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3 years ago

An Open Letter to Kings Point Applicants A short time back, a high ...

An Open Letter to Kings Point Applicants A short time back, a high ...

An Open Letter to Kings Point Applicants A short time back, a high

An Open Letter to Kings Point Applicants A short time back, a high school student contacted me and said he was interested in attending the USMMA, and asked if I could describe the place a little for him. Being a recent graduate, I certainly have a lot to say about it, and once I started writing I discovered just how much that was. My email to him eventually turned into a long letter, which I would like to share with you. I had a lot of questions myself before starting at Kings Point, and I think there are a lot of gray areas, especially regarding post-graduation careers, living aboard ships at sea, and life at school beyond freshman year which are not well addressed to prospective candidates. So, I tried to compress a comprehensive and informative overview of Kings Point and what it means to go there into a few pages. I hope you find it helpful. The Basics I think the first thing you should understand is your options for majors at KP. There are currently six majors, yes, but they are grouped into two primary paths of study; Marine Transportation and Marine Engineering. All are meant to primarily train you for working as a licensed Mate or Engineering officer on commercial seagoing vessels. I don’t know how much you know about going to sea and working on ships, so I’ll just explain… There are basically two types of jobs to do on a typical ship; you can be in the Deck department or the Engineering department. The Deck guys navigate the ship and handle cargo, and the Engineering guys maintain the machinery and make all the repairs. The qualifications and permits necessary to get a job on any American ship are all handled by the Coast Guard, and there are a variety of different qualifications for different jobs. In the Deck and Engineering departments there are licensed officers who run their departments, and are in charge of the unlicensed crew members. The licensed Deck guys are called Mates, and the licensed Engineering guys are called Engineers. If you were to decide one day that you wanted to go to sea and work on ships without prior formal training, the first job you would have to get is at the lowest unlicensed position in any department, and then work your way up. Lots of people do this, but it takes time. To advance to a better position in the crew you need to get lots of updates with your training and knowledge, work on ships for a certain number of days, and pass a series of tests each time you want to advance in order for the Coast Guard to issue you a higher permit. Now, this is where the advantage of a maritime college comes in. A school like KP will, in four years, pack in all the education and training you need to fast-track you to a licensed officer by the time you graduate. And yes, it is much faster this way because it would take you a lot longer than four years to work your way up from an entry level position to a job as a ship’s officer! When you graduate, you will leave with a license as either a Third Mate, or as a Third Engineer. These are the low seniority positions among the officers, so there is still some of the ladder to climb if you want to sail long enough to be in charge of a ship. But, you will be making good money and have opportunities for good jobs right out of the gate. So, understanding all that, it is very important to realize that if you go to KP, those are pretty much your only options for majors. I saw more than one kid show up thinking he was going to be a history or English major only to discover that there is no such major at KP. So if you want to go to sea or start a career in the shipping and marine industries, KP is the place for you. Much of the work available at sea is operating cargo ships, which include container ships, tankers, LNG ships, bulk carriers, and some more specialized like heavy lift ships. Besides these, careers working on oil drilling or production rigs, tugboats, research ships, cruise liners, the Military Sealift Command, private yachts, ferries, dredgers, offshore rig supply vessels, or as a harbor pilot are also seagoing options you will be prepared for. There are other ways you could go after you graduate besides hopping on a boat. Tons of careers are possible shoreside that your education can ready you for, like ship chartering, brokerage, cargo logistics,

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