USMMA Requirements

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by joseph.kent.craig, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. joseph.kent.craig

    joseph.kent.craig New Member

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    Hello, some quick information about me first.
    -i am currently in Australia studying abroad for the first semester of my senior year.
    -i am an Eagle Scout of the Boy Scouts of America.
    -i am a student officer of my school.
    -i am very ambitous and love to experience new and challenging things.
    -i love being at sea!
    -i have relatively good grades, with a few AP classes under my belt.

    alright, now to the question. i want to be a Deck Officer and eventually Captain of either a barge or cruise ship, the latter because i enjoy serving people and showing them the world and all the beauty it contains. is USMMA a great school for this career path? or should i just be a hawespipe and work my way up to Deck Officer?
    if USMMA is the best and most benefitial path, how difficult is it to get into the academy?
     
  2. sprog

    sprog Member

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    Not for nothing, but there is only one US-flagged cruise ship currently operating (NCL's Pride of America).
     
  3. 2009KPer

    2009KPer Member

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    Regarding the Hawsepipe option:

    If you realistically want to be a deep-sea deck officer (or any job that requires an unlimited license), I would very strongly recommend going to a Maritime Academy. Even hawsepiping to a 1600 GT license is getting more and more difficult, expensive and time-consuming.
     
  4. joseph.kent.craig

    joseph.kent.craig New Member

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    Are americans not allowed to operate on non-US flagged ships? And I was actually thinking about working on cruise ships later in my career.
     
  5. joseph.kent.craig

    joseph.kent.craig New Member

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    Which Maritime Academy would you recommend? USMMA?
     
  6. sprog

    sprog Member

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    There are very few American officers on foreign-flagged cruise ships. From my understanding (I looked into this when I was in high school years ago), companies like RCCL or HAL or whatever have recruiting programs in place in a few European countries, and they take deck/engine cadets from there. A bit of a search on Google reveals that it is much the same today. This doesn't mean that there are no American officers. There are a few here and there, but very few. For my own recreation, I have sailed on a few cruise ships recently and there were no Americans in the deck or engine departments (I will usually ask a senior officer onboard about it). One ship did have a Canadian master, for whatever that's worth. Depending on the line, the officers are usually Dutch, Greek, Italian, or Norwegian with a few other nationalities here and there.

    If you search the forums, you'll see that a USMMA grad sailed for Cunard a few years ago. This was AFTER his initial five years serving the US maritime industry. So it is possible.

    After your service obligation is up, you can do whatever you want. If you still want to work on a cruise ship, luck as well as your qualifications may play into it. I also don't think you'll make as much $$$ as if you sailed on an American ship, but you may not care.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  7. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    Of course one may want to weigh sailing deep see on a foreign flag vessel over not sailing or working in the oil patch. Several US companies operate foreign flag vessels and hire US citizens. These companies largely operate tankers, not cruise ships.

    Carnival Cruise Lines (and subsidiaries) is a US company that does not generally hire US citizens as officers in the marine crew. US citizens do, however have positions in the non-credential jobs (hotel-entertainment services), but these are not on the track to a master's position.

    All of Carnival's ships are also built overseas.
     
  8. sprog

    sprog Member

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    Could you post some more about this? I think the info would be helpful to candidates.
     
  9. joseph.kent.craig

    joseph.kent.craig New Member

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    Thanks, so cruising jobs are slim for Americans on the whole, but the shipping industry, does that still look favourably good? I've heard different things throughout the years. For instance, with baby boomers retiring, more job opportunities are avaliable. On the other hand i've heard, with our economy the way it is, jobs are scarce.
    Do you have any insight to this matter?
     
  10. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    It is less a factor of our current economy and more a factor of the larger world economy. US flag shipping has been in decline for decades. When the operating subsidies were dropped in the early 80s, many companies folded.

    The US maritime industry has been dealing with "outsourcing" of jobs long before the rest of the country's industries. US owners and ship operators have been flagging out vessels for some time. Even a major US company, American President Lines was purchased by a Singapore based company (although they do maintain a US flag fleet).

    Much of the US flag fleet is still around because of the Jones Act. This is not to say that a motivated youth cannot succeed, but it IS to say that there are not the opportunities to go to sea that there once were. That "Holy Grail" postion of a cruise/passenger ship captain just may not be a practial possibility.

    That isn't to say, however that one cannot achieve their goal of a Captain's or Chief Engineer's berth on a US flag cargo/tank vessel. The academies have adjusted their class size in a reponse to demand.
     
  11. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    I do know that Chevron would put US officers on some of their extensive foriegn flag fleet. Other oil companies (Conoco Phillips comes to mind right away) operate foriegn flag fleets, but I do not know their policy with regard to hiring US officers. More and more oil companies are getting out of the shipping business due to the huge liability (EXXON VALDEZ, AMOCO CADIZ, etc.) that can reflect adversely to their product sales. Exxon, although the operate a fleet of vessels, does not put their name or logo on the stack, instead operates the vesses as SeaRiver.
     
  12. joseph.kent.craig

    joseph.kent.craig New Member

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    So have the maritime academies gotten "easier" to get into? I know it is hard, but does one have a better chance of getting into USMMA compared a few years ago? And is USMMA the "best"? What is your opinion on the school, comparative to other maritime colleges?

    Also, would knowing a few languages be helpful in the business field? Or is it primarily English speaking? I am currently learning Egyptian Arabic, and plan on starting on Chinese once I get back to the states.
     
  13. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    USMMA is in my opinion about the same as it always was to get into. My understanding is some of the State Maritime Academies, specifically SUNY-Maritime College, California Maritime and Massachussets Maritime Academy are at least slightly more difficult to get into then they were say 10 years ago. That said from the sound of it you have a lot going for you and should look at all of them if you are interested in a Maritime Career. as cmakin notes the US Flag Fleet has been declining for years but overall it is just a cyclic industry - as the world economy recovers more opportunities will surface. As to your original question I do know that Celebrity Cruise Lines has actually recruited at USMMA the past couple of years. Many shy away from those jobs because they can make more elsewhere, even in this down economy.

    I'm pretty sure Sprog is actually referring to a classmate of mine - Capt. Evans Hoyt who does indeed sail as a Master for RCCL. He and several of my classmates got into the Cruise Industry when there were three US Flag Cruise Ships that served the Hawaiian trade. He was featured on a discovery channel special on them building cruise liners as he frequently gets involved with their new builds now.

    It will indeed be interesting to see what happens over the next five to ten years to the US Flag Fleet, many of them are at end of life but as long as the Jones Act is in place, then replacement tonnage is probably likely.

    My advice to any young man or woman, regardless of what they want to do is follow your dream while you can (before you get older and have other things that make you compromise them). Now is the best time in your life to be optimistic, and aggressively pursue something you think you'll love.

    Final thing - personally I think knowing Chinese would definitely be a plus if you are looking to enter the international business or maritime fields any time over the the next 5 - 10 years....

    Good luck whatever you decide but for a young person like you, I would recommend USMMA or a State Maritime Academy over hawsepiping.
     
  14. sprog

    sprog Member

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    It's another dude. So that makes 2 at least!!:thumb:

    The guy I'm thinking about is a 2000 grad, I think? He was either 2nd or 1st Officer on Cunard's Queen Mary 2. I think, interestingly, he now works for Porthole magazine as a staff writer (but the name escapes me).

    If you search the forum for USMMA and Cunard, his info will come up.

    Out of my own interest, if Celebrity doesn't have US-flagged ships (I'm pretty sure they don't), how can a USMMA guy work for them right after graduation? Or does Celebrity just do a "think about us in five years" sort of thing?

    BTW-Celebrity has some of the most beautiful ships in the business if you are into cruises. I was on Solstice in 2010 and she was a gorgeous ship.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  15. ft gordon

    ft gordon Member

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    If you are a senior and looking at USMMA, you may have missed the deadlines for getting a nomination to attend next fall, immediately following graduation.
     
  16. kpmid2013

    kpmid2013 New Member

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    I didn't even think about attending this school until November of my senior year and probably didn't start the application process till mid-November so all hope is not lost.
     

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