Capt. Rick Smith Leaves SUNY Maritime

As of 20 minutes ago, Captain Rick Smith is no longer working at SUNY Maritime. What are some thoughts and opinions on this and what is going to be different from here on?

Hopefully they are sensible and hire a good replacement as Master.

I’m not a big fan of this Admiral, so we’ll just see what they do and decide on going forward.

1 Like

They lost an excellent Captain and instructor that is passionate about sailing and loves his alma mater. It’s going to be near impossible to find someone willing to dedicate their life to the vessel, and to the institution, in the way he did. He had many more supporters than detractors, dispite what some posters to this forum would lead you to believe. I’m curious to see what direction the school goes. I commend the Admiral for his fundraising, but I don’t agree with him on fundamental issues related to the school, including his disdain for the regiment that is so fundamental to the license program.

I have yet to meet a piece of machinery that knows or cares how well an engineer can march or play soldier.

Let the wannabe admirals and generals go to a recruiting office and join up if that is what they want. Using maritime academies as a backdoor to the army or navy is a waste of taxpayer money and detracts from the purported purpose of a maritime school.

1 Like

I have yet to meet a piece of machinery that knows or cares how well an engineer can march or play soldier.

When I got into Maritime I did not have any self discipline, really. The regiment didn’t serve as a pretend military game, as some say… it taught me to take care of myself and my belongings, keep a squared away living and work space and to strap on my boots and get on deck/watch/formation regardless of how hot, cold, wet or humid the conditions were or how miserable I was.

I can see your point, but I likely wouldn’t have gone to the school if it didn’t have a regiment. As much of a pain in the ass as it could be it was a major selling point for me.


Not my point at all. I agree the pretend soldier aspect is a little ridiculous, but it does help discourage students not serious about sailing. The difference in attitudes of the regiment and non-regiment (what SUNY calls civilian) student population is pretty stark. You can say I’m wrong all you want, but I attended the school in this environment. There is a big difference to the people attending class in uniform and those in sweatpants and flip-flops sleeping in the back of the room. I’d like to think everyone can be an adult and take school seriously but it simply isn’t the case. There is also still a requirement of MARAD for the institution to be some element of regiment for the program (46 CFR 310.10). There has to be some sort of sacrifice on the part of the students, and this is part of it, like it or not.


Perfect response backed up by the fact that a large percentage of great engineers (and a few ship drivers) never donned a uniform and marched around getting yelled at.

Replace "deck/watch/formation " with the word “with life” and consider the idea that your parents should have helped teach you that, not the taxpayer.

I paid for my education, not the taxpayers.

My parents (since you’re willing to bring their child raising abilities into this discussion) did do that well enough… but a teenager is still a teenager and not all of us at the time were perfect shining examples of discipline and organization. I liked to go to parties, did homework at the last minute and stayed out late like any other kid and enjoyed my youth. The regiment did some fine tuning and instilled in me some habits that helped me out. I began to think and act more professionally, took my work and work quality seriously and felt like I was a part of a long tradition wearing that uniform. Anyone saying the cadets play dress up to me is disrespecting everyone who has ever worn it and their decision to do so.

The reg heads and officers who went out of their way to try and make it like Parris Island… that’s a completely different story…


I think your anger for taxpayer funded education would be better directed at KP if you want to go that route. At $120,000+ for 4 years, Schuyler is far from free. My student loan payments remind me of that every month.
This thread is relevant to SUNY alumni or current students, but I can’t really think of a reason why anyone else would care. I’m thankful for the opportunities my education afforded me, as I’m sure @ShooterMcGavin and most any other alumnus. If you chose to go the hawespipe route, good for you. That was your decision and I’m glad it worked out for you. It’s true many of us didn’t enjoy the school while we are there, but that’s part of the experience. It is strange to see people comment negatively on a school that they have never attended themselves, relying on third hand anedoctal evidence and imagined experiences gleamed from god knows where. I didn’t attend KP, Mass, Maine, Cal, GLMA,Texas, PMI, Piney Point or anywhere else other than Schuyler. I don’t know what it’s like at those places, or what it is like to be a hawespiper, and I don’t pretend to.


My comment had nothing whatsoever to do with Schuyler, it applies to all schools that receive taxpayer funding and/or government support. It had even less to do with hawespipers.

It was everything to do with the idea that teaching personal hygiene and work habits via pseudo military theatrics is justification for “the regiment” or a MARAD stipulation for its existence in order to receive academic welfare payments in kind or cash.

I went though boot camp, a couple things, for one you stop thinking in terms of an individual and more in terms of a part of an organization. Doesn’t matter how you want to make your bed, walk somewhere or pack your bag, you do it the way the organization instructs .

Second thing is being tuned into commands, when marching you have to focus on a single voice. Same way a team launches a boat from a ship or helm commands are given/received.

The book “Heart of Oak” has a good explanation


Good points.

All the talk of parades and marching/getting yelled at baffle me as well. After indoctrination I marched ZERO times. As for getting yelled at… it happens even at sea when you fuck up or piss someone off, so getting an attitude/performance adjustment is something that can happen anywhere.

1 Like

Perhaps your comment belongs in another thread then.

For example making a turn when the mate has the conn, I tell the mate he needs to use more rudder. I expect the mate to respond with a helm command to the AB. Sometimes instead the AB will turn to me and ask “how much”.

That shouldn’t happen, basic stuff.