I’ve read few posts so far on this matter but they are dated. Since I will be attending an Academy in the next couple weeks, I decided that perhaps I should start this post to fill in any doubts or questions for those who are leaving or thinking about leaving Active Duty to go to a Merchant Marine Academy. A lot of things change in a matter of days never mind years so be respectful on replies or opinions because I would like this post to remain so I can update as I go. Again, this is just my experience. Nothing more nothing less.
Since you’re here I will assume that you love the sea and want to further yourself into the Maritime Industry beyond Military service. This is something I admire and respect and wish you the best on your endeavor and I thank anybody who takes the time on this post.
- Yes, as a Veteran you will still have to attend “Orientation” for two weeks which will require memorization of items, push ups, sit ups, running, and getting yelled at. For some this is a big deal since you “did your time” and some may have even been DI, DS, or CC. I was told by a staff in the regiment that “due to my military training I will not be required to go through orientation 24/7 and will not have to stay in the dorms for two weeks but I will be required to attend 2 weeks to fulfill STCW’s”. Quite the contradiction that I still have not received clarity on. I will elaborate more once I graduate about what else is to be expected.
- Your JST, PDR, Marks, TA, STCW’s and Sea time will not be credited. This is something that is an issue especially for Coasties because the Branch that signs off on your licenses at the Academy is the branch that you did your time in. In essence, they’re not crediting your training they gave you.
- Accreditation (again), if you are going to the Academy as a licensed major (Transportation or Engineering) you will be required to go on 4 sea terms to fulfill sea time for your license. It does not matter if you have enough sea time to be a Cutterman or a Gold Ancient Mariner. This does hamper some because President Trump signed Executive Order Military to Mariner which is supposed to make it easier for Veterans pursuing the Merchant Mariner due to their training and time. It seems that this only applies to those who are going though the Hawsepipe.
- MHA is exactly what rent is around the area so do not expect to be getting your pockets full.
- GI Bill will only cover so much. If you are not health insured, plan to be to attend the Academy. Expect your first bill to be almost double than what your GI bill covers.
- Regimental Commuter is something you can apply for and have to apply every semester which allows students to live off campus and not be in a regiment 24/7. I will follow up after I experience it.
- Veteran services. Not really much of one. It seems like the School just makes things up as they go in this dept. I was told different things by different people regarding credits, training , outreach. I would like there to be a policy or an outreach for vets attending or wanting to attend the school to see what proper steps they have to take to be better accommodated.
- I chose to attend this Academy due to its close proximity to my HOR and with the best intention that it generates the best opportunities to get into the Maritime Industry with an open door. Also, the Return on Investment is incredibly high after first couple years. I believe that going this route sets you up better once you graduate knowing that you will have minimum debt, tremendous experience, and a better understanding of the Industry. Could be wrong though,
I am sure more will come to me and I will update as I go. If you have any questions I will try my best to answer them.