Cadet training vessels

Reading the thread about SUNY’s cruise made me think, is it better for the cadets to have a new ship or an old ship.

New ship:

  • latest technology
  • greater assurance of completing entire cruise, and thus a more rounded training
  • greater safety for the “young gentlemen and ladies”
  • less stuff breaks for the cadets to fix (how many times can we paint the same bulkhead)
  • cadets may not be prepared for the reality of older ships when they get out of school (I wasn’t trust me…)

Old ship:
just the opposite of the above (rather than repeat myself)

So what does every think?

Have a look at this article:

Go Sail A Rustbucket

I don’t have a lot of marine experience, but as someone who is getting ready to be taught the ropes on the Kings Pointer and the Liberator my thought on the matter is that new ships will eventually be old ships and old ships will never be new ships.

My reasoning is sooner or later you are going to have to deal with the problems that come from old age, it seems it would be better to learn how to take those problems in stride.

Edit: Just remembered that new ships come with their own particular set of issues too.

I was hoping for more interest before I posted my personal thoughts…

C_A, I have read that article, and I agree with it.

While cadets need the skills to use new tech, that can be taught in the class room or nav lab/simulator on land. Hands on time, they need to see as much of the random stuff that happens. I had the fortune of being the first 4/c class to make use of the new State of Maine. While a relatively new ship, it had been laid up for a few years, the extensively overhauled for its new mission, which meant we got to experience both worlds in one ship.

Within my first 2 years of sailing, I had sailed on a ship that had still been on the ways when I was on my cadet shipping assignment and a ship that was 5 years older than I am!

Auxcomms, KP is unique in that its cadet’s spend so much more time out in the industry as compared to state academy cadets. If memory serves, its at least 4 different ships, where as the state academy cadet has one opportunity on one working ship.

For better or worse, there are now so many in the Regiment at SUNY that they are now encouraging 2/c to cadet commercial. Thus their 1st cruise would be on the Empire State, 2nd commercial and 3rd back on TSES in a position with some authority. Better experience all around. Not the same as KP, but supervised first time out, then “real” experience, finally, put it in practice. I think there is room for both versions.

But, when’s the last steam propulsion you sailed, era 1962? Agreed the most modern isn’t practical, but 47 years old?

In my current work, I have had occasion to visit all the academy ships within the last 3 years. there are one or two that are pretty good, but there are more that are in very poor condition, and there seems to be a terminal case of " not my problem" with them.

Having said that, the likelihood of any academy ever getting a “new” ship is remote. Most are cast off USN or MARAD vessels.

For a deck guy, learning to drive a ship that has the handling of a drunk walrus is a good thing. Navigation w/o all the latest gee-whiz electronics is better than creating a built-in reliance on things that will only break at the worst possible time.

For us engineers, older, IMO, is better. You actually get to fix stuff. A motor is a motor, steering gear is gear, pumps are pumps. If you get on with a company that has the ability to fix their own gear, you’re way ahead. Even if you get on with an oil patch group, that farms everything out, you’ll at least be able to talk intelligently to the Port Engineer. There’s nothing like bringing steam to the box to find out who the hackers and slackers are.

For better or for worse when the TSGB gets back they’ll start construction on a second training bridge. It will have all the equipment found on the mian bridge so that when we’re in pilotage more cadets will get more experience with the pilotage navigation. In addition all the windows will have plasma screens that can flip down and turn the bridge into a simulator. I know, a bridge sim on a ship, weird huh? But as of right now deck students on the TSGB only get 15 days of watch rotations so hopefully that will help give people more exp.

[QUOTE=Retired Rat;14709]For a deck guy, learning to drive a ship that has the handling of a drunk walrus is a good thing. Navigation w/o all the latest gee-whiz electronics is better than creating a built-in reliance on things that will only break at the worst possible time.[/QUOTE]

Rat, that drunken walrus line is great! While students should know how to use all the gizmos, your right, using them too much in training will build reliance.

As for handling like a drunken walrus, I can attest that at least one academy ship handles way to well be put in that category, and I’m hoping our left coast decky friend can, after his second freshman cruise, let me know if the sister ship is just as good.

Weski, I can only really comment on the school I went to, but cruise/cadet/cruise is the standard at Maine.

i have just finish my phase1 in navigational studies and i need a vessel to get my training on. How can i get a vessel to start my training?

[I][quote=ace;16541]i have just finish my phase1 in navigational studies and i need a vessel to get my training on. How can i get a vessel to start my training?[/quote][/I]

Yor reference to “phase 1…” suggests you aren’t working towards a U.S. credential. If so, I suggest contacting the port stae authority for the country that will be issuing your license.

In the U.S., there are two ways to qualify for STCW ccertification as Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch - either complete a U.S. Coast Guard approved comprehensive program, or what is known as the “hawse-pipe” by taking indivdual training courses at the same time you are working as a rating. Int he approved program option, which includes all of the maritime academies, the school or program provider arrfanges for the sea service, the mariner cannot do it themselves. In the hawse-pipe option, the candidate arranges for their own employment as an unlicensed rating.

Choose the school based on their relationships with Industry and the time they allow the students to work on Industry Vessels vs School Ships (new or old).

One month on a real vessel, being mentored by Mariners with licenses and/or endorsements that you are striving for, is worth six months aboard a ‘Cadet Training Vessel’.

Although the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is somewhat ancient in their educational systems, their students spend all of their time on ‘industry’ vessels and the graduates from the Academy are some of the best due solely to that.

Another industry sponsored program that does not use ‘cadet training vessels’, is the Workboat Academy.

After seeing the training programs at both SUNY and Kings Point, I have to say that both have their flaws. I’ve been an officer on both training ships, and have seen two distinctly different groups of kids. But, I’ve seen kids from KP look at me with blank stares when I ask what the signal for Fire and Emergency is, and I’ve seen kids from SUNY ignore me when I yell Man Overboard on the bridge.

I do agree that not all training time should be on a training vessel, but I do NOT agree that all training time should be on commercial vessels. There are things that you learn on a training ship that you probablyh will not learn on a commercial ship. You can make mistakes on a training ship and not get your head taken off.

I had a plebe from Kings Point on the wheel for her first time, and she really wasn’t doing so well (like 20 degrees off course). I said something to her, and then watched her. She actually looked at me and said “Oh, so when I turn the wheel to the left, the numbers get smaller!” and smiled cutely. Now, it’s a training ship, and I have no problem teaching and hearing comments like this, but if she was on a commercial ship with the wrong Chief Mate, that probably would have ruined the rest of her trip.

I think the ideal system would be to do at least a trip on a training ship and learn the basics around people who are willing to teach you and understand some of the stupid things that kids new to shipping say. Once you’ve learned the basics, unleash them on the commercial world where the can get more time on the bridge than they could on a training ship.

From an engineering stand point I think sailing on something that is a bit older is a benefit in the long run. The Golden Bear at Cal Maritime is probably one of the newest training ships in the fleet. I think with the level of automation seen in today’s engine rooms the newer technology on the Bear is a definite plus on the teaching side. Eventually most graduates will come across the higher technology throughout their careers.

That being said I went from the Golden Bear which is pretty highly automated to an almost 30 year old ITB where the main engine controls were all air logic operated and electronics did nothing but monitor. Some of the alarms are rudimentary such as the lube oil purifier malfunctioning. The alarm panel didn’t tell you why it would malfunction like a modern system would. Instead you had to think and figure out exactly what was wrong with it. After two trips on board the ITB Baltimore, I have learned quite a bit because it is an older vessel and the equipment is aging and needs more maintenance.