Academy licensee track or not?

I’ve completed a community college associates degree in electrical engineering technology, and after a gap year would like to transfer to a Navel Architecture program.
There are a few academy programs that offer the option of a USCG license, deck or engineering, limited or unlimited. I’m a state resident within commuting distance, so SUNY is an obvious choice; but there are others.
Academy tuition and fees are much more than some non academy alternatives.
Every license program is at least a year longer than a none license program would be.
Neither Webb nor the military is an option, I’m too old.
My mentor in the field is an USMMA graduate who is recommending that I spend the extra 2 years and get both deck and engineering unlimited licenses and suggesting I take additional community college courses like CADD, Calc 3, and etc. during the gap year. and then go to sea for at least 2 years while working on a masters and obtain at least limited Masters and Chief licenses before looking for a long-term shore based job.
Right now I have a job and a family, and I would be financing this largely with student loans and whatever p/t work I can get.
I would greatly appreciate any insights from anyone who has been down this path.

I’ve known a few grads from the SUNY NavArch program. Out of all the programs offered at the school, anecdotally this is one of the most rigorous. It would help to take calc 3 at community college so you can at least get that one off the list. Make sure you know what all transfers. Also figure out what your goal is. Do you want to work at a NavArch firm? Do you want to sail? Do you want to get a PE license. For the USCG licenses It would make most sense to pursue an engine license, but really either is fine. If you can pull off both and have the time and money to do so, go ahead. Would the other engineering degrees serve your goals equally well? The electrical, mechanical, marine engineering programs are all good. As a non-traditional student(meaning you’re not an 18year old kid straight out of HS) you have to really figure out how much time, money, energy, etc, you can devote to your academics.

That’s pretty impossible to do. Unless you want twice the amount of seatime. Nobody has graduated with dual licenses in many years.

And then work for two years to get limited Masters and Chiefs licenses?

I think you need a new mentor.


If you value your family, you should consider not sailing at all. A mariner’s life is rough on families and the industry is riddled with guys who talk about their ex-wives and kids they don’t see often enough. There are lots of lucrative and rewarding ways you can work on boats and ships and still be home every night.

I’m not trying to put a damper on your ideas, but when you have been gone for 4 out of the last 6 months and it’s time to.head back to sea again, your family might wonder what your priorities are, even if you really are doing it all for them.

Don’t do it man, most academy grads end up only sailing for 5 years or so and end up giving it up. Not worth it unless it’s truly in your blood and you want to make a living at sea. Don’t do it just because it pays decent. You’ll end up doing what they all do and leaving in a few years for a land job.

How can you achieve a limited masters license with 2yrs of seatime? I haven’t looked that closely but you don’t see 3M going to masters that quickly to the best of my knowledge. I’d focus on being a naval architect, if that’s what you want to be and forget sailing. Why study and earn your degree just to put you two years behind in the field? Looking around at the bios of people on various firms’ websites and I don’t see a lot of architects with big licenses. While I’m sure there can be some benefits to having a license, the design of a vessel and operation are two different things. SUNY makes sense because of commuting but have you looked at Michigan, New Orleans etc? Maybe you can transfer in? Your plan right now sounds like you would have not enough hours in the day.

Any chance something got lost in translation? Aside from lacking viability the idea seems to lack logic and a clear point.

I suspect either the poster missed something or we are missing something.

I hope so. Because if not that’s some really terrible advice.

1 Like

That’s for a mate’s license?

Maybe you could try reading it…?

1 Like

That’s what it looks like to me. OP was talking about c/m or limited master which the latter he could conceivably get in two years. Poster has a lot of stated goals in addition to a family and life. But my reading comprehension could be lacking….

I agree with this response. Not sure your mentor guided you well on that front. On the program at SUNY. I think the folks I know were solid vessel designers. My understanding is it is very CAD centric for a number of core courses ( which makes all the sense in the world).

I think you need to make sure you gap year course selection really helps. CAD skills seem very transferable. Not sure which school you’re in now. I had some friends who tried to knock out a lot of core requisites only to find out not all calc 3 and differential equation courses are the same. Knocking out a lot of Humanities and other degree requirements is a good strategy to save money. If you pick poorly it can leave you with some deficits that only become apparent as you start to apply the theory in upper level courses. Be careful and absolutely check with whatever school you pick. I knew a SUNY guy who transferred in 24 credits from HS only to have to take their full degree requirements anyway. He just took a lot of upper level electives. Not saying that will happen in your case. Just do your diligence.

Good luck.

Maybe I should have read it. Highest Master you can get with 2 years is Master 200, and that requires one year as Mate.

1 Like

Academy grad 3M, upgrade to 2M and crossover to Master 1,600. But doing that and getting a Chief Limited in any reasonable amount of time is a ridiculous concept.

After 6 cruises to get all the seatime needed for dual licenses…

Yeah, that too.

This is possibly the worst part of the advice. Why would you go to sea to obtain a shore based job? most employers think, “Oh you never worked in a shore based job…” and you will start off entry level anyway. Not uncommon for captains for companies that manage vessels to land a shore based role at their company, but often its a entry level type role.

Looking at the arrogent and derisive commentary to an admittedly unrealistic 2 yr objective which is optimistically attainable in a minimum of 4 yrs not two is to understand the pathetic nature our maritime nation which does not know it is a maritime nation; and the dismissive attitude it has toward seagoing experience. Seagoing heritage, and shipboard hard knocks and common sense is not valued and is urinated on in steady streams of advice to “never go to sea you fool” commentary. Yes sitting in a cubicle at a NavArch firm running a CAD program gives one all the maritime experience one requires doesn’t it? Just as sitting in the USCG HQ cubicle farm gives the 70 or so reg writers in that puzzle palace, as I as a blue suiter witnessed, the wherewithal and depth of reason to regulate our industry out of business, but I digress. Just ask the annointed USCG and NTSB investigators trying to gently and political korrectly dissect the rubiks cube puzzle of the Dalia allision. Just sit home and let AI run the ships and the planet. Thank you JDCavo for your attempts to shine some light on the actual regs and statutes behind them. Still at HQ, you are one of the ones with common sense that I recognized when I augmented NMC at Ballston years ago!

1 Like

100 ton captains? I don’t know many unlimited masters who show up at Crowley or Tote and they start as a “crewing specialist” or “operations specialist”

Could you give me an example of an entry level job that an unlimited master is walking into?