SUNY Maritime Has Lost It's Touch

As a current student, I don’t like to write this but I feel as if more discussion on the matter could make me feel better. During my tenure at the Maritime College, I feel as if I’ve watched the quality of instruction drop tremendously in just 3 years. Unwise spending as put the school in a deficit, and by raising my costs and fees they feel justified in spending money on large expensive electronic greeting signs at the front of campus (Yes I know this was a SUNY purchase but the money runs up from somewhere, this multi million dollar project could have been spent on upgrading classrooms, outdated labs, or on acquiring teachers that have more experience to offer than that of the 1980s. While the passing rate of the school has gone up, the obvious signs of poor academic integrity has grown even more. I can personally say that I have witnessed instructors address that they know students are cheating in their classes, but do nothing about it. This devalues my degree, and makes me look bad when they get out and get jobs and are clueless to what they are doing. Going into the license program, both departments have major setbacks. Cruise is a joke. Cruise will always be taken as a joke. Nothing is learned. Gaining any lick of knowledge from an instructor is next to impossible. When taking seminar on cruise, it is by far a better choice to sleep through lectures so you can teach yourself everything later into each night. Nothing is learned while standing watch, and most work days are spent going back to sleep. The dorms here are beginning to fall apart, most of the classrooms are in a similar manner (Most classrooms still only have VGA computer inputs which are very outdated and chalkboards. Maritime has fallen drastically behind the curve, and I am afraid I am too. The regimental officers offer little to no leadership capabilities, and their high salaries are justified by saying they are “leadership mentors”. I’ve learned nothing except what the marine corps vocabulary is like. If anyone has any more to discuss, please feel free.

Sounds exactly like it was twenty years ago. Embrace the suck!


I think you need to listen to some Tony Robbins … or go to some FSMAA gatherings and see what you’re actually getting into. Upon getting your first job in shipping, you’ll realize you learned a lot more than you think. It’s been this way for quite some time. It sounds like you’re in license seminar, I’d buckle down and worry about a job. Trust the process.

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regardless of what it was twenty years ago, shouldn’t quality only go up? Tuition and fees are only going up and the program is deteriorating in front of our eyes.

Any academy is what you make of it. If you want to sail, like I did, you will find your way to a job at sea and do just fine. The lesser qualified people you mention will most likely not be your shipmates or only for a short period before they are shown the door. All of the things you mentioned were and are facts of life at a Maritime academy. Instructors who haven’t sailed in twenty years, political infighting of the university system, and lack of funding to keep the facilities up to standard. Your time there is finite no matter how long it feels it is taking to get through it. Laugh it off and get your license. That is all that matters in the industry. We don’t care where or if you went to school. We care that you are a good hand, knowledgeable, and trustworthy.


The ultimate test of quality is the competence of the graduates. If you are still a cadet, you do not have the experience, and have not had the opportunity to make a credible assessment.


Can you point to supporting documents that show deficit spending at the college? The cost of schools has gone up in general, and SUNY Maritime’s tuition is not set at the school level. I would also doubt that you could point to a decline in the level of education since you’ve been there. Your worth will be shown upon passing license and graduating. School is an opportunity for you to teach yourself; the best rise to the top, the others fade away. You may not like it now, but you will be glad you went there down the road - provided you make it out.


Based on the above responses, you should go back to studying…


When I graduated and went to sea I felt unprepared because I was new and consequently terrified. Walking aboard my first ship I realized three things:

1.) No one here knows who I am, nor do they care…
2.) They expect me to know how to do the job, regardless of my education
and 3.) My license said right on it, “having been duly examined and found competent…”

SUNY seemed like an enormous shit show even back then, but I knew that I was standing on the deck of that ship because I earned it. By the time my first hitch ended 100 days later, I realized I knew and was taught a lot more than I was giving myself credit for. An instructor of mine gave me some parting words on graduation day before heading off to my first ship that I never forgot… “Congratulations and good luck… now the most important lessons begin.”


No supporting documents, but the admiral himself, along with many faculty and staff will reference the deficit at the school and blame it on enrollments. Some of our dining options were even reduced the other week because the contractor can’t afford to have it’s hours that open (I’m referencing the TIV for the recent maritime grads)

Didn’t they just graduate the largest class in the history of the school?


That sounds like BS. The food service contractors make money hand over fist off of students.


Dining options?! You have dining options?! We had them too - you could eat on the mess deck or not eat. JD Cavo’s comments have merit…


The horror, the horror.



The quality of your education and your preparedness for working at sea are two different things. The maritime industry is set-up so that a minimum of competent people can operate a ship. The job of third mate is one of great responsibility, and little technical expertise. You are just a human alarm to wake the captain if something interesting happens on watch. As such, it makes no sense for society to train you to any greater level of competency.

Only a captain and mate are realistically needed to man the wheelhouse. A third mate is a redundancy, nothing more. Yes, many ships will have three or four mates. But these are required by regulations, not reality, filling out a manning system based on human factors. The competency needed in each individual falls off sharply past the first mate.

Of course, sometimes an academy graduate is given a dangerous watch right from the start. On my first day as a mate I was given the job of navigating the BC/SE Alaska Inside Passage with just a radar, a compass, and a paper chart (no GPS back then). I’ve sailed all around the world and have found no place more unforgiving navigate. But I did just fine, and I regard my 1980’s CMA education as mediocre at best. Since I’m not a genius, it must have been enough.

Maritime academies don’t turn out expert mariners any more than pre-med school turns out doctors. Academies could do it, but to do so they would need to:
• Be very selective about applicants
• Have small class sizes
• Be very selective about professors (hiring the best and most skilled means $200-$300 K incomes),
• Have the infrastructure to train mostly at sea, not ashore, which would be hideously expensive.

Keep this in mind: Each and every year reduces the necessity for competent ship’s officers. Nowadays having a competent navigator on a ship is unnecessary the majority of the time. Any reasonably bright 10-year old kid can learn Rose Point in three days, with the knowledge to navigate the largest of ships.

Most academy graduates are GPS-tenders, nothing more. I know, because I hire them, then to try to train them to a higher standard; an uphill battle. New navigators these days are simply the beta-testers for the software which will take over their jobs completely 20 years from now. Which is why you need that college degree, no matter how mediocre you think it.


Amen to that.

Seminar on cruise and chalkboards? Sounds like an engineer.

Even the classrooms in the Fort had whiteboards when I got out of there 10 years ago…

I don’t understand why the bigger state schools even graduate so many new kids each year. It should really say something that they have to use training ships to get them all their days because there would be no possible way to get them all out on real ships.

Shut down Kings Point. Problem solved