Learning Beyond the Classroom
Cadets who select majors in Marine Engineering and Marine Transportation must complete at least four more Sea Terms. A large majority of the Second Class Cadets fulfill their Second Class Sea term on commercial vessels of the US Merchant Marine. USCG candidates from Marine Engineering and Marine Transportation must accrue no less than 180 approved days in this experience over the four years of matriculation.
Sea Terms are conducted between the two Academic Semesters, in January and February. Cadets register soon after the New Year holiday, and prepare the T.S. Kennedy for sailing, including loading provisions in the freezers and dry stores spaces. The ship sails for foreign ports of the Caribbean Sea three out of four years, and one in four goes to the Mediterranean Sea. At least one of the Caribbean voyages includes the Panama Canal and an Equator crossing. In the past ten years the cadets have visited Barbados, Curacao, Aruba, Spain, Italy, Tenerife, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, England, Madeira, Greece, Cayman Islands, Martinique and Tortola, not to mention great US ports like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans and Charleston.
The Sea Term is not a pleasure cruise. The voyage lasts about 52 days on average, and during that time a cadet will rotate through class and laboratory training at sea, ships operations including deck and engine watches, maintenance and emergency drills. Port visits offer a time to relax, but still includes watch responsibilities and ship's maintenance.