Parents of Cadet Shippers FAQ

  • Cadet shipping is an Academic and USCG requirement for unlimited (deck/engine) license students to acquire sea time and professional experience.
  • It is a training opportunity with a professional, commercial company. Shipping companies are not obligated to take cadets.
  • Cadet shipping provides a training experience and networking, focused on training. Cadets are generally paid a cadet minimum wage which is approximately $35 per day. (This course is not about making money, it is about experiential training in a professional, commercial setting.)
Cadets can expect long days that may include standing watch, maintenance, and working on their school sea project, and we encourage you to discuss with your cadet the importance of dedicating time each day toward completion of this project.
When a company decides to accommodate a cadet, they expect them to work along with the regular crew. The Captain and Chief Engineer are people the cadet will report to for daily duties and special projects. Companies are aware of the sea project requirement and time to work on it is considered when assigning duties.
  • No, shipping companies are not required to take our cadets or to participate in a cadet shipping program. The cadet shipping director works all year to collect possible commercial shipping billets for the summer semester. There is no way to determine how many billets will be secured as the economy and other motivating factors affect companies’ abilities to offer billets for cadets. Billets also may be withdrawn by companies at any time due to these same factors.
  • Most companies provide travel arrangements for cadets to join the vessel. In rare cases, they may need to arrange their own travel. We usually know which companies require cadets to pay in advance so we can help guide students and they can make necessary arrangements.
  • Career services utilizes a ranking system. There are four criteria used: freshman cruise grade, GPA, demerits, and cadet paperwork submission.
  • Cadets have the opportunity to list their top four company preferences and those are granted according to the ranking system. If all choices are already assigned, a similar one is substituted. No choices can be guaranteed, but we make every effort to consider the cadet’s billet preferences. Career services reserves the right to determine all cadet billet assignments including company requests and special sailing circumstances. In addition, we may not assign a cadet billet based on poor ranking or other issues.
Billets start when the company is ready. We provide the summer semester dates to the company but their scheduled crew changes, berth availability, and ship location are some of the factors that determine when cadets are brought on board. Some billets start as soon as school is out, others begin as late as the first week in July. This is entirely determined by the company’s crewing department. We tell cadets to be packed and ready to go on short notice (usually 48 hours or more – but it can be less). They are expected to check email daily for updates from us or the company.
  • Cadets are not assigned to join in worldwide areas that are deemed unsafe. Most companies, like Military Sealift Command, that operate globally, are very careful about making crew changes in safe locations. Directions for joining vessels are given to cadets before they leave.
  • Phone numbers, travel instructions, and 24 hour contact information for this office as well as the vessel and company, when provided, are also given to each cadet.
  • Career Services makes every effort to secure additional, back-up billets, but there are no guarantees. If something is available, we will move the cadet to a new company. In rare cases, other arrangements must be made to complete cadet shipping out of sequence.
  • Career Services does not guarantee a cadet billet, but will make every effort to attain enough billets for each cadet who is eligible to cadet ship.
Students have up to June 30th to withdraw from the class and still be financially reimbursed. Withdrawal is recommended as an incomplete may result in a failing grade and the course will need to be repeated with additional costs. The registrar’s office can help with such withdrawals.
Every effort should be made by the student to remain with their company for the required sea time – 90 days deck and 60 days engine. A sea project must be purchased, completed, and passed in on time. If the cadet has a passing grade after this experience, they will receive academic credit. Sea time management is the cadet’s responsibility. If a cadet ends up short on sea time, they should make a plan with both the Career Services director and the Regimental department to make up this time. Coast Guard sea time requirements must be completed in order to qualify to take the CG License exam. They must pass the Coast Guard exam to complete the program.
We try NOT to let this situation occur but occasionally, due to the way a company crew changes, cadets are asked to stay on board to wait for an appropriate departure port. We ask the cadet to let us know of their situation as soon as possible and provide a return date so we can notify the Academic Dean, regiment, and instructors. They can come back up to one week late but the cadet must inform us so we can help them adhere to the proper school policies.