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USMMA Operations Status: Normal

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Marine Transportation


The Department of Marine Transportation offers two programs: Marine Transportation and Maritime Logistics & Security. These programs share a common core of both Nautical Science and Maritime Business courses.

Nautical Science courses prepare midshipmen in marine navigation, vessel operations and maritime safety, insuring they meet all the requirements to hold USCG Third Mate’s license with international STCW endorsements.  The Nautical Science core also provides a broad maritime education to produce a well-trained and knowledgeable ship’s officer. This program of study includes general as well as specific maritime subjects that familiarize midshipmen with ship systems, equipment, and operations. Midshipmen will study Terrestrial, Celestial, and Integrated Navigation; Navigation Law (Rules of the Road); Vessel Stability and Trim; Cargo Operations aboard ship and in port, including Dry Cargo, Dangerous Liquid Cargo (DL) and Liquefied Gas Cargo (LG); Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS); Marine Regulatory Environment; Seamanship; Meteorology; Maritime Communications (GMDSS); Bridge Navigation Systems such as RADAR, ARPA, and ECDIS; Bridge Resource Management (BRM); and the various domestic and international rules and regulations that govern these activities.

Maritime Business courses give midshipmen a broad understanding of management issues and specific skills required for critical thinking and decision making in business.  These skills complement the maritime operations education of midshipmen and strengthen their performance as shipboard officers.  Midshipmen gain a foundation in business administration allowing them to pursue shore-side opportunities in maritime business, logistics, and operations following fulfillment of their seagoing obligation.   The curriculum recognizes that marine transportation is part of the total global intermodal transportation system, which is crucial to both domestic and international commerce and the nation’s defense. Specific courses in the business core include Principles of Leadership, The Business of Shipping, Principles of Economics, Principles of Management, Marketing, Fundamentals of Business Law, Admiralty and International Law, Accounting and Finance, and Maritime Economics.

In addition, the department offers advanced elective courses in relevant subject areas. These courses can be grouped to give midshipmen a more in-depth exposure to a particular subject area. Students interested in concentrating their electives should contact faculty advisors for specific information and advice.

In addition to satisfying the institution’s higher education accreditation requirements, the department’s programs must also comply with domestic and international laws and standards related to maritime education.  The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 2010, as amended, sets qualification standards for masters, officers, and watch- keeping personnel on seagoing merchant ships.  The STCW Code and the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations establish the standards that the U.S. Coast Guard uses to license U.S. Merchant Mariners.

Facilities and Technology

The department's administrative and faculty offices, classrooms, and most of its laboratories are located in Bowditch Hall. These include Navigation Chart Rooms and Simulation Laboratories, Liquid Cargo and Liquid Natural Gas Simulators, and Maritime Communications (GMDSS) Simulators. Our two Integrated Navigational Labs each contain 16 isolated bridges. Students are immersed in advanced simulation navigational technology with over 80 different ship models with the capability to simulate up 40 different ports and waterways around the world.  Students fine-tune their solo watchstanding skills and perfect utilization of RADAR, ECDIS, and other shipboard electronic navigational aids.  Four Marine Transportation Labs are teaching style laboratories that can simulate Navigation, Liquid Cargo, and GMDSS equipment, which allows the Instructor to teach the finer points of equipment, theoretical background, and help prepare Midshipmen for necessary assessments.

A seamanship laboratory is also maintained and operated by departmental faculty to train and educate students in Marlinspike Seamanship. The department provides hands-on training in ship operations utilizing the various training vessels and facilities at the Waterfront.

The Full Mission Simulator Visual Bridge Ship-handling Simulator (VBSS) is a key component in the maritime education at the US Merchant Marine Academy. It is primarily used for the training of Bridge Resource Management principals used in Bridge Watchkeeping. This course is required for students to meet USCG licensing requirements and IMO Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW). Upon completion of the course, midshipmen are granted 30 sea days credit. It is also used to support other shiphandling and navigation courses offered at the Academy.

Now Accepting Applications for the Class of 2029