WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / MAY 2016
By their fourth year, all Kings Point midshipmen must
complete a course in a ship simulator. They conduct a
simulated mission, which involves developing an anti-piracy plan.
Each year, Helmick said, a number of graduates choose
to accept commissions in one of the five armed services.
California Maritime Academy
The curriculum at the California Maritime Academy has
been modified in recent years to reflect not only the drop
in the number of U.S.-flag vessels, but also the increased
strategic and commercial significance of the Pacific Rim.
“That’s the challenge. International changes come
sometimes routinely, and sometimes more ‘routinely’
than we’d like,” said Rear Adm. Tom Cropper (USMS),
the Vallejo, Calif., institution’s president.
“Among the six state academies
[and Kings Point], 20 percent of
the nation’s Merchant Marine officers are produced. When you’re
thinking of the long-term health of
the maritime profession, a lot of it
starts here,” said Cropper, a former
carrier pilot who retired as a Navy
rear admiral in 2012.
Changes come with a cost, he
said. As part of the state university system, the school relies on a
shrinking pool of funds to share
with fellow institutions. As the
maritime industry adopts each new
regulation, it must be incorporated
into the school’s program without
The bottom line, borne by
cadets, is a $5,500 annual tuition
that could run as high as $26,000,
once books, fees, housing, room
and board are factored in. Still,
Cropper said, the cadets who make
it through likely will achieve a
“When you look at the demographic for the maritime profession, there is an expectation of a 15
to 20 percent growth for transportation workers. Plus, we probably
have a pretty good wave of retirements coming. This means good
jobs,” he said.
The school thus retains its focus
on training students to be “
proficient in the competencies of a
mariner,” Cropper said.
Great Lakes Maritime Academy
While security is an important aspect at the Great
Lakes Maritime Academy at Northwestern Michigan
College, Traverse City, Mich., the school largely follows the lead set forth by established regulations. The
emphasis is placed on providing cadets with the tools
necessary to complete the rigorous academic requirements, with security concerns being just one integral
part of that package.
Deck cadets must complete training in Great Lakes
pilotage in addition to coursework necessary to acquire
oceangoing licenses. Cadets in officer-preparation must
acquire those licenses in order to graduate. The extra
load comes alongside the deck and mechanical career-path curricula, as well as basic academics required
for any typical bachelor’s degree. Likewise, engineers
California Maritime Academy Cadet Saw Dun, from Antioch, Calif., loops a
stern line around a winch during the arrival of hospital ship USNS Mercy at
Subic Bay, the Philippines, Aug. 4, in support of Pacific Partnership 2015.
Dun sailed with Mercy as part of the Military Sealift Command civilian mariner
crew during 100 days of at-sea training.