Great Lakes Maritime Academy
The Great Lakes Maritime Academy, located in Traverse City, Michigan, is the only freshwater maritime academy in the United States. In addition, this exclusive school is one of only six maritime academies in America. Licensing is available for the Great Lakes and open-ocean travel.
Dual Purpose Education
Cadets who attend the Great Lakes Maritime Academy receive a pretty dynamic education. Cadets don’t spend all of their time at sea. They take traditional college classes as well. Although there are only four full-time instructors and two adjunct instructors, students also take classes at Ferris State University. This ensures students get a broad education. Students typically study business administration at Ferris State University. This program prepares cadets for management positions.
The Great Lakes Maritime Academy is a co-ed institution. Cadets are required to live on campus for at least two semesters for their first year, if they are under the age of 20.
Some exceptions may be granted to students who have already completed college coursework.
Cadets will participate in sea projects during their time at the Academy. Cadets will usually spend at least 3 semesters at sea.
Cadets are expected to keep up with homework while they are away at sea. One cruise is aboard the Training Ship State of Michigan, and the other two cruises may be on commercial ships on the ocean.
1. Deck Officer – The deck officer program is a popular choice for cadets who want to become pilots and mates on large and small ships. Curriculum is heavily infused with business administration courses to produce a top-quality deck officer with management skills.
2. Engineer Officer – Cadets who are interested in becoming engineer officers focus on the mechanical and electrical systems of vessels. These cadets focus on keeping vessels running smoothly on narrow waterways and in the open ocean.
3. Power Plant Facilities Operator – Students in this program become proficient at taking and reading liquid samples. They will be required to repair various pieces of equipment, and operate chemical-feeding devices.
This public college is truly more business oriented than military oriented. Graduates typically go into commercial ship positions on the Great Lakes or on the ocean. The Academy does not have Naval or Coast Guard Reserve Officers Training Corps programs, but cadets can join the Merchant Marine Reserve or the United States Naval Reserve program. The Great Lakes Maritime Academy is accredited by the U.S. Maritime Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Michigan Department of Education.
Applying to The Great Lakes Maritime Academy
Prospective cadets can apply to the Academy online. There is a comprehensive application form available on their website. Tuition varies between the different programs. Financial aid may be available to students who qualify. The administration office is open five days a week, and staff members are happy to answer questions about any of the programs.
The Great Lakes/oceans maritime industry offers challenging and rewarding opportunities for ship officers. Based on the recent annual employment reports filed by the largest Great Lakes and oceans operators, there is an almost insatiable demand for new officers each year to fill positions aboard their vessels. Industry demand is based on vacancies resulting from officer retirements, shoreside opportunities, fleet expansion and the increasing demand for unlimited tonnage US Flag Officers internationally. The Academy is seeking to admit 60 to 75 quality cadets into our licensing programs each year to meet known demand for officer jobs afloat as well as maritime related jobs ashore. Shoreside opportunities such as transportation management, port management, ship surveying, import/export industries, federal government and ship brokerage positions are in high demand.
Ship officers work eight hours a day, usually following a schedule of four hours on duty and eight off. A deck officer is responsible for the management of the deck department. This includes the navigation/piloting of the ship, loading and unloading of cargo, ship’s business, discipline and well being of crew, vessel safety and security. An engineering officer’s duties include the management of the engineering department aboard ship. This involves engine room business, operation and preventative maintenance of machinery and equipment aboard ship, discipline and well being of crew, vessel safety and security.
The Great Lakes Maritime Academy is designed to prepare deck and engineering officers for highly skilled positions aboard ship in addition to teaching the essential business skills needed to be successful in the world of commercial shipping. Graduation from our maritime college requires determination and dedication, yet the rewards are well worth the effort.