Texas A&M Maritime Academy Prepares Next Generation of Maritime Professionals
Over 500 cadets, faculty and staff will depart from Texas A&M University at Galveston next week to begin the Texas A&M Maritime Academy’s 60-day summer sea term to earn their U.S. Coast Guard license.
This required at-sea training prepares future mariners and maritime professionals to support our national security and drive the state economy.
“Over 90 percent of everything you eat, wear or use travels to you through our nation’s ports and inland waterways,” said Texas A&M Maritime Academy Superintendent Rear Admiral Michael E. Fossum. “Our nation’s workforce of skilled mariners is aging and retiring. Educating and training maritime professionals to continue to drive the blue economy here in the Gulf Coast region and around the globe is critical in meeting the needs of our citizens.”
The academy will sail aboard the TS Kennedy, the first large training vessel assigned to Texas A&M in 18 years. The ship serves as a living laboratory where cadets earn hands-on experience in ship navigation, marine engineering systems, maintenance, safety and security, and attend classes onboard.
“The hands-on experience that we gain during summer sea term is vital for our success as mariners,” explained Texas A&M Maritime Academy cadet Gunnar Pierson ‘24. “The experience someone has can save lives and dollar signs in our industry.”
TS Kennedy arrives at the Galveston Campus dock. Image credit: Texas A&M University Galveston
Successful legislative efforts in Washington, D.C. secured the transfer of the TS Kennedy to the Galveston Campus this year and a new, state-of-the-art National Security Multi-Mission Vessel, NSMV Lone Star State, in 2025. These ships have 12 times the capacity of the maritime academy’s former training ship, the TS General Rudder.
“It is truly surreal to be able to call the TS Kennedy ours and be the first class in 18 years to have a training ship that fits the needs of everyone at this academy,” said Pierson, who is also the Summer Sea Term Corps Commander, the highest-ranking cadet on the ship. “I am incredibly honored to lead such a motivated group of mariners striving to gain their own experience.”
The summer sea term includes port stops in Curacao, Florida, Puerto Rico and Louisiana, where cadets will have two days in each port to explore and participate in academy-organized activities. The campus also hosts ship tours for the community to highlight the importance of the maritime industry. They will return to Galveston, TX, in August before the start of the fall 2023 semester. Cadets from California Maritime Academy, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Maine Maritime Academy and State University of New York Maritime College will sail with the academy this year.
You can learn more about Summer Sea Term events and follow the ship route here.