Maritime Academy questions


Hello all,<br><br>I’m a high school student, and I’ve been looking into maritime academies as I’m interested in becoming a deck officer. I’ve opted to go with a state academy as apposed to the USMMA because of the absense of any ties to military service. Personally, making a commitment to the Merchant Marine lifestyle as well as the Navy Reserves for years to come that early on in life is too great of a decision for college student should be making. So that leaves me with the state academies, which is just about as far as I’ve gotten in my search as I don’t really know of each school’s pros and cons. I was hoping you guys would be able to fill me in on each academy’s quirks and maybe compare and contrast them as well. What makes each stand out as unique?<br><br>As of now, I’m leaning (slightly) towards Mass Maritime, even though I have no real reason to do so other than the fact that I’m from a Boston suburb and the tuition would be slightly lower for me.<br><br>Thanks in advance!


I’m a deck cadet at SUNY–Maritime College, so I can give you the pros and cons there. The biggest pro is that there are some awesome professors at Maritime. Most of the profs I’ve had have been very engaging. They’re interested in what they’re teaching, and they want you to be interested too. That doesn’t mean they won’t be hard on you. They won’t hesitate to fail you if you miss more than one class, and probably won’t give you a make-up if you miss an exam. That being said, do you work and show up to class on time and you’ll be fine.<br><br>The biggest con is probably the disorganization among the staff. Get used to submitting documents more than once. I remember that just about every document in my application packet had to be re-submitted because it was lost, or updated when I got to the school because the information was mis-entered. Things were on the same par for a while, but I eventually learned who to talk and how to go about getting things done. You’ll figure it out, too.<br><br>Getting back to the pros, the campus is awesome, and it’s well located to give you plenty of stuff to do when have liberty. Plus, you get to go to school in a fort, and I think that’s awesome.<br><br>I can’t really say much about the other academies, but I’m sure you’ll get input from plenty others. Keep us updated on your decision process.


Become an astronaut. Less school and more women…


Thanks for your input, Steve. To be honest, I had (for whatever reason) never really looked into SUNY. But it’s interesting me more and more now that I look into it, especially because it’s so close to home. <br><br>Fortunately, I’m in no hurry to make a decision… I’m still a sophomore! My older brother’s interest in this field of study has peaked my interest, though, and I figured I’d look into it sooner rather than later.<br>




Fletcher,<br><br>You seem to have the same mindset I had when looking into Maritime Academies. Kings Point, if you are excepted, is the best deal out there obligatory service time aside, but it’s a different lifestyle with a somewhat different focus at the Federal level. I leaned towards state schools as well and though it’s several years later and I’m still in debt financially, I do not regret it. <br><br>I grew up in Maine so Maine Maritime Academy was a not a hard decision for me. Unlike SUNY or Massachusetts Maritime, Maine Maritime is very isolated, an hour from the nearest town of any size, and 15 miles to the nearest 24 hour gas station. It’s a necessity to have your own car if you want to make it home on the weekends after your first month of restriction without bumming rides or taking the bus. And like every other maritime academy, if you want to graduate with the third mate’s or third assistant’s unlimited licenses than you must participate in the regiment. <br><br>That said the school is phenomenal. I’m sure each maritime academy has great faculty, Maine is no different. The hands on experiential education I received was good enough to make up for the isolation and lack of social stimulus you find in Castine Maine on a February night. <br><br>Every student in a marine licensing program at Maine Maritime will complete one summer in a Co-op (For small vessel majors) or in a cadet shipping function for the unlimited majors. For SUNY, Texas, and California Maritime, which have larger student bodies, the majority of midshipmen sail all three summers on the training ships. At Maine Maritime only Freshmen and Juniors take the training cruise while the sophomores are cadet shipping on merchant vessels. <br><br>This leaves more room on the training ship for Juniors and provides a motivated student with a clear advantage when they get their first job at sea after graduation. I have sailed with many junior officers who never had that opportunity and their learning curve was a lot steeper and sometimes more painful because of it. Seeing the real industry is crucial while you are a student so if you do go to SUNY work hard to be placed on a commercial vessel while a student. That company may give you your first job after graduation. <br><br>Mass Maritime operates essentially the same way as Maine with regards to cadet shipping but their regiment is definitely more strenuous. The regiment serves a very important purpose in this field but I was surprised by some of the limitations put on the students while my younger brother was attending Buzzards Bay. (Unfortunately, he didn’t make it through). Maine was a little bit more laid back and gave you more personal freedom sooner than my brother had during your freshman year. Unfortunately he made the mistake of not visiting either campus before enrolling and found out the hard and expensive way he didn’t like it. <br><br>I recommend looking at the programs each school has. Your major is the most important career decision you’ll ever make so talk to people, look at the courses, and visit the schools. It’s great you’ve found this site to keep learn about the industry. Good luck. <br><br>


Well I figure since all you right coasters are harping up I’ll tell you the pro’s and con’s of California Maritime. Really the thing that sets us apart from the other academies is that we’re definately a lot more casual about all of that Corps (thus the Causal Maritime Academy nickname). As a result we have a lot more fun and usually you don’t have to worry about your buddies ratting you out over minor uniform violations. We’re a very hands on school where you get a lot more personal attention from the professors (get your minds out of the gutter).<br><br>As to Argos’ previous statements that all of the state academies are dry as dry can be I’d like to disagree. Pretty much as long as the RA’s don’t see it you won’t get busted. We’re set up more like a conventional campus where about half of our student population live on campus and half live off. You don’t have to worry about liberty or being restricted to campus, you’re free to come as you go as you like. The only real big con that we have here is that there tends to be a lot of political BS between the up tight corps whores and the average normal student that’s just looking to get through but as long as you keep your head down you won’t have to worry about it. Anyways I guess if you want to have a more normal college expierience then come to Cal Maritime.


Fletcher,<br><br>Mass. Maritime used to run a recruiting program where you could spend a day and night following a freshman around. It gave the prospective students a chance to experience the regiment lifestyle and see if that was something they could handle. Since you live close it will be worth your time to speak to Fuji or whoever is running the recruiting down there these days to set up an overnight visit if they are doing it still.<br><br>Another program to get some insight is the Sea Science & Leadership Conference. <A href="]</A><br><br>Take Argo’s info with a grain of salt as Mass Maritime has their own ship (TS Enterprise) and I’m pretty sure the campus bar ‘The Fantail’ is still in operation as well.<br><br>In the end all of the schools will get you the same credentials. Since you are planning early take any chance to do campus visits and find one that works for you. Your career will depend on what you put into it not the name of the school you attended.


Thanks Captmrb, that’s some great advice. I’ve come to find that out as well, that it’s more about me and less about the school. I’ll look into the programs you’ve mentioned, they seem interesting.


my mistake, how is the mass training ship then?


So I see that no one has posted a Texas Maritime Academy comment. I am attending Texas Maritime currently. TMA is a little different because it is not its own school, well it is and it isnt. It is also a part of Texas A&M university. I do not know if you have heard about that but down south around here Texas A&M is a big deal especially with the aggie connection. So, my point is that your kind of going to two schools in one. Also, if you want to do duel degrees in certain fields you can get the license and a bachelor in science of somthing else if you choose such as Marine Biology, Marine Science, engineering theres 8 duel degrees I believe that you can choose to get if you are interested. But if you just want the license you can just go strait Marine Transportation too. That is what i am doing. Texas is pretty far from you but it is probably the most economic out of the academies. The corps is pretty relaxed here as well its not exactly casual Maritime but its not bad. Youll go through a fairly regimented freshman year, but nothing compared to Kings point of what Ive heard about maine and mass from cadets who have gone their. If you want to sail in the gulf then Texas is a good school to go too. The professors for all our Transportation classes have their masters licenses so they are very knowledgeable. The school is actually located in Galveston Texas which is a fairly small city but you have the beach and such so in the spring its fun to hang out. As for the dry campus issue yes we are but, i dont know about the other academies but once you leave our campus it is easy to drink weather of age or not. Now drinking is a serious thing if you get a DUI or an MIP of course it is still bad but its kind of a favorite past time down here thats not what you should concentrate on but it is the truth. Our ship the The texas clipper we currently can not sail because it needs to go in to dry dock and get repairs so that we sail it as atraining ship but, don’t worry becasue you will still get to do your cruises on time. Right now we are doing our training cruises on the Golden Bear with California Maritime which isnt bad at all. Hopefully by the time that you are ready to go to college well ahve a ship that we can sail but its all up in the air right now. With the selection of east coast schools that you have i can see how it would be very tempting and reasonable to go to one of them but it is also a good idea to look in to all the academies. If you can we have a spend the night with corps and campus preview weekends down here if you want to get more information. you could also go to and find out more about the school that way.<br><br>So Good luck with your search and I hope I could help.


Hi fletcher,<br><br>I’m a recent Kings Point grad and just thought I’d throw down on the subject. The military obligation really shouldn’t dissuade you, all other things being equal. The “default” program is an Individual Ready Reserve Group specifically tailored for the mariner’s life. Graduates in this IRRG are required to do a two-week Annual Training (AT) annually and to submit a compliance report. That’s it! And you also get access to the Navy Knowledge Online database, basically a correspondence course database with a pretty impressive spread. The bottom line is, if you’re going to sail anyway, it’s an incredibly easy way to get two retirements. The same can be said for the Midshipman programs at the state Academies. In exchange for paying for a huge part of your college education, all the Navy wants to do is give you another pension! :stuck_out_tongue: Haha, that’s fluffed up a bit, but it’s true.<br><br>I won’t load you down with propaganda or anything, but if you do reconsider KP, let me know if you have any questions. Best of luck with the college process!


Just a a little side note, Check out Great Lakes Maritime Academy No regiment Awesome training ship 3rd mate AGT First Class Great Lakes Pilot BA in Business All based in a great town.


From an old guy who has sailed with grads from all the academies. First of all, the person is more important then where one goes. Here is what I have observed over the years.
USMMA- Great financial deal, great networking opportunity with alums in the industry. You must like going to school in NY City. I hear there is more BS than other academies. Known for their dual license program and cadet shipping
Mass- Very good engineering school, great campus. a lot of Military BS. Well regarded in the industry.
Maine-Great engineering school, verry isolated way up in Castine and painful in the winter time
NY- Good school, once again you must like going to school in NY City. Not cheap for out of state students
Cal- Nice campus, no military BS, excellant cruises to Asia, S. America and down under. Engineering is the toughest of the two programs.
Texas- not considered up to the level of Mass or Maine but still a good school to get your license.
Great Lakes- most deep sea students pick one of the other academies, great contacts with alums if you desire to sail the lakes.
Ship Mate 1


In response to the Naval Commitment issue. I was a bleeding heart liberal tree hugger when I was in college. I had no idea what I wanted to do at that point in my life other than have fun. Once I graduated (from a non-maritime school) I tried several professions, none of which I liked. Out of frustration I decided to join the Navy. Best move of my life. I had a great time and learned more about seafaring than I ever thought I would. I believe that the Navy or Coast Guard has a lot to offer and you shouldn’t shy away from incurring an obligation, especially at a young age. You will not get the opportunity to receive that kind experience or demonstrate the level of leadership that the military has to offer. The time will go by quicker than you think. If you don’t like it, get out. I promise that as time goes by you will forget the things you didn’t like about it and only remember the things you did like. As an added bonus, military time looks really good on a resume. Companies understand the level of discipline that is required of a military career and they appreciate that.
If you are passing on the idea because it is not “cool”, you are missing out on a great opportunity. My son just got out of the Navy ahd didn’t care for it at all but all the stories he tells say something different to me. And he does acknowledge the fact that he is glad he did it because the experience he gained has set him up with a really good job.

Good Luck


This ain’t scientiffic, just based on observations.
Kings Point…ASSHOLES, stuck-up, better-than-thou attitude. (Secret handshakes and special ties, USMMA embroidered on EVERYTHING). Ring Knockers
Mass. Maritime…Party hardy, laid back.
Cal. Maritime…Good sailors, able to prioritize.
Maine Maritime…Great Engineers


I’ve had dealings with all of them. I’d recommend Maine or USMMA. USMMA because it’s free, Maine 'cuz it’s better than the others.


Mass guys laid back? What are you smoking?? They have the nickname “massholes” for a reason.


Kings Point… think they are better trained then the rest. They are probably right at first but they fall behind 2 years into a job

Mass. Maritime… loafer wearing new England yachtsmen, hit or miss performance wise

Cal. Maritime… All laid back, which works well for some and really doesn’t for others

SUNY Maritime… not the brightest but, by far, the hardest workers and willing to clean bilges.

Maine Maritime… friggin maniacs

Texas A&M… behind the curve, nothing really good or bad to say about them

If I had my choice I’d take a Cal maritime Captain (laid back), SUNY C/M (animals on deck), KP second mate (good with numbers), a SUNY third mate (again good on deck), a A&M riding extra (many are good tankerman and wannabe pilots) and mainiacs in the ER. A Mass guy would do ok as a replacement for anything but captain.


No matter where you go to school the BEST education comes from the University of the North Atlantic (Winter Semester) and the School of Hard Knocks.