[QUOTE=MariaW;122577]Doesn’t GLMA (unlike other academies) give you both Great Lakes pilot and the unlimited third mate Oceans if you choose? Is there a disadvantage to going there if you don’t want to work exclusively in the Great Lakes?[/QUOTE]
Yes you get a unlimited 3rd Mate Oceans and First Class Pilot.
And if you don’t want to work the Lakes it is still an excellent school. We are small, you must do two commercial sea projects over 100 days each. One on the Lakes where you get a lot of good experience piloting a ship up and down three river systems, loading and unloading bulk cargo, calling distances and line ups. When you go oceans you get to request who you want to sail with. If you have decent grades and the retired LNG C/M adjunct Liquid Cargo instructor endorses you, you’ll more than likely get a tanker. Most guys sail with Matson, OSG, Sea River, Sea Bulk,Horizon and MSC, we have had cadets sail with Crowley, Alaska Marine Hwy., ARC, Alaska Tanker Company, Great Lakes Dock& Dredge, Edison Chouest, APL, Reineaur, last year we had a spot with Polar Tankers but there was a paper work problem and we lost the spot to another school at the last moment.
We have Graduates working at many different companies outside of the Lakes. OSG has hired a lot of guys, Sea River, Hornbeck, Harvey Gulf, Sea Bulk, Fairfield Nodal, Alaska Marine Hwy., Polar, Gulfmark, Totem Ocean.
Yes our school is focused on producing Pilots for the Great Lakes, but we do graduate with an Oceans license. As far as I am concerned graduating with a 3rd Mate Oceans, First Class Pilotage, Tankerman-PIC, ECDIS, GMDSS, and FRB beats any other Academy. Some guys even sail on ATB’s and get the Great Lakes/Inland Mate of Towing.
Compared to another school that you might not ever step foot on a commercial vessel, or only do one commercial project, I would say GLMA is a lot better. Getting the Lakes and Oceans experience will make you a better officer no matter where you end up working.
Also on the Training cruise there are only about 30 Deck Cadets so you probably have 5 guys on a watch, we did 6 hour watches and everyone rotated between taking the conn and piloting the vessel, to radar watch, to radio watch, to chart to helm, to ECDIS. Im pretty sure the other cruises do not get you near that much bridge time.
Just my two cents as a GLMA Cadet getting ready to graduate in January. Best decision of my life.