CASTINE – Students from the Marine Maritime Academy are set to take sea on a seventy-day training cruise to embark on a new adventure.
Dean of Maritime training Captain Nathan Gandy said, “We’re getting ready to get underway.”
Maine Maritime Academy and the programs that they offer are designed around merchant marine licenses to operate merchant ships across the globe. In order to train the students effectively, they have to take them to sea.
“Every summer for two to three months we take the freshman class and the junior class and get them sea time either in the southern down around Florida, in the Bahamas, or across the Atlantic and spend some time in Europe and the Mediterranean and then come home,” said Gandy.
There are a number of skills the students learn during these seventy days.
“Learning their professional skills of operating a proportion plant or navigational systems up here on the bridge where we are now. So that’s the fundamental license piece of it,” said Gandy.
They are also crossing things off their bucket list that most people can only dream of.
Fourth-year cadet Dylan Bunker said, “Foreign ports that’s gonna be fun and seeing Spain Italy I mean a lot of people would have Rome on their bucket list and we get to knock it out as a freshman in college. So really looking forward to seeing the world and putting the training in perspective.”
Freshman in the Marine engineering technology program Olivia Smith said, “I’ve always wanted to ship out and it’s gonna be a fun experience going over to Europe and traveling. I’ve never been out of the country so it’s gonna be fun.”
While these kids are excited to take off to sea a lot of them are leaving their families for the first time who are here to say goodbye and to support them.
Mother of Olivia Smith Laurie Smith said, “We’re really excited for her with the education that she’s getting here at Maine maritime and the experience that she’s going to have I mean this is just what a wonderful training on hands work assignment opportunity that she’s gonna have it is wonderful we’re happy for her.”
Mother of Olivia Smith Carl Smith said, “I have mixed emotions I’m really happy but sad too.”
While students get to explore the world, they are also getting graded during the process.
“They’re being graded when they’re on watch, they’re being graded while they’re doing maintenance on various piece of equipment. It’s all graded.”