- The ship was originally launched in 1961 as a private yacht designed for circumnavigating the globe before being refitted to serve as SEA’s first sailing research vessel (R/V).
- September 1971 – The sailing vessel Westward is purchased by SEA.
- The R/V Westward sailed her first SEA program from January to March 1972. Class W-1, was a 9-week program entirely at sea. Students and crew set sail in early January from San Diego, California, and arrive in San Juan, Puerto Rico in early March after transiting the Panama Canal and making stops in Socorro Island, Mexico and the Galapagos, Ecuador.
- R/V Westward moved its homeport from Boston to Woods Hole, along with the SEA headquarters in 1982.
- The R/V Westward was reclassified in 1986 when the Coast Guard classification for Sailing School Vessel (SSV) is ratified by Congress with strong leadership from the faculty and staff at SEA.
- The SSV Westward is sold to Ocean Classroom Foundation in 2002