Fastest way to 3rd mate license

I need a bit of help here. After two years I was academically dismissed from maine maritime (business major) I worked as a deckhand for two years on private and commercial vessels. I have a big chip on my shoulder am looking to go back to any maritime academy to go the deck route.

  1. what maritime academies will accept my terrible gpa from that school?
  2. is it easy to transfer between maritime academies?
  3. I do plan on going to community college first. I can finish a degree in something else and go to grad school at SUNY. Or just go undergrad at mass maritime if they accept me. Have also looked at MITAGS.
    Need some solid advice and I’m only 22

I did option three… went to a normal 4-year college and then attended SUNY as a graduate student.

By then I had my head and ass wired together.


Sounds doable and yes I’m a lot more matured and humble since being in the industry. Any tips for being a strong candidate when applying to SUNY grad

Did you try to reopen communication with Maine Maritime?

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Eat some humble pie and go have an open and honest chat with the admissions director for any of the academies. A genuine face-to-face can go a long way to counter past history.

Courses from Maine I’d assume would mostly be transferable, but only if you scored a high enough grade. If you had C’s ad D’s, generally you can expect you’ll be taking those again.

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I don’t know much about martime education, but I do know something about admissions and academia. Reapply to the old school (if you want to) and explain to them that you’re not a butthead anymore. Do this with a letter or an essay. There’s a reasonable chance they’ll place you and put you on academic probation.

As academic (college credit) courses, probably. As meeting STCW requirements, maybe not. Assuming you scored high enough in those “STCW courses” and completed all the required lab and practical work, there’s no certainty that you can pick up where you left off at Maine. The academies don’t all follow the same curriculum, and use different courses and other training at different points in the program to meet STCW requirements.

With the exception of some standalone or ancillary training requirements like Tankerman, or STCW Basic Training, the Coast Guard doesn’t approve individual courses at an academy, they approve the entire 4-year program, the academies have discretion to disperse the various requirements where they see fit within their programs. So it’s not at all a given that there is a complete mesh of the programs and you can pick up where you left off at another academy.

As others have said, talk to the academies. See how what you did at Maine aligns with the other academy.

If I can help your confidence a bit, you have been in the trenches for 2 years since leaving Maine. Hands on is a very good teacher, for good or bad. You still want to stick with it and will be much more focused this time around. And are young enough to have a good career. Generally , fellows in your position do rather well given a second chance. Good luck sir, and stay in the books if you land a spot.

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I agree.

Get back in touch with them. There were tons of folks who have been in the same situation as you. I remember all sorts of folks who came back after some time away, usually they were more dialed in than the kids and made short work of the program. I suspect you are looking at 3 years since you probably were non-reg during your time in Castine, but that’s a pretty quick route.

How much documented sea time do you have that could count towards a 3m?

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An important distinction, thanks for adding. I was strictly thinking about academic credits.

That would be time on deck on a vessel over 100 GRT.

I got booted for a year for the same reason. Took some math classes at a community college and they let me back in. That was 27 years ago. I have been sailing every since I graduated (Anchorman) but except for the ups and downs of the industry it’s been good. I can handle the shit out of a boat and fix things. Just never very good with a pencil.

Seriously though screw paying for getting a deck major and license. Either go engine or do something else. Look at it this way, you’re most likely almost starting again and the general eds will still transfer. You’re paying for a degree that will help you generate income. Get one that will give you the best chance of a good income for yourself and the most skills. Great that you’ve been working as a deckhand and getting hands on but school is passing tests. dont base your major on your deckhand job.


Not to be argumentative, but telling a guy who specifically wants to be a Mate and is asking about the the fastest way to 3rd Mate, to just be an engineer, is not great advise.

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He said he was a businesses major at Maine so there shouldn’t be a worry about USCG classes transferring since he probably didn’t take any.

I recommended my son go engineer route while at an academy(I was Wheelhouse) he chose deck. His choice, and worked out ok. Whatever route you choose, hawsepiping is incredibly hard right now, it was hard in my day 40 years ago, but really hard now as you have found out. Hope you find a school that will accept your past work history . I had a certain fondness for Maine Maritime engineers, did not attend there but they for the most part were top notch. If deck is your desire, thats cool too. Just apply yourself this next go around, you will be fine.

Take as many Gen Ed classes at community college as possible and get straight A’s (or really close). If you liked school at Maine just go back there. I expect if you show improved academic drive they’d give you another chance. Ideally, you’d know where you want to go before taking classes as you would want to tailor your community college classes to the graduation requirements of the program you’re going into.

I assumed he was Business with license option. At KP we had Marine Trans or logistics (business) both will give you a 3/M license

Last I knew Maine had no such option. You would have to dual major to get a business degree and a license.

My sons logistics option at KP has served him well. Maine does not offer that? I really like that school.