Massachusetts Maritime Academy Departs for Annual Sea Term

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January 24, 2022

Press Release – On January 10th, Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) cadets aboard the TS Kennedy departed Buzzards Bay beginning a six-week learning expedition. For more than 130 years, MMA has provided cadets the opportunity to participate in Sea Term, a hands-on experience at sea where cadets put into practice the skills they’ve learned in the classroom. 

“Sea Term epitomizes experiential learning,” said Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, USMS, President of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. “This year’s itinerary allows our cadets to gain experience on the water as well as acquire United States Coast Guard required days at sea.”

During Sea Term 2022, MMA’s 540-foot training ship the TS Kennedy will travel through the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico making stops at Charleston, SC; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Tampa, FL.

All MMA freshmen and sophomore cadets majoring in Marine Engineering (Engine) and Marine Transportation (Deck) and freshmen Energy Systems Engineering and Facilities Engineering along with senior Deck and Engine majors are required to participate in Sea Term to gain practical experience. Sea Terms typically take place in January and February between the fall and spring academic term. A typical day for cadets includes rotating through classes, participating in laboratory training at sea, routine maintenance, ship operations, deck and engine watches, and emergency drills. In addition, participating in Sea Term helps MMA cadets accumulate the days at sea required to sit for the United States Coast Guard exam.

For the International Maritime Business (IMBU) program cadets on board, who are pursuing careers in global supply chain management, this year’s excursion provides a customized course highlighting the business side of shipping. Captain Ashok Pandey, a master mariner and associate professor specializing in maritime economics and shipping route optimization, will lead the students at each port as they visit shipping companies and port authorities while they gain insight into the commercial side of the shipping business. 

“These semesters at sea are instrumental for our cadets to develop the critical maritime skills, leadership skills and life skills needed to flourish after they graduate,” said McDonald. “Our cadets value and treasure their time at sea that not only helps them develop their expertise in shipboard operations, navigation, safety, and port operations, but also provides them with time to learn from each other and foster comradery.” 

For example, each Sea Term offers a variety of leadership opportunities. For the January 2022 cruise, the Regimental Training Ship Commander is Sarah Smialek of Dartmouth, MA, the Cadet Chief Engineer is Anthony Petrillo of Norwell, MA, and the Cadet Chief Mate is Jessica Fu of Riverview, FL.

The safety of the MMA cadets is of greatest importance. COVID protocols have been established, including requiring vaccines and booster shots for all Sea Term participants, pre-Sea Term testing and quarantine to ensure a healthy and safe environment during the cruise. In efforts to mitigate the threat of the Omicron and COVID variants, strict procedures have been implemented. “We have established a Sea Term Task Force to ensure our commitment and pathway to a safe Sea Term 2022,” stated McDonald.  Arrival day back in Buzzards Bay is February 20, 2022.

MMA’s experiential learning opportunities during the January and February break are not limited to living aboard the TS Kennedy. Emergency Management (EMGT) students will volunteer at Habitat for Humanity in Eustis, FL, two hours northeast of Tampa. Nearly 80 cadets will help build houses for local residents. As a leadership developmental opportunity, students will be separated into two groups. Each team will be led by five senior “Rates” who will oversee 33 freshmen. 

Another group of EMGT students will attend the National Outdoor Leadership School in Arizona. Ten freshmen and an accompanying faculty member will participate in this unique opportunity to explore a wilderness classroom. As they explore the diverse terrain, students will cultivate new skills to navigate their environment, and gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the history of the region.

About Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA): MMA is a fully accredited, four-year, co-educational state university offering Bachelor and Master of Science degrees that are highly regarded in the worldwide maritime industry and beyond. For more than 100 years, MMA has prepared women and men for exciting and rewarding careers on land and sea. As the nation’s finest co-ed maritime college, MMA challenges students to succeed by balancing a unique regimented lifestyle with a typical four-year college environment. Located on Cape Cod, at the mouth of the scenic Cape Cod Canal, Massachusetts Maritime Academy is the ideal college to pursue the love for the ocean, concern for the environment, interest in math and science, and a thirst for adventure. Follow MMA on FB: @MassMaritime.Advancement; IG: @mmacademyalumni ; Twitter: @MMAcademyAlumni; YouTube: Massachusetts Maritime Academy 

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