Working on the Water

Working on the Water

Grades 4 & 6

Program Explanation and Notes (pdf)


Whaleships and fishing vessels played an essential role in New Bedford's economy throughout the nineteenth century. This program provides students with an opportunity to compare and contrast the living conditions and perils endured, as well as the tools used, by those who made their living working on the water.

Learning standards will be met, as students:

  • Actively explore the similarities and differences between a whaleship and fishing vessel
  • Compare and contrast the hardships and living conditions of whalemen and fishermen
  • Recognize the ways in which their lives have been improved by technology and innovation
  • Discuss the importance of the whaling and fishing industries locally and globally


This is a seasonal program and is subject to weather and the availability of the schooner Ernestina.

Last Modified: November 12, 2015