Harbor Boys Home is a therapeutic boarding school for troubled boys, using maritime activities as the backdrop for helping teenage boys who are struggling with the law, minor drug use or rebellion. Safe Harbor provides an alternative school and behavioral therapy for troubled boys, teaching maritime trades, responsibility and proper behavior, as well as providing a high school education to at-risk and juvenile delinquent boys.

Christian Therapeutic Boarding School | Safe Harbor Boys Home

Christian therapeutic boarding school and boys home for at-risk boys, seen on the Hallmark movie, Safe Harbor. A maritime-based therapeutic boarding school.