Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program

The Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program (SSMP), formerly the Merchant Marine Reserve (MMR), is an excellent way to assist you in meeting the financial obligations of your college education. The SSMP is designed to train and educate highly qualified students for commissioning and reserve duty service as officers in the U.S. Navy Reserve (USNR).

To be eligible for this program, a student must:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen
  2. Be at least 17 but less than 25 years of age (upon enrollment at MMA)
  3. Be physically qualified
  4. Have a satisfactory record of academic ability and moral integrity
  5. Demonstrate those characteristics desired of a Naval Officer
  6. Have no moral reservation or personal conviction that prevents the bearing of arms
  7. Be enrolled in a Bachelor of Science Degree Program leading to a U.S. Coast Guard Unlimited License:

Marine Engineering Operations
Marine Engineering Technology
Marine Systems Engineering – License Track
Marine Transportation Operations

Students who meet the qualifications above may apply for Midshipman status in the SSMP and apply to participate in the U.S. Maritime Administration’s Student Incentive Payment (SIP) Program. If selected, students are eligible to receive up to $32,000 during their time at school. The SIP Program requires students to obtain a Coast Guard Unlimited License and to apply for, and accept if offered, a Reserve officer commission in the U.S. Navy Reserves. A student who receives SIP incurs an obligation to serve as an employee in the maritime or maritime-related industry, and in times of national emergency, to serve as a Naval Officer aboard a U.S.-flagged merchant vessel.

The program requirements are as follows:

  1. Prior to arriving at MMA, apply for the SIP Program and Midshipman status in the U.S. Navy Reserve
  2. Complete a physical examination to verify eligibility (at Department of Defense expense)
  3. Students must agree in writing to apply for, and accept if offered, a United States Navy Reserve commission
  4. The application process takes up to two months and must be complete prior to the end of the first semester in order to be eligible for SIP during the Freshman year
  5. Continuation in the program is based on continued eligibility (i.e. Minimum GPA 2.5 with satisfactory participation in SSMP program)

Required Courses

NV101 Introduction to Naval Science (Freshman Year)
NV222 Strategic Sealift Officer Course (Sophomore or Junior Year)
NV 402 Leadership and Ethics (Senior Year)
NV100 Naval Science Lab (Each semester in the program)

Minimum Obligation After Graduation
1. Complete a minimum of two weeks of active duty each year for a total of six years, in a merchant marine related billet, with pay and travel/food reimbursement
2. At least 150 days of sailing employment using one’s U.S. Coast Guard License every calendar year for three years and maintain Coast Guard license for three additional years (First 6 of 8 year obligation)
3. Remain in the Inactive Reserve (with no other obligations) for an additional two years (Last 2 of 8 year obligation)

For information about the SSMP, USNR, and SIP Programs at Maine Maritime Academy, contact Commanding Officer, NROTC Unit, Maine Maritime Academy, (207) 326-2352, email