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CASTINE, Maine – Maine Maritime Academy students, officers, and crew will depart Castine on Thursday, May 9, to visit Canadian, U.S., and Caribbean ports as part of the college’s annual two-month training cruise to foreign and domestic ports of call. This year’s training cruise itinerary includes Tampa, Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Baltimore, Maryland; Quebec, Canada; Eastport and Searsport, Maine.
Under the command of Captain Leslie B. Eadie, III, master of the Training Ship State of Maine, the training cruise will commence in port on Sunday, May 5, for pre-sailing preparation. Captain Eadie, of Brewer, Maine, a 1976 graduate of the Academy, assumed command of the vessel in 2012.
Once again, friends, family, and fans of the cruise will be able to follow the ship’s journey through the cruise Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mainemaritimecruise), and the cruise blog at cruise.mainemaritime.edu.
The ship will host a family day sail on the return leg from Searsport to Castine. For this section of the trip, Second Class students may invite their parents to join them. The day sail allows parents the unique opportunity to see the high level of technical proficiency and leadership achieved by the students. The training ship will return to its homeport of Castine, Maine on Sunday, June 30. Training cruise activities will continue in port through Wednesday, July 3.
Due to shipboard security, the vessel will not be open to the general public for tours while in foreign or domestic ports. Well-wishers are welcomed and encouraged to view the vessel departure and return from the Maine Maritime Academy Waterfront.
Students pursuing an officer’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard as a third mate or third assistant engineer are required to train at sea for at least 60 days in each of their first three years at the Academy. Freshmen and juniors sail aboard the MMA vessel while sophomores are assigned to merchant ships worldwide. In recent years, MMA training cruises have taken students to Aruba, Bermuda, Brazil, Belgium, Curaçao, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Poland, Russia, and Spain, as well as other European and Caribbean countries.
The Training Ship has limited internet connectivity while on cruise. Bangor Daily News will continue to donate daily news service, sending state-wide, national and world news, sports, and business articles via email. “We understand the crew’s need to stay connected to their hometowns and the world while they’re away,” said William P. Davis, Online Editor for the Bangor Daily News. BDN Reporter Eric Russell and photographer John Clarke Russ reported from the cruise in 2007.
Complementing the educational focus of MMA’s training cruise, students and staff sailing aboard the State of Maine will work for the seventh consecutive year with the Belfast-based organization, Educational Passages, to launch small sailboats at various locations. Educational Passages utilizes 4.5-foot-long unmanned sailboats to enable the study of ocean wind and current patterns by school or community groups. The boats are made of molded fiberglass and are capable of making long ocean passages. They are crafted to sail indefinitely downwind and will transmit their location and boat speed via a GPS interface for up to one year. The boats rely solely on wind and current power. Initial sea trials were launched from MMA’s schooner Bowdoin in 2008 off the northeast coast of North America.
The 500-foot, 16,000-ton Training Ship State of Maine, originally commissioned as the USNS Tanner, served as a Navy oceanographic research vessel before being converted in 1997 to accommodate the training needs of the college. The fourth vessel to bear the name State of Maine, the ship is a modern, technologically advanced training vessel.
Maine Maritime Academy is a co-educational, public college on the coast of Maine offering 17 degree programs in engineering, management, science and transportation. For more information, visit mainemaritime.edu.