Following Brief Delay, MMA Cadets Set Off for Semester at Sea

BUZZARDS BAY – After a 24-hour weather related delay, roughly 600 cadets set off Sunday from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy for the annual Sea Term.

The T.S. Kennedy training vessel departed Buzzards Bay for a nearly two-month voyage south which includes ports of call in Barbados, Jamaica, Columbia, Tampa and a humanitarian aid drop in Haiti.

Cadet Derek Marge’s family were among the many who came down see him off.

“This is his last trip, you know freshman sophomore and then he did his commercial ship with a company called Crowley who’s already hired him on and he’ll start when they graduate this June,” said his Marge’s father,

“They’re looking forward to Columbia and Barbados, you know, the warm weather.”

During the trip, cadets will gain real world, practical experience rotating through class and laboratory training, handling ship operations as well as performing maintenance and emergency drills.

“If you think about the importance of cooperative education, experiential education, and hands on education – to really take what is learned from a book and put it into practice – the value of that really cannot be overstated,” said MMA President Admiral Fran McDonald.

During the voyage, upperclassmen will put into practice what they are learning in preparation to sit for a United States Coast Guard license to join the civilian Merchant Marine.

McDonald said the voyage helps cadets find out if careers at sea are really the business they want to be in, especially for the first year students.

“For the upperclass students, to begin to have leadership roles in charge of the underclass, through that watchstanding, it really does prepare them to go to work on day 1 as a licensed officer in charge of the watch,” he said.

McDonald, who graduated from MMA and participated in Sea Term, said the voyage is a magical experience.

“As you first slip the lines and start to put Buzzards Bay off your stern, you immediately feel a slow rumbling and rolling of that vessel as you being to make way,” he said.

“And that sort of rockin’ and rollin’ is the first thing, even as you put your head on the pillow and lay down in your rack that first night, is something that you never forget.”

About 100 faculty and staff will join the 600 cadets on Sea Term.


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