Three cruises are planned to prepare students for license requirements.
the pandemic made traditional cruise training to multiple ports simply too risky for students in unlimited license programs to attempt last semester. An alternative Fast Cruise (as in “hold fast”) was conducted for our “super-senior” students (those who had completed all academic requirements except for cruise) to obtain the needed sea time while pierside, with a waiver from the Coast Guard.
To get students back on track, three 37-day cruises are planned during calendar year 2021.
Current seniors and sophomores (classes of 2021 and 2023) will sail first, from April 17 – May 23, with special provisions from the Coast Guard for their sea time. While plans do include stops in Port Canaveral, Norfolk, and New York Harbor, these are for logistics only, and no liberty will be authorized. Seniors will sit for Coast Guard exams beginning May 24.
The second cruise will depart July 8 and return August 13 for unlimited license students in the classes of 2022 and 2024 and likely follow the same itinerary as the first cruise, including the no-liberty rule. This group of students did not receive the same sea-time provisions as the classes of 2021 and 2023, so a third cruise is being planned from November 20 – December 26, over the Academy’s winter break.
Students completing their license programs in 2022 will sit for Coast Guard exams January 3.
The unique schedule and three cruise segments ensure all unlimited license students receive significant underway experience while fulfilling their STCW and license requirements.
Two negative Covid tests four days apart prior to each cruise’s departure, with a quarantine in between, will allow us to prevent bringing the virus along as a stowaway.
The summer of 2022 should see a return of the traditional single 74-day training cruise, and with luck, it will include days in ports, with liberty!█
– By Anne Kowalski, Regimental Administrative Assistant
Photos: College Relations, Billy R. Sims