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Monday, September 23, 2019

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United States Merchant Marine Academy

Posted to Maritime Musings (by on June 27, 2014

The federal service academy charged with training officers for the US Merchant Marine

Located at Kings Point, New York since its establishment in 1943, the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) is one of five federal service academies and the only one not directly associated with the US military.  The 82-acre Kings Point site was previously the estate of Walter Chrysler and was acquired by the US Government in early 1942.  Construction was put on an expedited basis and the Academy was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 30 September 1943, with classes starting immediately thereafter.  While the course of studies was envisioned to be four years in length, it was (as a wartime measure, similar to the other service academies) severely shortened.  The first class graduated in early 1945, but midshipmen saw service at sea before graduation.  During World War II, 142 midshipmen lost their lives, and many others survived torpedo and aerial attacks against the ships on which they were serving as part of their training.  The full four-year curriculum was instituted in 1948, with graduates receiving the degree of bachelor of science.  There are two areas of focus in the curriculum: marine transportation and marine engineering.  Transportation students take courses in, among other things, navigation, cargo handling, and maritime law.  At the end of the program, students sit for the examination for the National Third Mate of Self-Propelled Vessels of Unlimited Tonnage Upon Oceans.  Engineering students take courses in marine engineering, marine engineering systems, and marine engineering and shipyard management.  At the end of this program, students sit for the examination for the National Third Assistant Engineer of Steam/Motor/Gas Turbine, Any Horsepower.  Following graduation, each individual must apply for a commission in the US Navy Reserve and must be employed in the marine industry (either afloat or ashore) for at least five years or serve as an active duty officer in a branch of the US armed forces or the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Graduates must also maintain their USCG-issued merchant mariner officer license for a period of six years.