Should schools all share Training Ships?

In the wake of the Midshipman X incident there is talk of Kings Point going to the training ship model which means they would either have to bust in line for a new one or share with the state schools.

IMHO cadet shipping should not be replaced completely but the decision is not up to me. What are your thoughts on way to better utilize the new training ships?

When idea put forward is that all state schools have plebe summer (aka mug summer, indoc…) take place at KP and ALL school freshman have their first cruise aboard the same training ship. This would give marad two summers to really strengthen diversity and sash training and build camaraderie between the various schools which could give the students the support network needed to handle sash challenges faced during cadet shipping.


Why should KP be the place? Personally I think it’s a terrible idea that wastes a lot of peoples money. And for what?


Again, why? Texas hasn’t had a real training ship for how many years now? Give them the Empire State or Kennedy. Or share I guess.

There is real benefit to cadet shipping in the industry versus a training ship environment. I don’t think it should be done away with completely at all. I do think that it should be made available to those who actually want to pursue a career or at the very least intend to go to sea on their license. I see too many KP cadets that are obviously never planning on using their license and it is a waste of everyone’s time for them to be on a working merchant ship. Give that berth to the kid that is motivated to join the industry afloat. I believe there is benefit in a mixed education afloat with training ship time and real world time for those that are motivated and want it. Everyone else can ride the good ship lollipop and learn the training ship method exclusively and then jump into whatever military service they want or set up behind the desk and man the email machine.

That just leaves us with the “toxic industry” problem to deal with. WTF?

  • US training ships operate for 2 months/yr, so 16% utilization. Piss-poor in the “real world”.
  • 1 training ship shared at 6 schools would be 100% utilization. Very Good.
  • Add a 2nd training ship into the rotation for dockside training, redundancy, ect (and it’s under construction)

Save the taxpayers $1B in construction costs, plus ongoing M&R of the remaining proposed ships & teaching the Next Generation of our industry how to be commercially competitive/viable, rather than “lament the tragic & unwarranted downfall of the US merchant marine”


There’s no way that’s physically possible. They’re would have to be as many freshman cruises as there are schools just to fit all the students.

Who owns the training ships and what are the terms under which they operate? Maybe bareboat to an actual ship operator and then voyage/time charter to each school? Carry a little cargo while they are at it.

None of the training vessels would be capable of carrying any cargo of significant quantity to make that worthwhile for an operator.

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See 46 CFR 310.4.

Cadet shipping should absolutely not be scrapped. I firmly support the training ship model, however the problem isn’t that we are sending cadets onto ships. Most other parts of the world use cadet shipping. I don’t see any serious defining difference between a 19 year old Cadet months away from sitting for license, and a 21 year old Third Mate signing onto her first ship.


What Ll_Domer said. Plus the above assumes the only training going on is on cruise. Training ships get used year round for learning maintenance, drills, watches, seamanship, lifeboats, leadership, tracing lines, tearing into equipment, and on and on.

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You could easily provide end of service MSC vessels, for cadets to watch? What’s the difference now with most of those MSC ships that just sit in port wasting away. One ship for all the schools, and then they can baby sit some of the MSC vessels and train on. And strategically, you would have East, West and Gulf Coast covered.


That’s basically what we already have with the current school ships.

You’d need a mature training staff to go along with it. Otherwise it’d be Lord of the Flies at sea.

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You could. Point was there’s value in having a ship year round, better to have their own so the school and middies have some ownership. Cadet shipping is still needed, they need the right mix of cruises.

Maybe we could catch two fish at the same time ala Evergreen’s 'Ever Trust". It was a 400 something TEU boxboat that carried a couple of hundred cadets. It gave them experience on a working vessel.

Since most folks believe short sea shipping is not a bad idea, that ship could run around the US coasts hauling domestic cargo to help pay for the operation and give the kids a taste of the industry.


Sea year presents the industry warts and all, invaluable! As to the industry being toxic , have those assholes looked around? What we face is a societal problem of morals and ethics. I’d suggest we start with Congress. All those asses with absolutely no accountability. That is where the problem began.

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Hands down, Sea year is the best thing for most KP and other academy programs/ attendees. That it is compromised by a few assholes on the commercial side is unfortunate. Come down hard on the few that violate that concept. No need by unwitting congress people to shut down a proven concept. This sickens me the knee jerk reactions. To the companies that tried to meet the SASH requirements… good for you. Still a few pirates left. Not the schools fault. Call for Buono to step down? What a fucking uninformed joke. Best guy at KP in quite a few years.

The ships are used everyday for training. Don’t know what students are gonna do when it’s in another port