Mass. Maritime Cadets Preparing TS Kennedy for 2019 Sea Term

BUZZARDS BAY – Cadets at Massachusetts Maritime Academy are readying to embark on the 2019 Sea Term, where for about 52 days they’ll set off for the Caribbean Sea aboard the T.S. Kennedy.

The T.S. Kennedy will depart Buzzards Bay on the morning of Saturday, January 12. While the cadets will be sailing through a tropical paradise, this trip is far from a pleasure cruise.

Cadets will rotate through ships operations including deck and engine watches, classes and laboratory training at sea, and maintenance and emergency drills. Port visits offer the cadets a time to relax, though watch and maintenance responsibilities remain at this time.

“This is a crucial part of the training program. The students will perform three of their four Sea Terms on Kennedy, and then in their junior year they’ll the opportunity to commercially ship on U.S. flagged vessels. The sea service takes the classroom and turns it into reality in a practical way,” MMA Senior Vice-President Brad Lima said.

“The Sea Term is designated as a training platform to acquire sea service for Marine Transportation and Marine Engineering cadets. The academic programs that these students participate in over four years requires a year’s worth of sea service in order to be eligible for an entry level officer’s license in merchant services.”

Sea Terms are conducted between the two academic semesters at the school in January and February. Cadets register for the term around the New Year holiday.

The Sea Term allows cadets to put into practice what they have been learning at the academy into just one semester.

“When you’re at sea you have one opportunity to make the right decision,” said Lima.

“While the classroom environment can teach you the knowledge and the basic components, this is a profession where practice through application is necessary in order for you to be prepared to step aboard a ship a day after graduation and serve as an officer on watch, either on the deck or the engineering side.”

The ship sails various foreign destinations of the Caribbean three out of four years, while every one-in-four years it travels to the Mediterranean Sea. At least one of the Caribbean voyages includes the Panama Canal and a crossing of the equator.

This year, cadets will set sail for San Juan, Puerto Rico for a two-day stay on the island. On the island, cadets will participate in a community service project, and will have the opportunity to go zip-lining in Tordo Verde and embark on a scenic drive through the El Yunque National Rainforest, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forrest System.

The T.S. Kennedy then departs for the British Virgin Islands for another two-day trip in Tortola. Cadets will get the chance to enjoy a Catamaran Day sail and can compete in a rugby match against an island team.

The Sea Term will also make a stop in Barbados for another two days before heading to the trip’s final port visit in Miami.

By TIM DUNN, CapeCod.com News Center

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