King's Point Maritime Academy - Cadet Shiphanding Training

What is the shiphandling training at the Academy? How many hours are spent in what environment?

An old,debating,continuing subject on this site. They have a 4 year course. 1 of those years is sea duty. They do a heavy classroom course load in 3 years, as opposed to a usual 4 year college .Not including the sea project,which they can’t take for granted they will pass, They get real life bridge and engine room hands on. A training ship is ok, but USMMA approach has worked quite well going commercial and MSC… It ain’t 200 to 400 guys on 1 training ship, It’s 2 to six. per ship, Get them on the real shit, and a chance to really learn something getting their hands dirty, which very few of the other schools do. I was never big on “simulators” which are much better now, but being they are on a real bridge or engine room for a year works for me.


Sailing on commercial ships is a part of every other maritime academy curriculum. The advantage is that when a state academy cadet shows up on his first commercial ship he’s already done it before. The also perform maintenance on the training ships during the school year as part of the curriculum. Piston pulls, generator overhauls, motor rebuilding, etc. You sure seem to enjoy pissing on the other academies without really knowing what they even do.


Lois75. for how long do they do that during their curriculum? It ain’t a year sir. Please correct me if I am wrong. Your are incorrect, I know the different schools quite well. Never "enjoyed " pissing on the other schools, no more than KP gets pissed on. It’s a tough journey, no matter where you go. Tell me one school (other than KP) that does one total year at sea on commercial or MSC Vessels, (not a ship that sits at the dock). Glad you learned something while your “Training ship” was under way among the many shipmates who sought a bit of time at the wheel or in the engine room… Kinda hard wasn’t it? I am impressed you made it to chief, no easy task. Always had sweet spot for my good engineers, no matter where they came from.

And yet when there’s absolutely no need to do it, you do:

What I do find interesting is how you completely talk around the OP’s questions without actually answering them. What shiphandling training do they do at KP? Behind the wheel? Simulator? Instead, in true KP KoolAid fashion you launch into a spiel about how KP is different, sea year, rah.

Not really. That’s literally what the ship was there for. My experience was that if you needed practice at something or wanted to observe something all you had to do was ask. It was a hell of a lot easier to see things on the training ship with zero schedule or commercial concerns. We were taking classes while underway and we frequently went back and forth between the classroom and the machinery that we were learning about. We had headset radios that would let the instructor explain things in detail while in the space.

As far as sea year being superior one thing that I rarely see addressed is how KP ensures that sea year is actually quality time and not just quantity. I think that cadet shipping is good, but I also think that there’s a lot to be said about using cadet shipping as an addition to a structured learning environment. The way that I see it, it takes KP cadets a year to do the same amount of work (sea project & sign offs) as the state schools do in six months or less. My question is why?


How can you do shiphandling sitting at the dock? I answered the OP’s question, they go to sea. They have a sea project with strict guidelines. If you think they are on a pleasure cruise, you are badly mistaken. There have been more than a few that are “set back” or worse, let go my not completing the project in a satisfactory manner… Simulators and good training are at all the schools, as advanced as they are now, doesn’t replace actual real time situations being aboard. I have no ill will towards any of the maritime academies as you say, it is not easy for any mariner who chooses that path, in fact I encourage it. As far as engineers, they have the the same conditions and projects. They have similar opportunities (while in class) to go to the machinery set up at the school and experience working with it before they go to sea for that year of additional training. Nothing beats real time underway, it does expose them to commercial pressure and time constraints. Hawespiping is much harder and takes longer nowadays to get ahead than going the the academy route, no matter which one you go to, and bonus points, you have a degree of some sort to use later on perhaps. Anyone who can do a 4 year course load in 3 years has my respect. Is it a bit hard? Yes it is.

Yup. I found that my cadet shipping was extremely helpful for when I signed on my first ship out of the Hall. Alas, I had no experience pulling pistons during my Sea Year, because all six vessels were steamships. We did (and it may still be there) have a mock up of a single cylinder slow speed diesel at KP where we did, in fact, pull a piston. I find that helpful when, during my sailing years, we pulled pistons on slow speed diesels. I am not sure that any of the state academy school ships are so equipped. I am not pissing on any other academies, either. They all of their benefits and draw backs. I think that, for the first few months out of school, a KP grad has a bit of an edge on a state school grad, but that edge fades over time. Oh, and six to a ship as a cadet? I guess that has to be with the current state of the US Flag fleet. In my day, there were a couple of ships where I was the only cadet. MSC was also a rare thing. I would imagine that a chance to sail on as many different ships during sea year is also a thing of the past.

I agree with Louisd, When the topic of KP comes up all you ever do is extol its vitues. If it’s mariners were so highly regarded, it sure would be nice if a few of them shipped out on their license, instead of going active duty, like far too many do. Thats a discussion for another thread though. Lets look at your comments.

Cadets at State Academies have a sea projects as well. Doing system tracings, or doing x number of celestial fixes over the course of a few months is good, but guided instruction with people who’s job it is to teach this material is better.

This one’s just nonsense. I don’t know where you get this idea, its even very counter to stereotypes that people generally hold about KP vs many of the SMAs.

I agree with most of the rest of what you say regarding schools, but for some reason you frame it as if its found exclusively at KP. The reality is this is what most SMAs provide, albeit with subsidized tuition, instead of the almost full ride that KP provides at exorbitant cost to the taxpayer. This funding should instead be disbursed to SMAs to further fund tuition costs, and KP should be transformed into a Federal school for continuing education for Marine Officers.
EDIT: By “Marine Officers”, I mean “Maritime Officers”


No one has answered the ship handling question yet

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You don’t learn any real ship handling at any school. Let’s be honest.


Uhmmmm excuse me? I spent an entire semester practicing for my rowing assessment, and according to the instructor we were “making a lot of great ship handlers out here” so please speak for yourself

This is my sarcasm font. Don’t have an aneurism, SeaEagle.


I mean, I ran the RHIB that the sailing team had into the dock a few times and learned a few things. Didn’t translate in the slightest to anything bigger though.

Then there was that day of Indoc when we learned to row a Monomoy. Very informative.

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So, you and Lois are perturbed that you didn’t get the “free ride” . Did you apply and get turned down? I have an opinion about the different schools and it is positive.They are much easier to get into. No congressional interview or nomination. That you are nominated does not insure acceptance. I like the idea of sea year, perhaps, you don’t. The guy that got his hands dirty instead of calling in a vendor/contractor always impressed me. Sometimes they did need help, and I backed them 2000%. Incidently, Somehow, I have never sailed with a KP or Suny engineer, My Maine , Mass Maritime and Hawespiper guys were awesome. The other captains in the fleet spoke well of KP and other school engineers that stuck it out. As Cmakin so eloquently said, KP guys have an edge starting out, but it evens out once the true engineers show their stuff.

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Just gotta pay $150k for the honor.


Yea, boat handling and ship handling are very different. Experience in one doesn’t really translate to the other much at all. Truth is, most deck officers don’t really need to know much about ship handling beyond the basics. Esspecialy as a green Third Mate. Anything beyond the theory you pick up after a hitch or two. I don’t know about KP, but at SUNY our instructors did go over ship handling theory, through anecdotes and lessons based on their extensive experience. Additionally we each gathered a few hours of time as helmsman and as the Cadet Watch Officer, including doing maneuvers such as MOB, and piloting in channels, during our Summer Sea Terms. I had the unfortunate(or fortunate) experience of standing helm for almost 6 Hours, as the first class helmsman, entering the Port of Reijka because on arrival they don’t usually relieve the helm to underclassman, and also don’t turn over the watch.

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Yes, I’m a Domer as well. And the few hours doing MOB drills or standing next to the pilot while transiting a port doesn’t really translate into any real ship handling.

I know I’ve been on the bridge during a transit and thought “oh, I would go left 10 right now” and the pilot says “right 20.” Welp, shows what I know.


I think the gripe the other posters have with what you posted is that you didn’t answer the answer the question the OP asked, and just spouted your usual chant about KP being God’s gift to earth and the the SMA’s don’t stack up.

Providing the entire curriculum of what the school does is not answering the question “what is the ship handling training at the academy?”

For instance, at certain SMA’s there are actual courses called “Ship Handling” because even if you do a Sea Year (the greatest honor any Cadet can receive) youre not doing any ship handling, and anyone who says they are is lying. You think the master is handing over the Conn during pilotage? You think a mate is ever giving the conn to the cadet? You stand open water watches, you stand by the pilot ladder, you help the mates tie up. You’re not doing any of the ship handling. Your observing and providing assistance when required, just like the AB/OS on the helm.

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Not at all, NYM was my first choice. You know they offer full ride scholarships too? I’ve met great people from almost all the schools. The two KP grads that I’ve worked with were opposites of each other. The Mate I worked with was down to get her hands dirty and fully enjoyed being a mariner. She was pretty bad ass, knew her stuff, not afraid of hard work, and always tried to set a good example to the people she was working with. The kind of person I’d be happy to hire, work with, or work for again. The KP Engineer, I worked with took a shoreside job in the marine industry, didn’t have the slightest interest in sailing on his license, may have been smart, but couldn’t tell because he was mediocre in work performance, ended up leaving so he could commission in the Navy.

I assume you are aware they are training 3rd Mates. What shiphandling skills do you expect a 3rd Mate to have?

Before they qualify for STCW endorsements as Chief Mate, they will have taken an Advanced Shiphandling course.


Because all he has ever done is tugboating, he hasn’t sailed deep sea and knows squat about cadets sailing on ships. He just wants to be one of the “me too” posters. That is fine if he sticks to tugboats and keeps out of the deep sea manning and training conversations.