[QUOTE=Bigpuddie;102603]My son is at Massachusetts Maritime now and likes it. He just got back from a winter training cruise. I believe it’s worthwhile going to an academy because looking good on paper will get you in the door of a good company and gaining experience through hard work will keep you there. If he should choose to work ashore one day, he will have a bachelor’s degree from a well known school, which is attractive to any company. I am a hawspiper and clawed my way to the top the hard way. However, I have no education to fall back on if I were to want to come ashore. So my advice. …stay the course and stay in school. A good education is priceless.[/QUOTE]
I am sailing master deep-sea but came up a non-academy route. There are definitely advantages to this route, you get more respect from the unlicensed but there are disadvantages as well. It’s tough to network for example when the hiring is done almost 100% by the school guys. It’s like sailing against a 1/2 kt current your whole career. I think being an academy drop-out would be the worse of both worlds with no respect from either group.
Best to stay in school and get your ticket then go towing or anchor handling and learn some practical deck seamanship. If you go to school and then learn your profession you’ll have the best of both worlds.