Maritime Training And Education

MARAD vigorously supports maritime training and education through the U.S. Merchant

Marine Academy, support of six State maritime academies, and several outreach and continuing education programs.

MARAD operates the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York, to educate young men and women for service in the U.S. merchant marine, in the U.S. Armed Forces, and in the Nation's intermodal transportation system. Additional information on the Academy may be found at

Graduates receive Bachelor of Science degrees and USCG licenses as deck or engineering officers, and commissions in the U.S. Naval Reserve or another uniformed service. MARAD owns and operates the USMMA's primary training vessel.

As a key component of the national security effort, Academy graduates incur an eight-year U.S. Naval Reserve commitment, unless they are accepted in another uniformed service. The critical maritime skills developed with their military training significantly increase our Nation's defense readiness.

Academy graduates are required to obtain a merchant marine officer's license in order to graduate from the Academy, and to maintain the license for at least six years. The license may be maintained through active sailing, as documented by the U.S. Coast Guard, or by re -examination. The graduates are also committed to a five-year maritime employment service obligation. This maritime service obligation may be satisfied in the merchant marine as an officer aboard U.S. merchant ships, or in shoreside maritime or intermodal transportation industry positions if afloat employment is not available and with the permission of the Maritime Administrator. Active military duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or service with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also satisfies the obligation.

The Class of 2005, which graduated on June 20, 2005, comprised 112 third mates and 110 third assistant engineers. The 29 women graduates in 2005 brought to 524 the total number of female graduates since the first coeducational graduating class in 1978. Within six months after graduation, nearly 100 percent of the 222 graduates had obtained employment in the maritime and transportation industry, afloat and ashore, or were serving on active military duty.

MARAD provides assistance to six State maritime academies to train merchant marine officers pursuant to the Maritime Education and Training Act of 1980. They are:

  • California Maritime Academy, Vallejo, CA;
  • Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Traverse City, MI;
  • Maine Maritime Academy, Castine, ME;
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Buzzards Bay, M
  • State University of New York Maritime College, For
  • Texas Maritime Academy, Galveston, TX.

State maritime academy cadets who participate in the Student Incentive Payment Program receive $4,000 annually, for a maximum of four years, with satisfactory performance, to offset school costs.

Participating cadets have these obligations:

  • To complete the academy's course of instruction;
  • To graduate from a State academy, cadets must pass the U.S. Coast Guard examination for a license as an officer in the U.S. merchant marine, and to maintain that license for at least six years from the date of graduation;
  • To apply for and accept, if offered, an appointment as a commissioned officer in an armed force reserve component, and serve for at least six years from the date of graduation; and
  • To maintain employment in the maritime industry for at least three years from the date of graduation.

MARAD provides training vessels to all six State maritime academies for use in at-sea training and as seagoing laboratories. The vessels provide cadets with practical knowledge of vessel operations, and are part of MARAD's assistance to the academies to train highly qualified licensed officers. Three of these training vessels were activated in FY 2005 to in the recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: the State of Maine assigned to Maine Maritime Academy, the Empire State assigned to State University of New York Maritime College, and the Sirius assigned to the Texas Maritime Academy.

The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 required the development of maritime security course standards and curricula to allow for the training and certification of maritime security professionals. MARAD is the lead agency in this work, collaborating with industry and other government agencies. These courses have been adopted as the global benchmark by the International Maritime Organization, forming the basis for uniform worldwide standards, which will, in turn, make security work more effective. During FY 2005, the United States Merchant Marine Academy developed six model courses based upon course standards and curricula developed in FY 2004. A seventh course, designed especially for military and law enforcement personnel, is being finalized. The model courses are used to assess and certify U.S. training providers under a voluntary certification/course approval program that MARAD implemented in February, 2005. During FY 2005, approximately 75 percent of the courses submitted for certification were approved.

In order to broaden security training participation nationwide, MARAD negotiated a Cooperative Agreement with the six State Maritime Academies to include jointly-developed maritime security training as part of their port and maritime industry curricula. This will also serve to standardize security training and make it more efficient, both nationwide worldwide.

Three trainees putting out a fire at the Great Lakes Fire Training Center.

MARAD provides training in fighting ship, barge, and dockside fires to mariners and other personnel, offering basic and advanced firefighting classes through its Great Lakes Fire Training Center located in Swanton, Ohio.

In FY 2005, the Center trained 418 students from a wide array of organizations:

  • 224 trainees completed the 40-hour combined basic/advanced marine firefighting training. This included crews of eight U.S. Coast Guard cutters as well as merchant mariners from many companies;
  • 21 trainees completed the 16-hour basic firefighting training to comply with Standards of Training, Certification & Watchkeeping (STCW);
  • 33 members of the U.S. Coast Guard completed a 16-hour basic class; and
  • 140 trainees participated in live firefighting training sessions tailored to the needs of the attending groups:
  • a) Ohio Army National Guard Engineers;
    b) Two State of Ohio Firefighter II Certification Classes;
    c) City of Toledo, Ohio, Firefighters
    d) U.S. Naval Reserve Fleet Hospital-Great Lakes DET 28 (pre-deployment basic fire training);
    e) Sunoco, Inc.'s fire brigade; and
    f) United States Steel Corporation's fire brigade.

MARAD's Mariner Recruitment and Retention Working Group increases the awareness of the maritime industry for the general public about career opportunities in the maritime industry and the important role these careers play in ensuring our Nation has adequately trained and reliable crews for our sealift support in times of national emergency. In FY 2005, MARAD expanded its promotional efforts by awarding five maritime educational grants. The grants provide student scholarships for school-to-work programs, maritime and port curriculum development, and experiential learning in maritime academy campus environments.

MARAD's support enabled 30 students to participate in the California Maritime Academy's Summer Bridge Program. The program's mission is to enhance academic skills and to encourage the college enrollment of racial minorities and economically disadvantaged high school students.

Philadelphia City Sail (PCS) is another grant awardee that sponsors an annual School Ship and Summer Sail Program. Through PCS's program, students participate in adventures, explorations, and study that center on maritime knowledge and skill development, which are applied to training exercises aboard the schooner North Wind. Twenty-five to 30 students will be able to enroll in this year's program as a direct result of the grant.

The Maritime Careers/Outreach Program enabled 20 teachers to participate in the St. Cloud State University Transportation Education Academy. The Academy's goal is to provide information to teachers concerning all facets of the transportation system and they, in turn, share the information with their students upon their return to the classroom.

The Hands-On Training Scholarship is a newly created scholarship enabled by a MARAD grant. The Coordinated Maritime Services' grant will be the scholarship source for the Maritime Industry Career Hands-On Training Scholarship. The goal is to have four students between the ages of 18 and 24 participate in classroom instruction and lectures, hands-on and lab-work training, and field trip tours of local shipyards and port facilities, among other interactive experiences.

FY 2005 marked the first opportunity for MARAD to promote maritime careers through a newspaper supplement in observance of Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (ESTEME) Week. The observance encourages young people to pursue their curiosity and understanding of math, science, technology, and engineering, all of which are required for select maritime disciplines. Through the Washington Times newspaper, more than 120,000 copies of the "Newspaper in Education" supplement were published and distributed to thousands of students across the United States.

In FY 2005, MARAD also agreed to co-sponsor the American Sail Training Association Conference, which strives to encourage character building through sail training. The work of this association serves to promote the awareness of our Nation's maritime heritage and an appreciation of the skills used in seafaring.

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