Sea Year?


New Member
Jul 31, 2020
Hello, my son as applying to USNA and USMMA. We read about the USMMA’s Sea Year. I searched this forum for a post, but couldn’t find one.
Can anyone provide a quick 101 on what it entails? Sounds interesting!


Apr 18, 2020
All this comes from the Academy's "Sea Year" - actually a period in both your sophomore and junior years when you and a classmate are assigned to a variety of operating U.S. - flag merchant vessels to transverse the trade routes of the Seven Seas.

During Sea Year, you'll experience firsthand the life of a merchant mariner. You'll put your classroom knowledge to the test in a real-life environment - all this while visiting an average of 18 foreign countries!

Sea Year is a part of the fabric of Kings Point, dating back to 1942. Over the decades, midshipmen have engaged in peacetime commerce, have transported military supplies to the Persian Gulf and to Kosovo, and have been part of humanitarian missions to Haiti and Somalia.

Sea Year is true life experience. It indeed makes the world your campus!

Sea Year Questions

What is the Sea Year mission?

Sea Year is a cooperative educational program designed to give you practical knowledge of the performance and operating characteristics of various classes of vessels, the operating requirements in different trade routes, and labor relations in the ocean shipping industry.

When do I Sail?
Your first sea period takes place during your sophomore year and lasts about 135 days. The second sea period, in the junior year, is longer, lasting about 265 days.

Who monitors my assignment?
Sea Year is administered by the Office of Shipboard Training in the Department of Professional Development and Career Services. You will work with an Academy Training Representative (ATR) who will assign you to your vessels, monitor and guide your progress, and serve as a liaison between you, the shipping companies and the Academy.

With whom do I sail?
You will be assigned to a vessel with a fellow student. Your ATR makes every effort to pair you with a requested midshipman when possible.

What is the sea project?
The Sea Project is a number of courses that help you utilize your ship as seagoing laboratory. It is, in a sense, “homework” which you complete at sea in addition to the shipboard tasks assigned to you by your vessel’s officers. The Sea Project is carefully designed to fit your major and ensures that you apply the knowledge and skills learned in Academy classrooms to your shipboard experience. At sea, you will complete written assignments that are graded by the Academy. You also will take oral and written examinations after returning from sea.

Do I earn pay?
During your time at sea, you will be paid about $1,000 a month.

To which vessels am I assigned?
During your first sea period, you’ll be assigned to different kinds of vessels – a container ship, a tanker, a breakbulk cargo ship – to familiarize you with the types of vessels that comprise the U.S. merchant fleet. During your second sailing period, you may request assignment to a specific type of vessel to satisfy a career interest. Midshipmen with a strong desire for a naval career may request service aboard a U.S. Navy ship for part of the second sea period.

Where will I travel?
Midshipmen sail all over the world, to wherever there is a port! You may travel to Central and South America; to the Scandinavian countries; to the Far East, the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent; to Northern Europe; to the Mediterranean and Africa; to the Caribbean and to ports in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. You will visit an average of 18 to 20 foreign lands.

What do I take?
Midshipmen are encouraged to travel light, taking only what they need at sea. You will be given a list of what to pack in your sea bag. Everyone takes a lap top computer. Marine Transportation majors also take a sextant.

Can I call home?
Communication with home is done through letters; by telephone once in port; very occasionally by ship-to-shore phone; and increasingly, by email.

Your Defining Moment

There’s no better way of learning that by doing. That’s what sea year is all about. You’ll work at everything from cargo loading and navigation to engine repair and ship maintenance. You’ll heed the advice given to every midshipman embarking on sea year: “Keep your eyes and ears open.”

Why is sea year so important? Because, for most midshipmen, it’s their first real opportunity for self-reliance. At sea, you’ll balance your time between shipboard tasks and your sea project. You’ll develop self-discipline and self-confidence. You’ll practice human relations skills as you work both with the ship’s officers and crew. You’ll observe different and exotic cultures as you travel from port to port.

As you walk up the gangway of your first ship, sea bag over your shoulder, you’ll join the ranks of thousands of Kings Pointers who credit Sea Year as the foundation of their successful professional careers.

For them, it was their defining moment. Make it yours too.


10-Year Member
Apr 14, 2009
The above gives you the general idea. If you or your DS have any more specific questions, let us know here. My DS '13 and DD '21 had very different sea year experiences, but were each successful in tailoring the year to their own interests.


Master, Ocean Steam or Motor Vessels, unlimited
10-Year Member
Jan 21, 2009
These days I am very glad YouTube wasn't around during my Sea Year. . . . .
Yeah, the last thing you would have needed is for your mom to have gone on line and seen you carousing around at 'dens of iniquity' like the Harbor Light, Lasgaspi Rose Garden or the Shamrock Bars in Manila..:yikes:#WhatHappensInWestpacStaysInWestpac 🤐 #SanMiguelBeerandBadDecisions 🍻


5-Year Member
Aug 26, 2010
Yeah, the last thing you would have needed is for your mom to have gone on line and seen you carousing around at 'dens of iniquity' like the Harbor Light, Lasgaspi Rose Garden or the Shamrock Bars in Manila..:yikes:#WhatHappensInWestpacStaysInWestpac 🤐 #SanMiguelBeerandBadDecisions 🍻
Hehehe, hey, I remember those joints. . . but it was the New Shamrock bar. . . oh, and on a side note, I was watching a movie on video while sailing, and this scene pops up. . . recognize the joint?