MMA Parents' Association

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
Posted online at www.mmapa.org/MMAPAFAQ.html

The following questions and answers have been culled from the MMAPA email list and personal experience.  Readers should understand that the Academy may make policy or procedural changes that could nullify some of these answers. When in doubt, first check the material the Academy mailed to your cadet. Send corrections, recommended additions or comments to support@maritime-parents.org

 

Miscellaneous Info

Orientation

First Semester

Sea Term

Drug Testing

Youngie Knowledge

Dorm Room Items

General Information

Accuplacer test/MAPS

What to Pack & How to Pack

Laundry

Passports

Computers & Phones

First day

Weekend Liberty

Immunizations

Parking Permits

Parent Orientation

Parent's Weekend, Recognition

Money: How Much & What Type

Watch Duty

Physical Training

Mail: Bills, Grades, Deficiencies

Communications

Regimental Life

Mail and Phone Calls

Moving Out For Holiday Break

Tools & Required Items

Voter Registration

Banks and ATMS

 

Personal Items

Jury Duty

Haircuts

 

Port Liberty and Safety

Lodging

Sea bags & Uniforms

 

Departure and Arrival Days

Transportation

Orientation Graduation

 

 

Lyme Disease

Labor Day Weekend

 

 

Math Requirements 

Advice: Orientation

 

 


Drug Testing

Our son will be an incoming cadet in the fall and needs that required DOT blood test for drug testing.  Our physician does not do that specialized test, nor does anyone around us. Can anyone advise?

 

Posted with permission from Admissions: The following URL is for a website that has a list of approved labs for each state. Not every lab is approved for DOT testing so be sure to check the list before paying to have a test done that will not be acceptable The website is http://www.uscg.mil/hq/gm/moa/serpro.htm

 

The forms are available for FREE on the DOT's web site if you need them (http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/documents.html) , however all DOT certified testing facilities should already have them.

In New Hampshire Health Stop provides DOT compliant drug testing, the cost is $75 complete (forms, collection and testing). I believe that Health Stop is national. If not, I would look for other similiar walk-in clinics offering DOT physicals, since the the DOT drug test is part of the physical.

In Forida , try http://www.aamro.com/florida.html, there is a listing there of all certified Medical Review Officers (DOT certified drug testers) in the state.

You might also want to contact your state's local DOT office.

 

Charlton Memorial Hospital's Work Med/Ocupational Health in Fall River, MA is a DOT drug testing center. They are aware of what MMA needs. It cost $50.00 and you need an appointment.  Telephone # is 508-679-3131 ext 7044

There's also Occupational Health Services At Northwoods Medical Center located at 2005 Bay Street, Taunton, MA 02780
(508) 824-0243 - http://www.mortonhospital.org/getpage.php?name=occupational

NOTE: If you find other local locations that have been successfully used, please let us know so that they may be added to this FAQ.

Accuplacer/MAPS

When and where is the Accuplacer test offered?

 

The Accuplacer exam is used to place students in appropriate math class.

Accuplacer testing is not just recommended, but required prior to enrollment. It will not be given during Orientation or MAPS.  To make arrangements for testing, you must go to the website, read the current Accuplacer information, and e-mail mathtest@maritime.edu for more information or to make arrangements for offsite or onsite testing.  

Many colleges use Accuplacer placement tests, however, students must take MMA's placement test and can only do so by getting the specific password protected website that the secretaries will assist in accessing.  We have had several students take another college's Accuplacer placement test without going through the specific MMA password protected site - another colleges' placement test does not meet MMA's math and English placement testing/enrollment requirement.

There are a limited number of terminals available to take that test so we must  have students make an appointment to take those tests on-campus. Information about the math and English placement tests has been mailed by the Academic Dean to all accepted students.

Math Facts
• Accuplacer testing may be arranged at any time through the academy’s Admissions Office and that early testing is recommended.
• Need 40 or better on Accuplacer test to place in credited (SM-1111) Algebra Trig class
• If you score below 40, you will be placed in Intermediate Algebra
• Intermediate Algebra is currently a non-credited class
• Must pass Intermediate Algebra with a 75 or better to go on Sea Term (below 75 fail; must repeat course)
• Math courses are a pre-requisite for Chemistry and Physics
• Math courses taken off campus must get prior approval; Math courses taken off campus must receive C or better for credits to be accepted; grade received will not be included in computing CQPA
• MMA summer courses need 8-10 students to run a summer course in any subject area


 

Students who will be attending the Maritime Academy Preparatory Seminar (MAPS) will be taking the Accuplacer placement tests during MAPS. As a point of clarification, students attend MAPS only if it was a contingency on the acceptance.  Students required to go to MAPS would have that requirement clearly stated on their letter of acceptance/appointment.

 

My daughter is taking summer classes at MMA. My question is: Since the school does not have a "meal plan" -- "board fee" during the summer months, does anyone have any suggestions as to how much money will be needed for meals during the summer? Does the dining hall have an average price per meal? Does the dining hall keep the same hours in the summer?

 

(Prices might be outdated) Meals are generally available from Sunday evening through Friday noon (infrequently all seven days).  The summer meal rate is Breakfast - $5.50, Lunch - $6.50, and Dinner - $7.50.  Cadets may purchase $30 worth of meal tickets for $24 (a 20% discount).  There are restaurants that deliver pizza or Chinese.

 

What clothing will my son/daughter need for MAPS?

 

The information my son received said to bring (to MAPS) a T-183 calculator, sweatshirt, personal toiletries, shower shoes, underwear, swim suit, 5 pair athletic socks, running shoes and pillow.  Optional bathrobe and small room fan.  Bed linens are supplied (pillow case, couple of sheets, towels and a blanket).  Looks like they advance them, from their sea bag, a baseball cap, 2 t-shirts, 2 athletic shorts, 2 MMA polo shirts, and 2 beige shorts.  Maybe a belt.

Computers & Phones

What is the best computer to bring: a desktop or laptop?

 

Beginning in Fall 2006, MMA requires freshmen to have a "notebook" computer (eg laptop).  Go to Information Technology Services on the MMA site (under Administration) for information. No computers or phones are allowed during orientation.

 

From the MMA bookstore:

 

Through an agreement with Dell and Follett, the MMA Bookstore is pleased to offer notebook computers at discount pricing. Two models are offered, the Latitude 620 and the Latitude 820. An optional upgrade package is available for each model, for a total of 4 configurations. Contrary to the misinformation recently circulated, both models are brand new additions to the Dell line, replacing the older Latitude 610/810 models. The MMA Bookstore is committed to providing the best products and service to our customers, and we encourage you to compare prices and specifications. An educated consumer is our best customer, and we are confident that we are providing the best value available. In addition to the computers, a wide variety of software packages are available at a substantial academic discount through the MMA Bookstore/Follett website. Please contact the bookstore at 508-830-6488 for more information and pricing information.

 

Advice from a cadet

 

When you buy your computer, don't buy it with software pre-loaded or, if you do, be SURE to get the disks so you can reinstall everything if your computer crashes. An anti-virus and anti-spyware program is essential!! A good one available free online is Avast, get the home edition. You have to register it every year but it is free. Microsoft also has Windows Defender available for free for downloading from their website, and does a very good job of protecting computers running Windows XP or newer from malicious software known as Malware and Spyware.

 

Software (MS Office for example) that comes preloaded on a computer is usually bundled by the manufacturer and unless specifically requested during purchase, you will never get the software CDs.  What you will get is a "recovery" CD which will recover a computer back to factory settings which includes all of the programs/ software/ operating system.

As far as getting a virus from a network, as long as the computer has a current and actively running antivirus package installed, and is up to date with virus definitions, you reduce the chances of your computer becoming infected. The new viruses are now targeting security flaws in Microsoft Windows, Instant Messaging (IM) and peer to peer (P2P) services such as AIM, Morpheus and similar chat and filesharing programs.

Norton Antivirus or McAfee are recommended by most computer manufacturers, but require an annual renewal fee in order to keep them updated with current virus definitions.

 

Is there a specific person to contact regarding telephones on campus (related to land lines, that is). I know there are two lines in the dorm rooms.  What is the cost for this service? Are local calls free and long distance calls are billed to the student? Does it really make sense to have a landline for phones if the student has a cell phone?

 

Your cadet will have full information on how to get phone service. Short answer is that they get free incoming calls to their dorm room line, and if they want outgoing service, they set it up and get billed for it. My cadet used his cell phone for outgoing calls and put an answering machine on the incoming line (and no ringer). The line is there regardless. There is also a line for internet access at every bed/desk.

 

Are freshmen allowed cell phones after orientation?

 

Yes, but they can only use them in the evening after mandatory study hours. Verizon and T-mobile seem to get the best reception on campus.

 

My son went to school with a Cingular plan and found it only worked in ideal weather standing in the middle of campus.  He switched to Verizon and has not had any problems using it in his room.  He has a phone in the room to receive calls and make local calls.  He turns off the ringer and keeps the answering machine on during study hours - although we do not call during those specified times.  The numbers for the phones are printed on the sides of the wall jacks.  Since they are not used frequently by most cadets - it took us about two weeks to find out the number was printed on the side of the jack.

 

After orientation, when the 4/c return to MMA with all their extraneous gear it's a good idea to have their name etched into computers, calculators, power cord converters, etc. If you haven't done it before orientation, Labor Day weekend is a good time to label everything, as the bags get packed.

Parking Permits

I noticed on the MMA site that they are accepting applications for parking permits; $150 for the year. That's not bad if it saves us a lot four hour round trips. But, some questions: Can c/c 's apply for parking permits? Is there any free parking on campus, maybe by the gymn? Can they park at the Bourne Marina for free?

 

Parking permits are awarded on a space-available basis. C/C's are not eligible to apply for one until the Friday before they are recognized, in October. There is no free parking for cadets. They have to pay for the privilege. There is no longer free parking at the marina. The marina has reverted back to the Town of Bourne.

 

Although the gym lot is more expensive than the gravel lot - my son felt the extra money was well worth it when carrying things and accessing things stored in the car - especially since we live out of state.

Watch duty

Does everyone get Thanksgiving Break? (or will some have watch?)

 

Part of the program at MMA includes 8 hour Holiday watches onboard the training ship. Prior to the holiday, the cadets have an opportunity to volunteer for a watch. After the voluntary sign up period ends, the remaining watches are filled through a lottery. Cadets who live far away or have family or work responsibilities are urged to sign up for a watch. Some, however, chose to take their chances with the lottery, hoping they don't get an assignment. Once the remaining watches are drawn and the watch bill is published, the cadets on the bill "own" that  watch and are responsible to report for their duty assignment.

 

My son found it was not worth taking chances with Holiday watch since we live 7 hours from campus.  He found it best to sign up early for a convenient Holiday watch that suited his travel schedule.  That way he was not surprised by a watch in the middle of vacation and needing to find a way back to school for watch or to find someone to pay to cover the watch.

 

Holiday watch: Thanksgiving or Christmas. Policy is you should only get one or the other; unfortunately, this  may not be the case with some upper class such as engineering students as only they can stand certain watches in the engine room. As far as freshmen are concerned, they will have either Thanksgiving or Christmas.

 

Some cadets will take $ to take the watches of those who are far from home.  Not cheap, but few alternatives.

 

Does anyone have any info on watch and if you can call in sick or what happens if cadet is unable to make it there because of snow?

 

The cadet should call the academy at 508-830-5000 x1500 (this is one extension you cannot dial directly from off campus). This gets you the quarterdeck on the ship. The person that answers gives you the number to call the ASDO, the officer in  charge, the paid staffer and company officer whose turn it is to take these calls today. That officer takes your information and says, "Thank you for letting me know,  You have 20 days restriction and 100 demerits, and we will call for your  replacement." Cadets know this already. If for some reason you have to call, your cadet is too injured or very seriously ill, for example, you could call the academy and go thru Security to obtain this information.

You might have heard that there is nothing going on aboard ship and so watch time is wasted time. But, gee, I dunno, what if there were a fire (the power is on)? Or something busted and the engine compartment flooded? And there was nobody there to see? Or a line parted and she started to drift out on the tide? Or she banged too hard on the dock? The cadets who stand watch have experience in these things, even if it's only in recognition, and the campus security police do not. How unhappy would you be if your cadet's mandatory Sea Term was cancelled, for him/her to make up some other time and thus necessitating all sorts of adjustments in the academic schedule for the next three years, because of something like this?

If a cadet who needs to stand watch lives only 45 minutes away, they presumably have access to local weather reports. At what point is it reasonable to say, "Gee, this could get a bunch worse, better LEAVE EARLY," as in maybe hours and hours early?   Or, "Maybe I should call my buddy who lives even closer and stay with him tonight so I can make watch on time tomorrow." Someday in the future this sort of forward thinking may prevent him/her from missing a ship entirely, something that would be taken very poorly indeed by a ship's master. Not everyone learns this by being stuck in Nigeria. Being late or watch at Buzzards Bay may be enough.

Holiday watch is tough duty for some.  Bad weather makes it more so.  This is part of their future life, as well.  Important that you leave this to your Cadet to resolve, its a key element in their growth and training--they've been told who to contact.  Ship's watch is not a whim of the Academy, it's mandated by Federal law and is a critical function in port as well as at sea.

Another thing the cadets know is that they are not ordered but very strongly encouraged to take advantage of the racks (bunks), food, heads, and showers on the ship by coming in early or staying late. They are told that if they are more than 1/2 hr away and getting off watch late, they SHOULD stay over til morning and get some sleep. This is not an order. No one ever stops them from coming early or staying late.

 

As to "what to do on watch," my cadet tells me that because he spent four hours on watch studying the lifeboat commands he was the only 4/c out of 20 in his group that knew them when they did lifeboat drill the next day. He also one watch spent time tracing all the lines which came in extremely handy the next time there was a malfunction and they had to put it right. And it was something else the engineer noted when the 4/c knew an answer. He says that watch time is only wasted if you choose to waste it. You can choose to make it productive. You can teach somebody else something, you can ask someone to teach you something. Most of all, you can learn the ship-- what's the most direct route from your berthing hold to the mess deck? What's the fastest way to the lifeboats? Where's the best study spot?

 

I'm a retired chief engineer having sailed for 20 years to Alaska in all kinds of weather.  I'm also a father to a freshman who had the 4 to midnight on the ship Sunday night. David told me he had watch Sunday night and all I said to him was" watch the weather".  He made me proud as he planned the whole trip himself. He made sure he had a plan, communications, warm clothes, extra food, and a sleeping bag and pillow to sleep on the ship after watch and wait the storm out.  He even planned on having to stay and stand additional watches should others not be able to make it in the storm or help out if needed.  He left at 10:00 for the normally two hour drive to ensure that he made it in time. He reported in at key points along the way.  He stood his watch making sure everything was safe.  He even had adventure as the shore power went out in the middle of his watch.  He slept on the ship and reported in at key points on his way home arriving Monday afternoon.  His maturity, sense of responsibility, and organization made me very proud.

At sea keeping a good watch is paramount.  The lives of your shipmates, the safety of the environment, the ship and cargo depend upon a vigilant watch no matter what the weather.  Bad weather only makes the watch that much more important.  If one of my engineers missed watch because of bad weather he would have been "packing his bags". My only point is that some things my not seem important to us "parents" but they are very important to a cadet wanting to become a ships officer and an institution that must instill this sense of responsibility in that cadet. Obviously if there is immanent danger common sense must be used but balance that with what the real intent of the watch is. Let the cadet decide what is important and safe to him/her.  You will probably be pleasantly surprised.

Regimental Life

Chain of command   STCW   Color blindness test  Military service   Signal flags  Discipline

Chain of command

I wish someone would give us lay people a lessons in the hierarchy of command "titles" and cadet designations.

 

COMCAD is short for "Commandant of cadets," or by extension, anyone in his office hierarchy; you can think of it sorta like the dean of students. There is also an academic dean, a VP for student services, someone who works on sea term placements for juniors, and so forth.

The Regiment is all the cadets who live on campus and wear the uniform. You can't be in the regiment if you don't do orientation. Commuter students are not in the regiment. Non-regiment students can't do Sea Term. Company officers are adults, employees of the school, one for each company.

The regiment has regimental staff, cadets with 5 bars on their collars. All are 1/c (first class, seniors). They are the leaders of the regiment of cadets... sometimes called "reggie" commander, XO (executive officer), TRO (training and retention officer), etc.   There is also a cadet chief engineer, chief deckie, and chief every-other-major.

There are 6 companies. Each company has cadet officers, with four or three bars. You met the company commander and the company training and retention officer at orientation. There are others in company staff.

Cadets are designated as follows:

C/C - Cadet Candidate, A cadet that has not yet been "recognized". Recognition occurs in mid-October
4/C - Fourth Class Cadet, Freshman
3/C - Third Class Cadet, Sophomore
2/C - Second Class Cadet, Junior
1/C - First Class Cadet, Senior

 

My son has found that patience and accountability have been two of the essential elements.  Ask when you need answers, exercise reasonable patience in waiting for answers and follow up respectfully if the answers are not provided timely.  Always approach the squad leaders first as they generally have answers readily available or will at least be able to point you in the right direction.

STCW

What is STCW?

 

STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watch Keeping for Seafarers)  is a set of standards established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) under which MMA must comply. All cadets in the US Coast Guard license programs will have to meet the STCW standards. They are a detailed series of practical demonstrations of competence that each cadet must accomplish in front of a certified examiner. The USCG (M Division) is responsible for assuring that the US is in compliance with STCW.

Color blindess test

My son just learned that he is color blind. He was told that he cannot enter MMA because of this. Is this true?

 

The Coast Guard requires that all persons in the licensed majors (deck, engine) have full color vision regardless of educational background (maritime academy, service academy, or plain old rising thru the ranks). This is a safety requirement, as lights and controls are color-coded by international convention. The standard test for this they require if there is any question is called the Farnsworth Lantern Test. The Coast Guard Academy has the Farnsworth Lantern test. They will provide to a cadet at no charge but there is a catch. You need to apply to one of the federal schools (Merchant Marine, Coast Guard, Naval, etc) to get this freebie. When applying to a federal school they provide you with the necessary health forms (one of them being the Farnsworth Lantern Test form). You need this form from the DOD before the CGA will perform this test. It just so happened my son had applied to Merchant Marine Academy in NY and received all of the health forms including the Farnsworth Lantern form. CGA will not perform this test on any civilian nor any maritime cadet who is not enlisted in the service or not applying to a federal school.
That said, there are several majors at MMA that do not require color vision. A young person can have a wonderful maritime-related career without being in a Coast Guard-licensed specialty.

Would cadets at MMA be subject to Homeland Security draft in the event of some sort of emergency?

 

The federal government has no special power over maritime academy cadets, except those who have signed contracts to be in one of the commissioning programs; the National Guard, the Army ROTC, the U.S.M.C. Platoon Leader Course, the U.S. Navy SIP or BDCP, and the U.S.C.G. MARGRAD programs. Cadets in commissioning programs make up about 15% of the cadet population at MMA. The rest of the cadets are no different than civilian students in the eyes of the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Defense. How likely is it that the federal government would take maritime academy students in the middle of their training for a national emergency...not. Even service academy cadets and midshipmen during WWII were allowed to finish their training before commissioning. (Sometimes the training was sped up, but they did finish.) We have had two cadets leave this semester because their National Guard reserve units were called up, but that is a different issue than the one you asked about. (Note: MMA policy is that any cadet who is recalled to active duty in the middle of the semester receives a full refund for the whole semester or a full credit for when he/she returns to school.)
The only problem that might occur if a national emergency occurred would be if the Federal Government wanted to take our ship for a floating barracks somewhere. That happened once before when Empire State was taken from SUNY Maritime. They got it back in time for their sea term, but would have borrowed ours if necessary.

What are the meanings of signal flags?


Go to this web site:  http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/flags.htm
Or click on SIGNAL FLAGS-3.pdf   Individual flags may be copied and pasted to any desired location.

What's a TAP and a MAST?

 

Mast hearings are when the kids who get tapped get heard and disciplined. Infractions and miscreants are listed on the Tap Sheet; Mast hearings are held periodically. You are always welcome to call Capt. Hansen and discuss this with him, with the understanding that he can speak only in generalities and you will never receive any information about specific incidents or penalties for your cadet.

Class 3 Mast: Low intensity, kids who are tapped for things like haircuts, room inspections, 4/c playing music in their rooms, uniform infractions, minor stuff like that. The Mast hearing is held by the company officer and the cadet company commander. Penalties for Class 3 Masts are extra duty and demerits (given together: 1 hr of ED:2 demerits)

Class 2 Mast: Medium intensity, heard by Sam White, the adult in charge of discipline, and the regimental cadet discipline officer. These are more serious, but don't rise to the level of potential suspension or dismissal. Penalties are ED/demerits and restriction. You can get a Class 2 Mast hearing if your Class 1 offense gets compounded-- as in, they tap you for a haircut and you seriously mouth off at the upperclassman who tapped you, or you get tapped for your room being a mess and you throw your shaving cream can at the rate.

Class 1 Mast: for really serious stuff-- assault, major theft or property damage, major academic offenses like plagiarism/cheating, etc. These are heard by Sam and the regi officer and the VPs and maybe even the pres.  Penalties can include suspension or dismissal from the academy.

Voter registration

My 4/c reports there is a voter registration drive to participate in the national election. How will this affect his legal residency?

 

First, voter registration drives have existed for on campus for the past four years. Some were more successful than others; all had some sort of prize or enticement to get cadets to participate in the election process. The intent was to encourage good citizenship. Neither a particular party nor candidate was ever recommended. This time there is much more activity than normal because we have incorporated some competition between companies (involving food and football tickets- prime motivators in this age group) and the national presidential ticket battle is receiving intense media coverage Second, it matters not where one votes. Only the act of voting counts. Credit for a cadet's company will accrue whether the cadet votes here in Buzzards Bay or by absentee ballot. We have had registrations here on campus because most voters want to go into a voting booth and pull a lever. Having voted by absentee ballot when on active duty, I can tell you that the absentee ballot process feels very different Third, according to law, a student may register to vote where he/she attends school, and then may change back to their home town immediately after the election. There should be no question about scholarships, home of record, or in state/out of state status based solely on where a student voted in an election. Obviously, if a cadet from Maryland, for example, registers in Bourne, they will not have the ability to vote for Maryland state officials but may vote for the local Massachusetts officials (US Representative and Senator, Massachusetts local Senator and Representative, even local town positions such as school committee. We will hold a Candidates Night to introduce the local people and local issues to the cadets).

 

To answer the question about voter registration. Yes, there are restrictions. You can only be registered to vote in ONE location. If you are already registered in your hometown, and then register at MMA in Buzzards Bay, your hometown registration will be terminated by the state. It makes more sense to keep the hometown registration and vote by absentee ballot. Your local city/town election department will provide proof of registration if requested. voter registration card). And also proof of voting by Absentee Ballot. If a person is already registered, it makes for a lot of unnecessary paperwork behind the scenes, just for a steak dinner contest. The important part is to vote, and not just for a presidential candidate. Chances are, that the future local, county and state officials from your home area will have more of an impact on you than the local Buzzards Bay officials after you leave the area.

 

I'm glad MMA is getting the cadets organized to vote in the presidential election, but watch the residency requirements and impact on scholarship or loan. We're from out of state, and our scholarship fund requires that the student's legal address remain in our home state, which means voting via absentee ballot rather than voting in MA (I believe it still counts toward the company competition, as long as the cadet can show proof of voter registration in the home state). You might want to check your scholarship or loan requirements and inform your son or daughter. I found a web site for the League of Women Voters in MA that spells out the restrictions: if you search for that, you'll see. As I recall, he cannot be registered in two places. On the MMA web site info about voting, it does state that proof of registration at home is enough to count for company points.

Jury duty

Our 3/C received a Jury Duty notice in his mailbox at school.  All though he resides in Conn. he still must report  to a Massachusetts Court House. He can't afford to miss any classes at school.  I know Jury Duty is an obligation, but can't they leave the students alone. Our son just lost 2 days because of a death in our family, and really, he cannot lose any more class time.  Any suggestions on how he can get released from this Jury Duty?

 

I called the Commonwealth office in charge of this sort of thing and they say that any student in a college in MA is eligible for jury duty regardless of home address or voter registration status. The colleges submit the names to the town / city hall where the college is, and the summons would go to the student at the college address. Any jury summons can be put off once without giving a reason, but not twice...when they call you the second time, you go unless you have a really good reason.

 

MA web site: www.mass.gov (go to government, citizen involvement, jury duty)

 

Nobody ever wants to hear it, but sometimes "Rules are Rules."  There's a reason that the Five Year Plan isn't an uncommon track.  All kinds of things can happen taking cadets away from statuatory mandated training/class time. As far as jury duty goes, I'd show up in my blacks (if MMA has no problem with it) and plan on being back in time for lunch.  Uniform when defendant=BAD  Uniform when trying to get out of jury duty=GOOD. 

Lodging

Where should we stay when we visit MMA?

 

The parents association web site keeps an updated list of nearby accommodations, many of which offer discounts to MMA families. You will also find yourself among kindred spirits, either other families visiting for a big event, or lodging establishment staff who are familiar with MMA.

 

Are there any discounts for cadets in Boston?

 

Mariners House offers rooms at a discount for cadets who have proof of active maritime service. Reservations are accepted via phone (617) 227-3979 or 1-877-SEA-9494.

Mariners House underwent a complete renovation in 1999, adding modern amenities, elegantly-appointed common areas and four floors of unique guest rooms.

The common areas of the inn have been restored to their original state, combining nautical artifacts and authentic antique furniture with the modern necessity of a public computer with Internet access. Three full meals are served daily in the renovated cafeteria, and unique rooms, also furnished with antiques and all with private baths, start at $50 per night including a full breakfast.. Guests must produce proof of active maritime service in order to book a room.

Founded in 1847 by the Boston Port and Seamen's Aid Society, Mariners House was and remains a respite where seafarers and their families can find comfortable, affordable lodging and meals, professional guidance and religious counseling. In addition to the inn itself, Mariners House offers a breadth of services designed specifically to address the needs of professional mariners.

Located in the historic North End of Boston, the antiquity and charm of this registered Historic Landmark remains intact while completely refurbished rooms with private baths provide modern, comfortable accommodations at very reasonable rates. Three full meals are prepared every day, and shopping, entertainment and restaurants to suit every taste are available at nearby Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the Boston waterfront and the surrounding North End neighborhoods. Mariners House is located adjacent to the Paul Revere House on the famous Freedom Trail, and convenient to the waterfront, theatre and retail districts, as well as most of the union halls and the U.S. Coast Guard Regional Exam Center.

Seafarers from all corners of the globe make up the clientele at Mariners House. The atmosphere is one of camaraderie and mutual respect, where guests can intermingle with contemporaries in a welcoming and understanding climate.

Whatever their rank, everyone is treated like a captain at Mariners House.

This quote from a parent: "I also make a BIG PLUG for Mariner's House in Boston, where our cadets can stay at a greatly reduced rate, and is a hop skip and a jump from the Metro, or Blue Line or whatever the fast subway in Boston is called. We utilised their services several times, and the Executive Director is a wonderful man, also a (retired) Coastie, and the place is clean, shiny and the best damn value in Boston."

Transportation

How do the cadets that live out of state/country get from the airport to the school? And is there any local public transportation for cadets without cars?

 

Airport Transportation - Bonanza buses leave from Logan airport about every hour and a half. they stop at South Station in Boston before heading to the Bourne stop, at the Tedeschi's grocery across the bridge, for about an 1.5 hour ride. From TF Green airport in Providence, they leave on odd hours and you must transfer at the Providence bus station to get the bus to Bourne. It is about a 2 hour ride. A round trip to Logan from Bourne is $36, and to TF Green is $42. More info: www.bonanzabus.com  .(Just a note, Bonanza bus has been bought by Peter Pan Bus lines. Check the website for schedules as they may change during the year). Wareham taxi charges $10 for a ride from the Bourne bus stop to MMA. Their # is 508-295-5459 (a very useful # to have in your cell phone, i have found) Providence has AMTRAK running south toward New York, as well.

Local Transportation - In addtion to local taxi companies and rides from cadets that have their own vehicles, GATRA (Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority) offers the OWL (Onset Wareham Link) public transportation system. However, be aware that OWL service is NOT available on Sundays. Routes, pricing and other relevant information is located on their website. OWL provides "flag down" service, which is to say that passengers may board the OWL along the route by waving to the driver as the vehicle approaches.

Lyme disease

Cadets need to know that ticks are prevalent on Cape Cod, some carry Lyme disease.

 

Lyme Disease begins with the onset of spring. I have a son who runs cross country and they run under the high tension wires along Rte 6 and Rte 25. Along the canal and around the beach areas of the campus is loaded with deer ticks as the weather warms up. Those cadets who like to sit along the banks of canal enjoying the sun or go fishing may want to take prevention measures by wearing tick repellant. Cadets need to be aware that their flu like symptoms may not be the flu but symptoms from a deer tick bite.  Because these ticks are so tiny, they resemble a freckle, folks don't take notice. Go untreated, the disease can be deadly. For more info:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme/ld_transmission.htm
http://www.mass.gov/dph/cdc/epii/lyme/lymehp.htm

Math Requirements

A message from Admiral Gurnon - December 2006.

 

First, all need to know that MMA uses the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education Admission Standards for State Colleges; but we have begun a transition to the higher, University Standard for admission this year. The two standards are composed of a somewhat complex formula that takes into consideration SAT scores, high school grades, and a wide variety of other factors. I must also point out that MMA has the highest freshman retention rate and the highest graduation rate of any public college in New England, even though 53% of our population are engineers (where the usual freshman drop out rate exceeds 50%), every takes Calculus, and all of our students are in Bachelor of Science degree programs, so there is evidence that the admissions team knows how to pick students who are able to succeed here. Once a student is accepted, THEN they are given the accuplacer test. The law says that MMA can NOT use the results of that test in admissions decisions. Years of experience have given the MMA Academic Division a formula for placing cadets in the appropriate section for Intermediate Algebra, Algebra Trig, or Calculus I. A few years ago we tried an experiment. Students who did very poorly on the accuplacer test were placed in a lower section of math called "Elementary Algebra". Like Intermediate Algebra, this was a no credit course, but the thought was that students who were having difficulty would progress through elementary, to intermediate and then to algebra trig. The results were dismal. Students assigned to elementary algebra were automatically an entire year behind their peers. They had a poor success rate in elementary algebra, they felt they were falling far behind their friends, they disliked taking two "no credit" remedial college courses, they gave up and left the academy in large numbers. MMA is not designed to do extensive remedial course work - that is rightly the purview of the community college system - so we abandoned the experiment. The students who tested poorly on the accuplacer are now put into a smaller section, with the best teachers, that meet more frequently during the week (four times vice three). We also dramatically increased the number and caliber of the tutors and the professional staff in the learning resource center. While the results are better and show an improving trend, there are obviously still significant issues with mathematics at MMA and we continue to work at a solution. Another fact needs clarification: a careful review of the head count at the learning resource center shows that the professors and tutors are idle for many days of the week and then they are swamped on the nights before a test. Although we ensure all possible tutors are available on those nights, cramming at the last minute is obviously not a good academic strategy for success. As to the accommodations during the winter; the food service staff is aboard ship and the economy of scale that allows MMA to offer great variety and wholesome food to our cadets at a low price is gone with them. The cost of running a small operation out of the dining hall or Fantail was prohibitive. The medical staff is likewise aboard ship and while sick bay in 4th Company is not staffed, there are adequate local medical facilities available for emergency needs. Our trained public safely team (police officers, all with first aid and first responder skills and some with EMT qualifications) remains on duty throughout the winter. I hope that this has explained well enough, some of the many complexities that we deal with every day in our attempt to provide the best possible educational experience for your children at the lowest possible price. I do know that the staff absolutely loves what they do every day and they do it to the best of their ability. If we fall short of expectations in some areas, we will try harder, but there are both fiscal and physical limitations that come into play. Best wishes to all for a happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year. I can say with confidence that this year is better than last...and next year will be better than this. Regards, Rick Gurnon

 


Orientation

Youngie Knowledge    What to pack, how to pack      First day   Parent Orientation   Physical training
Mail and phone calls   Banks and ATMs   Haircuts   Seabags & Uniforms     Graduation   Labor Day weekend   Advice

Youngie Knowledge

What is the "Youngie Knowledge" that my son should learn this summer?

 

This is what was on the web page last year under youngie knowledge. Also, when they arrive they will get a book of approx 50 pp (small pages, and it will include more than this (like all the cadet officers, which of course aren't known yet) and other stuff, but this should get them started.

THE MISSION OF THE ACADEMY
The Mission of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy is to graduate young men and women to serve the maritime industry as licensed officers or to serve the transportation, engineering, environmental, and industrial interests of the Commonwealth and the Nation.  The Academy supports the national defense by commissioning of officers int eh U.S. Merchant Marine and the U.S. Armed Forces.  The Academy believes in learning through application and requires students to spend a portion of their academic program at sea or in internships or cooperatives.  Resident life is regimented, instilling the cadets honor, responsibility, discipline, and leadership.  A complementary mission is to provide lifelong learning opportunities, particularly for those in the marine industries and to serve the Commonwealth and region furthering its maritime interests.

THE MASSACHUSETTS MARITIME ACADEMY HONOR CODE:
Cadets do not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate these acts from others.

STEAM CYCLE
1.  steam drum, 2. dry pipe, 3. super heater, 4. main steam stop valve, 5, bulkhead stop valve, 6. strainer, 7. throttles, 8. high pressure turbine, 9. low pressure turbine, 10. main condenser, 11. hot well, 12. main condensate pump, 13. air ejector inter condenser, 14. air ejector after condenser, 15. first stage heater, 16. dc heater, 17. main feed pump, 18. economizer, 19. check valve, 20. stop valve, 21. steam drum
 
THIRTY-SIX PARTS OF A LIFEBOAT
1.  bailer                                    19. painter
2.  bilge pump                            20. provisions
3.  boat hooks                            21.  radar reflector
4.  buckets                                22. rainwater collector
5.  can opener                            23.  sea anchor
6.  compass                               24. searchlight
7.  dipper                                   25.  seasickness kit
8.  drinking cup                          26.  signal smoke
9.  fire extinguisher                     27.  signal, hand flare
10.  first aid kit                           28.  signal, parachute II
11.  fishing kit                            29. skates and fenders
12.  flash light                            30.  survival instruction
13.  hatchet                               31.  table of lifesaving
14.  heaving line                         32.  thermal protection
15.  jackknife                             33.  tool kit
16.  ladder                                 34.  towline
17.  mirrors, signaling                 35.  water
18.  oars                                    36.  whistle

SHIPS EMERGENCY SIGNALS
Shipboard Emergency Signals are promulgated by the Master of the Training Ship in ENTERPRISE INSTRUCTIONS 5-85.  The below listed signals will be sounded in the event of a drill or actual emergency on board the Training Vessel.  For drill purposes during Orientation only, the ship's whistle will not be sounded
Fire and collision: continuous blast on the ship's whistle and sounding of the general alarm bells for a period of at least ten (10) seconds.
Abandon Ship: More than six (6) short blasts and one (1) long blast on the ship's whistle and the same signal on the general alarm bells.
Man Overboard: Three (3) prolonged blasts on the ship's whistle and the same signal on the general alarm bells.
Dismissal from Fire and Collision Stations: Three (3) short blasts on the ships whistle and the same signal of the general alarm bells.
 
CLASSIFICATIONS OF FIRE
Class A- Ordinary combustibles, wood, parer, wool, things that when burned leave ash.  The most common Class A extinguishing agent is water, which extinguishes a fire by absorbing the heat.
Class B- Flammable and combustible liquids and gasses, alcohol, gasoline, fuel oil; things that cannot be cooled by water to effect extinguishment.  The best way to extinguish a fuel fire is to shut off the source.  Extinguishing agents which may be used, are dry chemical, carbon dioxide, and foam.
Class C- Fires involving energized electrical equipment.  Conductors or appliances.  Nonconducting extinguishing agents must be used for protection of crew members.
Class D- Combustible metal fires, requires special extinguishing agents. Common agents like water and dry chemical may react making the fire burn hotter and more violent.  The spelling of most D-E materials indicate that they end with the letters IUM, such as magnesium or sodium.
Class K- is a rating given to wet chemical extinguisher used to extinguish fires in a kitchen setting.  The chemical reacts with hot oils to foam and extinguish the fire.  The foam turns into soap through saponification.

What to Pack & How to Pack

FOLLOW THE LIST YOU RECEIVED FROM THE ACADEMY. IF YOU DON'T HAVE IT, GET ANOTHER COPY. IT'S ESSENTIAL. CHECK AND RECHECK TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE EVERYTHING.

 

ID Card:  The only piece of advice I have for next year...Something that wasn't on the list: An identification card is needed as an ID for the drug test they will have first thing on arrival.  The Academy may add the ID requirement at the end of the drug testing paragraph or even separately for next years list.

 

Should they have their checks for books and passport in their duffle bags?

 

Yes, because they will be buying things. They will have a secure place to lock up the passport, or they can bring it back later.

 

Does anyone knows whether the 4 flat sheets should be long or regular in length?  Also, can the sweatshirt and jackknife be ordered online through the bookstore?

 

You may have trouble finding a twin extra long flat sheet.  I did.  I do know  that a twin extra long mattress is supposed to be 80". The regular size twin mattress is 75".  When you buy sheets, don't knock yourself out looking for that twin extra long flat one.  The regular size flat sheet will do just fine.  As far as the pocket knife goes, I bought my daughter's at Walmart.  Less  expensive. The sweatshirt?  Well unless they are going to bring a plain grey one, you kind of have to buy it from the bookstore. Plan on spending $35.00 to  $40.00 on it, they are expensive.  I do not know any other place to get one with MMA on it.

 

The 4 flat sheets are regular length. Before orientation last year I was told by someone in the student life office that they could use fitted sheets-- as my son found out they can NOT without having problem When I talked to someone at the bookstore about the jackknife I was told they did not have them, just go to a sports dept in Wal Mart or similar store. My son used a plain gray sweatshirt for orientation, I think most did. While on the subject of orientation, have your son or daughter arrive wearing a plain t-shirt type of shirt-no sayings, clothing names, etc., the less to call attention to them the better on that first day. Especially do not wear MMA logo shirt-they haven't "earned" it yet.

 

Another source for the jack knife is Ocean State Job Lot - They have a fairly large selection of Swiss Army knives.

 

When getting a pocket knife make sure you know the maximum blade length allowed by state law.  Also if flying in make sure it is in checked baggage. Electric shavers are prohibited because they can, LOL. No fans or other electrics like radios, tvs, refrigerators, or anything else except the computer (and this last only after orientation is over).   He won't have a place for a cordless iron to be plugged in and charging, so a regular one would be better.

 

I still doubt that your c/c will be able to use fitted sheets without being hassled at morning inspection - they want to see those square corners! I was also told they would be allowed last year, but when my son used them  he was told they might be allowed, but unless he wanted to be hassled every day, don't use them. Fans are allowed after orientation and so are electric razors.

 

The sweatshirt that was required for my son's Orientation was a plain, unhooded, regular sweatshirt. The emphasis here is on PLAIN with a very small MMA logo. Cadet candidates will be taken to task if they buy a more decorated one.

 

How important is it to follow the list exactly, in terms of numbers of socks, underwear, etc?

 

As for the socks, underwear, hangers, etc. that have numbers specified...stick with the exact number for now. They can always have a few extra after orientation. It is better to stick with what is specified because you never know what the current group of senior cadet officers and squad leaders will choose to pick up on. Also, remember your C/Cs have to carry all the gear..so don't give them more than they really need.

 

Do send extra boxers, socks and white tee's Laundry wasn't done. I was given this heads up by upper class cadet parents and my c/c really was glad he had extras. Everything else.... stick to the list. Also we packed a hockey goalie bag - that fit everything and he was able to carry it on his back.

 

I asked my 1/c-orientation-cadre-guy and he says that extra sox and underwear is a good thing. The cadets are allowed one drawer/box that is not inspected and extras can go in there while the specified number are on display in the appointed places. He ended up leaving the "display" items untouched all year and living out of the drawer.

 

And if you recommend that your cadet/candidates start to spray their feet with antiperspirant (not deodorant) at bedtime for the month before they come, and then bring some for a few times a week ever after, they will have far fewer problems with the damp feet that are inevitable with the patent-leather/plastic uniform shoes.  And always change sox at lunch.

 

Buy cheap tee-shirts--they get used for emergency floor cleaning and shoe/metal polishing. Buy them smaller than what they usually wear because uniforms fit tighter than most of their civvies. Wal-Mart white tube socks worked well for orientation--they're long and disposable. They also worked for shining stuff. We bought good socks for after orientation. Liquid shower soap was the best thing we happened to send. It can be put in their hair and squeezed out into their hands before starting their <<maybe>> 20 second shower.

 

I believe on the list for orientation it specifies "over the calf" socks.  This is very important.  When my son was getting ready for orientation he did not want the real "high" socks - he thought they looked "dorky".  Well, after orientation he had changed his mind.  He said the people with the high socks had an easier time of it because while in PT gear (which is most of the time) they had to carry their "youngie gear" in their socks because they had no pockets and had to have this with them at all times. It was more difficult for him to keep it in his shorter socks.  He regretted buying the shorter socks, and after orientation was over, long socks were on his shopping list.

 

This may sound like a silly question --- but -- The list states that male C/Cs can choose to wear boxers or briefs. (White only). What about BOXER BRIEFS ? (IMHO, they're the best of both worlds!) *BLUSH*

 

That's what my 1/c wears. Seems to cut down on the chafing thing.

 

Speaking about delicate matters, the c/cs soon learn the value of Gold Bond powder to relieve heat rash and other prickly problems.

 

I know watches are not allowed during Orientation but can they bring an alarm clock?

 

Nope. They won't be oversleeping, I promise.

 

For cadet candidates who are coming from a long distance and parents may not be back with more stuff after the initial drop-off, the computer, clock, and a SMALL amount of civilian clothing can be brought to orientation but will be locked away in a secure place until orientation is completed.

 

Advice from a cadet:

 

Remember that the junior and senior orientation staff are only college students and this is a big learning process for them too.  No matter what you do, many of the staff will pick up on anything to gripe and yell about.  You need to go into orientation aware that no matter what you do, it is not good enough.  (Well, I hear that it may be good enough now, but four years ago it was not!)  Knowing this, use your head when you pack; pack what you think is appropriate. If you get yelled at, so what, everyone does, and if you pack wisely, you will be better off.  As for socks, these are the most important item in my opinion.  Bring enough for two pairs per day - there is nothing worse than damp feet.  There will be no laundry for those two weeks, and besides the pool, there will not be adequate showers either.  Bring only what is absolutely necessary - you won't need anything else until after orientation.  Most of what you will be wearing is in the sea bag you will receive upon entry to your room, so that doesn't leave much else to bring, does it? I would bring a plain grey hooded sweatshirt.  This is what I had and I used it a lot.  Many Massachusetts residents might think the end of August is hot, but those of you coming from the south such as I did will want to prepare for some cold mornings on the cape!

 

What is the best kind of bags or luggage?

 

Be sure that whatever your c/c brings is on the list and s/he is capable of carrying ***alone.*** A big duffel with straps that can carry it like a backpack are great and stow small. You will say goodbye (it will seem to be very abruptly) in the parking lot. S/he will go off on new adventures and you will go directly to parents' orientation. You will NOT go up to his/her room until after youngie orientation graduation. No exceptions.

 

Plastic totes and sets of drawers: NO! Suitcase: NO! Boxes: NO! We felt very sorry for the youngies we saw hauling this stuff around ALL DAY, up and down stairs. Our son arrived with a Navy sea bag which he could carry on his shoulders and one large canvas tote, zipped, for his bedding and towels. Lots of people strap pillows on their bags with bungee cords, but these often have to be adjusted if they're not tight.

 

A goalie bag worked well. A regular size hockey bag proved to be a little too small. What ever you decide to use remember that this c/c is in for a long first day and the less pieces they have to carry the better

 

The goalie bags seem to work best but make sure it can be carried as a backpack.  You will carry everything alone.  Be creative with strapping pillows and blankets to the outside of the case with cords as those items take up precious space inside the case.  If it is raining on orientation day - use garbage bags or another type of covering to keep these items dry. Do not expect to be able to use the "wheels" on your suitcase.

 

I would suggest an old fashion Navy Sea bag, available at Surplus Stores and now also available in larger sizes.  Roll pants, tee shirts etc they fit better than folding.

What is acceptable clothing for the day of arrival at orientation?

 

Comfortable shorts. Remember that they can't be hanging down on their hips. Light weight gym, soccer, basketball shorts will do. The c/c's are on the move all day. Comfort is key.

 

Follow the comfort instructions and DO NOT make yourself stand out.  You will be most successful the first two weeks if you let your "unique style" at home.  In general - no matter how short your hair is - it will not be short enough.  If it can be pinched - it's getting cut!

 

What time should we arrive?

 

For orientation, the orientation cadre will march to the front of the gym, take the oath to serve, and take your cadet/candidates away at 1300. I would STRONGLY recommend that you get there well in advance of this time, to get a parking space and to be absolutely sure you're on time.  We'll be there no later than 9. I remember one year when a kid showed up hours late as we were packing up our stuff.... he didn't stay. And the kid that showed up a day late? Gone. Be on time. Be early, even.

 

Looking forward to coming but will be in a wheelchair (or if lucky on crutches) for parent orientation...will I be able to get into the stadium? Is  there HC parking nearby? Had knee surgery and feel great but mobility  is pretty limited for the next few weeks.

 

Everything is completely handicap accessible, including parking spaces near where you will go if you don't want to travel along a well-paved sidewalk for any distance. You should have no difficulties. However, there are no elevators in the companies (dorms) so unless you can do three flights of stairs, you're not seeing the room (or carrying anything upstairs to it).

Parent orientation

Do we really need to come to parent orientation? Or drop off our cadet personally?

 

Any parent who has enjoyed parents' orientation can confirm that it is NOT to be missed, both in terms of obtaining resources to help you out, and in terms of filling you in on what is happening to your c/c, information on Sea Term, scholarships, all sorts of things. You will get some ideas on what happens in a variety of situations...it's hard to believe, but SOMETIMES kids don't tell their parents the whole story, can you imagine that? This meeting also builds a relationship between you and the people who will be responsible for your c/c at school . You really need to be there if at all possible.

 

Parents orientation is definitely worth staying for, the speakers are very informative as well as entertaining.  It will also put your mind at ease to hear what will be going on for the next two weeks.  Trust me you won't believe the change that will happen in just two short weeks to your sons/daughters.

 

This was an extremely informative event for me as a really anxious / concerned Mom.  Information was provided to help cope with both cadet and parent anxiety. It was comforting to hear from cadet officers and to see their level of confidence in themselves as well as the Academy. Things were explained about the orientation experience, the first semester, studying, how to support your cadet from a distance, and how to get support from the Academy staff and other parents.  It was out first exposure to the fantastic job the school and Parent Organization does at keeping parents up to date and in their comfort zone.

Physical Training

What does the physical training at orientation involve and what does my son need to do to get ready for it?

 

Lots of running, lots of pushups and sit-ups. Your c/c should develop stamina by running a mile or two daily, and get used to working in the hot sun. Also, those pushups ... lots of them! We had a Marines pamphlet on preparing for boot camp, and that helped. Look online for some guidelines and remember that MMA's orientation is not nearly as tough as the military's! And remind your c/c that the drug testing is nothing to fool around with. They won't beat it. They will be kicked out.

 

Our son was never the athletic type - other than running to answer the phone or get to the remote before his sister - but - he did take the advice from other cadets seriously.  He started walking at a brisk pace in April and by summer was jogging 1.5 miles about 3 times a week.  He was very nervous about the physical requirements - but was able to pass with only minimal difficulty (this is not to say that it was not really hard - because it was - but he made it through the requirements with the encouragement of the other cadets and his squad leaders).  They do push and motivate each other in a way that we as parents can not.  Oddly - our son has continued to participate in the morning PT - even though we never thought we would see that day.

Mail and Phone Calls

Wondering if it's ok for a C/C to bring their cell phone to orientation. Or does that result in some number of pushups. If not, are we able to call them, or do we just wait to be called. (Could be waiting a long time I think.)

 

NO! Push ups will be the least of his problems. Last year my cadet's company sent a post card mid way through. Now for a little humor (humor now but not so funny when I was waiting to hear  from my c/c) He sent the post card to the girl friend.  That was my first clue that he didn't need me to survive in the world.

 

Know that each company is not necessarily run exactly the same.  My 1st Co. C/C opted not to write a letter but to iron uniforms instead. We received nothing during orientation!

 

Hope you do NOT receive a phone call because you will have to be very strong in encouraging your cadet to stay. We received a post card from our cadet after we were back home from orientation graduation.  It truely was snail mail.  However, the MMA website with daily updates provided more information and and visual feedback than anything our son would have told us.  You will be glued to the screen waiting to catch a glimps of your cadet - and there will be some! - as well as an update on the events of the day.  There was such peace for me seeing how satisified and healthy my son looked that  hearing from him directly was almost not necessary.  I actually think it would have been harder on both of us.

 

I encourage you to write to your cadet candidates during orientation.  Our son really appreciated getting letters
from home during this period. And you can stay in touch by checking the MMA website. It's updated daily with photos and reports of orientation activities. You might even see your son or daughter!

Banks and ATMs

I remember seeing an ATM located at the school but don't remember seeing a bank. Is there one on campus or fairly close by? If so, are they affiliated with any major bank? Also, what bank is the ATM with?

 

There is a BankNorth on Main Street in Buzzards Bay and there is a Bank of America ATM in the "four corners" area of the first floor of the dorm. Other banks are on the "strip" in Wareham.

 

How much should cadets expect to spend in a month to include everyday costs of laundry, dry cleaning, haircuts, etc? Can personal checks from out of state banks be cashed on campus?

 

My son tries to keep spending to $20 per week. He's a 4/c without a car, does his own laundry and gets his hair cut by another cadet. He likes to get a pizza from time to time, and gets supplies for school at Walmart. Doubtful that the campus would cash checks but there's a bank very close to the academy.

Haircuts

I'm aware that C/Cs must show up to Orientation with a "Crew Cut". Which to me, just means short -- all around -- a 1/2". (No sideburns, no facial hair.) Is that about right?

 

Nope, for guys it's way shorter than that. You're right about the facial hair and sideburns, though. But no fears, bring yourself at 1/2" and you will be treated to a shorter do on your first day of orientation. We live in an area near a military base and so my c/c went to a local barber who knew just what recruits got, so he was shorn at arrival. You'll get shorn AFTER arrival. But do it sooner and prepare your scalp for more sun than it's seen in years-- will help with sunburn in the hours you'll spend outdoors hatless.

 

There will be someone there to shear them when they arrive, and there are barbers in BuzzBay. My boy brought an electric clipper (after orientation) and charged a few bucks to his mates to trim 'em. So to speak. Women wear their hair short or rubber-banded up in a small bun at the back of the neck so that it does not interfere with wearing the proper cover (hat). No scrunchies, hairclips or earrings (for anyone) at orientation.

Seabags & Uniforms

When do they get their sea bags? And do we need to label all the items he brings from home?

 

They receive so much clothing it really doesn't fit in one bag or come all at once. As I recall, my son received the items essential for orientation first: the PT clothes, the boiler suit, hard hat and boots, and the summer uniforms. As orientation progressed, I believe the final items of the sea bag were distributed. As the first semester went on, I think he picked up heavier jackets, etc. I've been very pleased with the quality of the clothing they receive.

 

When my now 1/C was a youngie, they were told not to stencil their clothing before arrival, as this is one of many tasks they will be instructed on during orientation.  They have specified time during each day for "uniforms", which includes marking, learning how to iron, shine shoes, etc.  There is a particular place on each article of clothing that the stencil goes, and they get a stencil kit as part of the sea bag.  So even if you do it in advance, it may have to be done again anyway.

 

We simply put our son's initials in an inconspicuous part of the clothing.  T-shirts and the like, inside the label, anyplace that could not be seen when worn. Never heard that that was a problem.... I noticed that some of his clothes came back from orientation with his name stenciled on them, socks for example, but we did not label all of his socks. A challenge was over Labor day weekend to get his name tag sewn on to his "boiler" suit, (work coveralls) between the end of orientation and the start of school.

 

When our son attended orientation last summer, we did not label his clothing at all before arriving.  We were told nothing about labeling.  So, just to advise what happened last year, I believe all cadets were given a stencil kit during orientation and were told to stencil their "LAST" name onto their socks, tee's, underwear, towels, etc. Maybe it depends on how many letters in your last name, we don't know, but in our case our 5 letter last name was small enough to stencil on his clothing and other gear.  They actually did this during orientation, and after as well. They used black ink on white, and white ink on black. But don't worry about things that aren't shown on "THE LIST".  Please believe us when we say the school usually has everything under control.  Being a parent of an MMA Cadet is one very proud time in our lives. You will see for yourself.   Hope this stencil explanation helps.

 

I am the mother of a female cadet starting in Sept.  I went to the Welcome aboard Day and my daughter was sized with misses sizes.  The pants fit terrible. She wears a size 10 and was fitted with a size 14 to fit her waist, the rest of the pants were enormous.  She  went back to visit ( we live close) and went to the book store and asked about the pants.  She was told that the the men's pants fit better and the girls usually get them.  She was refitted and is very happy with the fit.  The purpose of this E-mail is to let other parents of female cadets know about the sizing, so their daughter can have uniforms that fit better.

 

We were thinking of a travel iron instead of a full sized one, to save space. Also, does EVERYONE have to bring an ironing board?

 

A mini iron won't do it.  They need to iron creases in their uniforms.  They don't need ironing boards.  There are boards set up in the hallways that they all use.  My son takes his to a cleaners near school that knows how to press them correctly.

 

A clever cadet with a good iron and good skills can make a few bucks pressing uniforms during the slow times (but this is AFTER orientation ... there are no slow times during those two weeks!). Remember to bring a sewing kit, and extra black and white thread.

 

Does anyone know if they will be allowed to make exchanges after Orientation is over? He told me that he was going to have to go out and buy another set of foulie bottoms since his didn't fit but he had to wear them last Saturday.  Just doesn't seem right that we should have to purchase new gear when he (like most others) were measured by the staff a few months back.

 

I have a very large boy, and he did everything in  a boiler suit for the first few weeks while they tried to get things in his size. Tough duty in hot weather. Eventually everyone gets outfitted. He can swap with people or go back to the bookstore and get exchanges. And if not, he has resources to go to on campus.

Graduation

Will the C/C's be expected to stay for the scrimmage?

 

They have not been required to in the past.

 

What happens to the 7:30 a.m. parade, marching competition and grad ceremony if it rains?

 

They will get rained upon. Smart people will bring umbrellas or ponchos.

Labor Day Weekend

What can my c/c leave in the dorm room after orientation?

 

Your c/c will be able to lock the room, so have him leave everything but the dirty laundry, and there'll be LOTS of that! Be sure your c/c collects any items that were removed from him at orientation (usually the cadet officers will take a few things out of the c/c bag and place them in a Ziploc labeled with the c/c name). When they come back, that's when they bring their computers, clocks, etc. that they couldn't have at orientation. At that time you will be able to help them carry stuff up to their rooms. Emphasis on UP-- they will be on the top floors and there are NO elevators. They can bring laundry bags.

Advice: orientation

I can only share my observations of our son's 'transformation' over a two-week time frame. The CHILD we left at MMA was accustomed to blaming others for his burdens and mistakes, always looking to us to 'solve his dilemmas', no matter how trivial. His needs were always immediate, and always a higher priority than anyone else's or anything else going on at the moment. he battled verbally with his siblings, and had a quick fuse and a paper-thin skin. He left with a somewhat negative attitude about the challenges ahead.

 The YOUNG MAN we retrieved on 28Aug physically resembled the one we had left there, but that's where the resemblance ended. Though we offered several times to help carry his gear to the car, he firmly but politely refused, saying he could handle it. His demeanor at home, despite the usual provocations from his younger siblings, was polite and serene. Although he made it clear that his two weeks were no picnic in the park, he spoke in an upbeat tone about his interactions with his mates in 1st Company, and the various hurdles they had met and overcome TOGETHER. He spoke of the times when he had 'stepped up to the plate' and worked with others to deal with the stress and hardship they were experiencing. Most of all, as he prepared to return, he seemed to embrace the challenge and excitement of the many experiences ahead.

As parents, words cannot express our admiration for the process and the competency of the command staff that has had such a tremendously positive impact upon our son. For those who may not have experienced this level of insight and emotional uplift, please hang in there. Your son or daughter will, as ours has, rise to the level of expectations and standards that has been placed before them!

 

Just to supplement one comment from the police officer, whose name I forget, and no disrespect intended, the goal of "breaking down and rebuilding" is not to remove individuality, but rather, to rebuild according to mission, be it "to protect and serve" or "defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Individualism remains, but goals and focus are altered and cause the new recruit or c/c to evaluate his/her own actions against the needs of the group, according to mission.

In the case of MMA, the school's mission statement outlines the "rebuilding" process. The Orientation process and subsequent training years instill in new cadet candidates the need for uniformity and singularity of purpose necessary for life aboard ship, where each man/woman is integral in the safe operation of the vessel and each man/woman contributes either below deck or above to the successful completion of the objective mission. That is why, perhaps, Sea Term offers that "Eureka" moment for youngies, when all the book learning and the practical learning come together as a cohesive whole and one experiences, individually and collectively, how important his/her role is in the overall mission.

That said, the single most important aspect in the care and feeding of Youngies is effective training and effective supervision by higher ups in the chain of command. No higher up wants rogues, and certainly no Youngie wants to experience "rebuilding" via cruelty, humiliation, or otherwise. For those who are not military, one of an officer's quintessential duties is paternalistic-- to protect the men/women under his command.

 I've had my little ups and downs with MMA as a new parent, but I am very secure about the health and welfare of my son. His safety remains my primary objective and I am content that he is, and has been, treated with dignity, professionalism, and care, both as a c/c and as an individual in his own inherent right.

 

A lot of it is actually the beginning of what they'll need to pass the US Coast Guard license requirements for being cadets in a maritime academy. They will get information on safety, a swim test, learn how to row a lifeboat, learn how to put out a fire, learn military protocols, the parts of the ship, how to march information, and a host of other things. YOU will get a lot of good information at parents' orientation after you say good bye in the parking lot and the orientation cadre marches off with your cadet/candidates.

For many, possibly most, late adolescents, having no choices about what to wear, when to get up, when to eat, what to do, no stereo, no instant messaging, no TV, restriction to campus, and being told how to act constitutes suffering. There is a very well-known phenomenon in team-building, especially in a military model, that includes imposing challenges which when overcome instill confidence and cameraderie.

"We tell them their racks (beds) have to be made just so. Why? Because we say so. And we want them to learn to listen when we say so. What this means is that later when the chief engineer says, 'Turn that valve,' he doesn't hear back, 'It's not my turn to turn the valve. You never ask HIM to turn the valve. I don't want to. I turned the valve last time. I don't like to turn valves..' "

This is not a trivial matter in a setting where discipline can be lifesaving. This is the major reason that when they say, "Do it the way we tell you to," the cadets are expected to do it.



First semester

Dorm room, items   Laundry   Weekend liberty   Parent weekend   Mail: bills, grades, etc.   Moving out for holiday   General advice

Dorm Room Items

How is the move-in after Orientation handled? Our packet of information states that after Orientation, the new cadets will be on liberty until 1800 on 31 August (2004). Does anyone have details on when they can begin to arrive on the 31st? How are drop-offs of big items (computers, etc.) handled? Can parents get close enough to the dorms with a car to drop off this stuff or do the cadets have to lug it in from the parking lots? Are parents / family members allowed to assist with the carry up the the top floor or is this a cadet-only experience?

 

Your C/C will know what room he is in and who his roommate will be before he leaves for home.(At least thats how it worked last year) Shoot for an early arrival and yes, parents can go in to the dorms. But believe me when I tell you that your cadet will want to make you as transparent as possible. My husband basically helped set up the computer and POOF! we disappeared. We got close enough to empty the car on the side of the road and then parked elsewhere. I was left minding the "stuff". The bookstore was open which allowed for last minute purchases (ie MMA wear which has to be worn in the dorm when out of uniform).

Laundry

Are there laundry facilities at the school?  How do the out of state students with no car get their laundry done?

 

I sent my son to school with a bunch of quarters that I had been saving.  I also send him a small package, once a week or 10 days, mints etc. and include quarters. But, he found a laundromat not far from school that does his laundry for $10 to $12 dollars.  He drops it off and picks it up all done and folded later that day.  I think there are enough kids with cars that a cadet without can always get a ride.

 

There are washers and dryers on the first floor of the dorm. Send your kid off to school with two rolls of quarters and replenish frequently. Also, get the liquid all-in-one detergent in a small bottle to save space in the room.

 

My question is regarding my youngie's request for cleaning products for his room: pledge, swifter, etc. Will he need these items? Anything else? Also, he is having a difficult time with pressing his uniform, especially his shirts. Is there a way to determine exactly where and how to make the creases?

 

Your c/c's TRO or squad leader should be able to address both of these issues. The c/c's got a lesson on how to press creases, and any upperclassman should be able to help him out if he forgot.

 

What kind of civilian clothing will my c/c need this fall?

 

4/c's are ALWAYS in uniform when on campus. That means that when they get out of the car, they are in uniform, and when they get in the car to leave, they are in uniform, too. There are different uniforms, and they are always told which one to be in. That includes PT gear for sports, etc., but they are NEVER in ordinary "civilian" shorts, sweats, and tees once they're inside the gates. The basic rule is, if it's not on the list to bring, s/he can't bring it. Your cadet/candidate can always contact the admissions department if s/he has questions that s/he can't figure out from the mailings that they have received already.

 

There isn't a lot of room for extra clothing. My son had one change of clothes that he would bring with him to Wal-Mart (change in the restroom) and then head home in civvies. As the semester went on, he found he could have a large plastic tote under his desk (this varies by company, so your cadet should ask the squad leader what's allowed).

Weekend liberty

Do weekends "off" begin as soon as orientation is complete (except for watch weekends?)

 

The weekends are off for everyone except those on watch, with disciplinary restriction (and none of OUR cadets will be among those, right?), or those who have to stay for team practices or suchlike.

 

Does almost everyone go home on the weekends? We live out of state and that's not an option very often.

 

Most cadets go home weekends.  Our cadet doesn't because we live eight hours away.  We knew this before he enrolled. When we looked at the in vs. out of state enrollment it was pretty clear the school would be deserted on the weekends--just like all small colleges with mostly in-state students.  I experienced the same thing at a small college in the mountains of West Virginia--talk about isolated.  Our son had no car this past year until May and used the weekends to catch up on sleep, homework and reading.  He occasionally went home with other cadets or used his bike to get around.  Even after taking a car back he still used his bike. With cheap Southwest airfare he could easily catch a ride to Providence and be home in just a little over an hour for about what I spend driving up there from Virginia. Sure, he grumbled a bit but he knows why he's there and what he wants to do as a career.  There's no better place to be than MMA for a maritime career.  It's not the schools job (or mine) to keep him entertained 24/7 and I didn't hear anyone from MMA promise to do it.

 

My daughter does not have the luxury of being able to go home on the weekend.  We live too far away.  We are lucky to be able to see her once or twice a year. I can tell you she has really enjoyed being invited over to a friend's house for the weekend.  Gives her a chance to "unwind" She also says she really loves "home cooked meals" Some of the meals she misses the most are beef stew and spaghetti.  Chartwells (dining facility on campus) never serves these.  So I would like to thank all of the parents who welcome other cadets "home" for the weekend.  I do know one cadet who really appreciates it.

 

I think that the habit of going home on weekends is just that, a habit which I intend to curb come the fall. The  "fledging" is going to learn to entertain himself. So there will be one more cadet on campus come Friday afternoons.

 

This has been one of the biggest challenges for our cadet.  We are from out of state - and weekends can be a difficult time - especially the first 6 weeks.  Fortunately - there are several cadets in his company from out of the area and they do plan things together for the weekends.  Some of the upper class cadets with cars have also been great about taking these 4C's to town or to the Mall to get away for a few hours.  It is a great time to catch up on sleep, studying or reading.  It is not as big an issue after October if your cadet has a car.  It made a big difference for our son being able to get away or out to eat on the weekends whenever he needed a break without having to depend on someone else.

 

After orientation, many students bring bikes, roller blades, skateboards, etc for weekend activities. There is room for them to store a bicycle in their room (after orientation only.) Our daughter graduated from another state college this year, and we found that the number of students staying on campus weekends was very similar.  Both of our kids came home more often their freshman year, and the frequency decreased with each semester.  Yes, MMA is a predominantly state college, however many of my cadet's friends are from out-of-state.

Parent's weekend

What is the recommended dress (for families) for Recognition Day?


The dress is casual.  We hope you will be going to the football game, etc., and want you to be comfortable.  Cadets and staff will be in Service Dress for dinner as well as the Recognition Ceremony. Incidentally, cadets are welcome to attend the briefs, too.  There will be a lot of good information that they may not have heard, yet.

Mail

If the Academy's policy is to send school-related mail to my cadet, how will I be informed if there's a problem?

 

There was also a discussion about mail being sent to your cadet and not you.  Well, this is true except for one thing.  Deficiencies are sent to THE PARENT. This provided quite a bit of confusion last semester (because it was a recent change).  The one piece of mail that is actually important to your student is sent to you while all the bills are sent to them.  If you don't tell them, they might not even know they've gotten one!

Moving Out for Holiday

As the parent of a 4/c I have to admit I'm not clear on what's expected for clearing out of the rooms for holiday break in December. Do all the cadets empty their rooms entirely? Or is it just the 4/cs who get a new room assignment in January? Is there any place to store large items, or a secure place for items of some value, like computers? Because we don't live near campus we need to make transportation arrangements and it would help to know just how much he has to move.

 

Yes, it all has to go, all students move out entirely. For computer storage, the answer is probably, your cadet will have that information or should be able to get it with ease from any upperclassmate who did the same thing. The 3/C participate in the "sophomore  shuffle." 4/C DO stay in the same company. Rooms and roommates only appear to change if someone wants to change roommates OR if someone doesn't come back to MMA after Fall Semester OR Sea Term and the cadets get together to change roommates.

EVERYTHING goes home prior to Sea Term ( it's like coming back after orientation but in reverse) and ONLY and we knowing parents really  mean ONLY what is on the list for the Sea Term seabag/gear comes back with 4/C  cadets when they move onto the Enterprise. Space is limited and your cadets  should only bring back what they can carry and stow easily. Remember... they  will be settled in to a "hold" that usually sleeps over 30. On arrival day,  you may see some upperclass cadets with more gear... it's because  with rank comes privilege and bigger sleeping quarters...so with more room  travels more stuff....which is not always a good thing... just more to carry...  but they really don't seem to care.  Your cadet should be able to find  out what heavier items can be locked and kept at school. A room is usually  provided. Just a note to first timers... this may all seem like a lot of moving and traveling back and forth... enjoy it! Be there if you can to send off your cadet and be there for the return to hear about what they liked (or didn't) about being at sea. It is an experience for everyone.

Advice: First Semester

Dear All Parents of Youngies: I have gotten a couple of notes from some of you (and some last year too) that say something like, "My son (and I just realized that it's always, 'my son'-- why never 'my daughter', I have no idea) is miserable, he's drowning academically, he's not getting enough sleep, he thinks nobody cares whether he lives or dies and he can't ask for help because people will think he's a wussy." These notes occasionally include, "He doesn't want me to call the school," which is a good sign in my opinion ... but I'd tell the parent not to do that anyway.

If your kid is feeling like this, and I just haven't heard it from you personally, here's what I tell people to say to their c/c's:

1) A lot of kids feel like this. MMA is a big adjustment. We are proud that you chose it. But Youngie Orientation isn't to make you feel isolated, it's to make you feel like you have brothers and sisters. Talking about it, not just for bitching but for support, with peers can be helpful.

2) Your squad leader is your first step. If that person can't help you, go up the chain of command. They really ARE interested in seeing you succeed. The students ARE the academy, and you are one of the students.

3) The companies actually compete for GPA, so they actually have a vested interest in your success. If you are having problems in academics, your company leadership wants you to do better. Run, do not walk, to the chief tutor, and get help, especially with any math or science-related subject. You can ask some upperclassmen-- they'll tell you that he saved their bacon, and he'd be happy to help save yours. If you aren't staying up so late agonizing over problem sets, you'll get more sleep, too.

4) Go to the regimental training and retention officer, a terrific resource.

5) Every single upperclassman you see did this. You can too.

Things will get easier when you have been recognized as part of the regiment at the Parent's Weekend. Really.  Look at how far you've come already! Remember when we dropped you off in August?

This is the part you DON'T share with them: Most kids who have a hard time and move up the chain of command with "I wanna go home" get tired of it about three steps up (and the squad leaders and other regimental leaders are trained to make this process a bit drawn out, so that c/c's can find their own way to come to their senses, and so most do end up getting it out of their system and making a go of it. If for some reason they actually make it as far as an administration leader and actually come home, you do.....nothing. You feed them, let them sleep, feed them, and let them sleep some more. NO recriminations, NO "I told you so," NO "I paid $1800 for that fershlugginer sea bag," NO nothing. And the next day you say, "I have it on good authority that if you want to go back you can with no one saying a word." And most of them do. Those that don't generally go to UMass, Amherst or someplace else, and many those decide after a semester or a year that they miss the atmosphere of kids who are self-disciplined, purposeful and goal-directed, and get to thinking maybe the place wasn't so darned bad after all-- they were just tired and blitzed.  And they call up Fuji and ask about coming back. And in most cases, of course they can.

So, I guess my takeaway message is to chill out, let them find their own way,and praise, reinforce their choice to continue if they make that choice, and to support and love them anyway.

 

They learn how to take care of themselves but I  think it takes time. I know over the years my son has leaned on his friends at MMA whenever he has needed help. I have watched my son & his friends all grow into fine, young adults who ARE VERY RESOURCEFUL. My son will be graduating this semester & over the past few years we have received fewer telephone calls whenever a problem arises. Most often, we hear about things "after the fact" and he has pulled through on his own. MMA has taught him to take care of himself and to work as a team with his fellow cadets. They respect one another & work together when the going gets tough! Don't forget, your c/c's are just getting to know one another & adjusting to life at MMA. This is the toughest semester for them. They made it through orientation which is an accomplishment in itself! Continue to support them, as they need it. But let them learn to do on their own. You will be so very proud of them.

 

A bit of info I would like to share with the youngie parents. It is always a worry that your cadet might get sick at school and more of a worry that he or she has the common sense to seek out assistance from the medical staff if need be. Earlier this week I received a call from my3/c. He said that he wasn't feeling well and had a swollen gland. I asked if he had gone to the infirmary and (to my disbelief) he had. He then unloaded a full report with all the technical medical terms in the right place. Ok no need to panic he is going back Thursday for a mono test I was told. Last night the phone rang and it was the boy informing me that the test results came back positive and so did the strep test. Isn't that special I thought. YIKES!! Don't worry folks I have removed him from campus. When I got to MMA he jumped in the car. Being a mom with a reputation of sometimes being on high alert (the sons opinion) I already had appointments lined up with the doctor, my knuckles bared white splotches as I hugged the steering wheel and I was ready to streak up the high way with this washed out looking kid. Guess what. He already had his antibiotics, he was fully informed of the do's and don'ts of mono and proclaimed "Mom , relax I handled it. I'm hungry Let's eat. Yes, the nurse at MMA medicated, educated and assured my cadet that life will return to normal in a few weeks or so. A big thank you MMA. And most importantly I know that my cadet will survive if he gets sick 

 

You will hear a lot about "letting go" and "cutting the cord" in the first few months.  Personally, I hate these terms.  Not because I desire to keep my cadet attached to me, but because they will frequently come across as sarcastic recommendations or harsh events.  All of our parentlng styles are different as are all of our cadets.  You and your cadet will decide when and how separation occurs.  If my cadet asked for my opinion or thoughts on something and my response was "there, there" as had been suggested many times - his next question would be "who are you and what have you done with my real mother?"  He knows that if he asks I will always provide an honest opinion or answer; but the ultimate responsibility and decisions are his to take and make.  Parents are only one source of reference for a young adult asking questions and finding their own way; but it is a source that will always be an option in our house.  Do not feel guilty about maintaining a parent / child relationship with your cadet as long as your cadet is well adjusted and successful in the program (and yes you can have both).

 

I don't think there is any such thing as the "perfect" college, however we strongly feel that MMA does more things right than wrong. A friend whose son graduated from MMA a few years ago jokes that the thing students learn how to do the best at MMA is complain and that it should be a degree program. Of course we've felt over the years that this or that could have been done differently, but overall the last 3 years have been a fantastic experience for us as parents and more importantly for our cadet.  We have seen him change from a nervous and scared cadet/candidate into a mature world traveler, and this would not have been possible without the great staff and faculty at MMA.

 

This is in response to question about possible unhappy freshman.  We have had quite a first semester with our son.  All in all, he is, I think most unhappy with the fact that the school is a ghost town on weekends.  I do hear him on that one and what he decides to do in the long run will be an important decision. Overall though, I have seen my son grow in tremendous bounds over the last few months.  He, unfortunately, had emergency surgery last month...but the way the whole situation was handled was well beyond fine.  It seems that everyone came through for our son, and when at the hospital, his company buddies, teachers, and officers visited him to cheer him up...my heart went out. (and I know my son's did, also.) Afterward, the "catch up" scene was a difficult one. I remember thinking "Ah, this is not fair...or...that is not fair. But then I thought to myself....HE MUST BE TRAINED TO OPERATE UNDER ALL SITUATIONS IF HE IS GOING TO BE SAFE IN THIS LIFE HE HAS CHOSEN. And thankfully, there were those teachers who went well beyond what is expected in order to help Rich catch up after both surgery and complications from surgery.

 

If you are not a "public type of person", contact one of the officers via private email.  They have been fantastic at answering questions and providing information.  I have never waited more than 48 hours for any answers or information, and have never felt that my questions were silly.  You will hear a lot about the "MMA Family" and my initial impression was that it was just another marketing ploy or lip service that included a select few - but it is not like that at all.  I have never been part of an organization that provides such genuine support to the students as well as the immediate and extended family.

 

I am the parent of a 2001 graduate.  My wife and I have kept up with MMA since my son's graduation.  Normally I just read the MMA parent information but I will weigh in on a couple of things.  First, what the freshmen are going through is not much different then what my son went through in 97.  We live in Florida so Matt had no choice but to stay at school most all the time.  That experience forced him to make friends and find creative ways to pass the time, fishing, taking the bus to Boston, the Vineyard and getting involved in sports.  The first 2 years were tough but now, shipping for the last 3 years with Maritrans, those experiences were "worth it's weight in gold."  Second, the discipline at MMA is what makes the difference. Being a "Deckie" on an oil tanker is tough, and at times very stressful.  My son has, in the past 3 years, had experiences that I hear about and marvel at his ability of handle them.  He has sailed with cadets and licensed graduates from California, Maine and Texas. The difference in the quality of seamanship and maturity between the MMA graduates and those from other schools is unbelievable. Those differences according to the Ship Captains and other crew members can be directly attributed to the discipline at MMA.  No one said MMA would be easy but time passes quickly and the freshmen are paying their dues.  If they stick with it the unhappiness will pay off in the end.

 

These young men and women have left their comfort zone of home, high school and friends and are embarking on a career for life. The world out there is tough. A seaman's life is not only tough but can be lonely.  I work with a retired navy captain who in his career, has had  MMA graduates in his command. He told me they were very well trained. I believe most of the complaining is just blow off steam. After all, don't we all complain about something? My son tells us it is a love - hate relationship for him. Parents we must listen and remember we cannot fix everything.

 

The first year or term is the hardest.  My son who is now in his last year at MMA seemed really unhappy the first term.  I think it generally because it is the first year away from home.   All freshmen seem to go through this.  Even my daughter who is now a sophomore at Fordham even missed home for awhile.  Matt wasn't going to go back after orientation but I told him he needed to stay a semester.  He always wanted to be in the military so I don't think that was the problem.  When your sons or daughters make a few friends they will feel more comfortable .  Send packages and call a lot.  They can go home on weekends except for watches.  Or go and visit.  They will soon adjust.

 

These young people have chosen an educational path that is quite unique on many levels.  It imposes as structure that is very different from the "typical" college/university setting.  It is very different from joining the real work force.  They willingly entered into this atmosphere with that understanding. And it surprises me that as their parents, many of us are getting over involved when it comes to addressing problems and concerns.  Let's be serious here.  We all love our children very much and want the very best for them for now and for always.  As they leave home and enter college we cannot, and should not, confuse ongoing parental support with ongoing parental supervision.  With support we continue to love and advise about problem-solving.  In supervision we continue to love and solve the problems for them. Our sons and daughters will run up against many obstacles during their college years.  They will run up against many more when they are out in the real world.  It is critical that we help them develop the tools to deal with serious problems themselves, and sometimes really have the courage to say to them "Deal with it. And remember I love you".

 

I would like to respond as the parent of  former cadet and as a former college instructor and counselor--students at ALL colleges go through stages of stress questions as to their choices in school and complaints in general...this is NOT peculiar to mma...although the specifics may be (watches etc) the best thing you can do for your "kids" is to remember 1) they are not really "kids" but young adults...emphasis on both "young" and "adult"...and adults need to learn how to deal with professors, officers, fellow students, schedules and the like...the "young" need to know that you will listen sympathetically, provide them with advice and a good sleep in etc...when they are home...It has been my experience that MOST first year students at any school go through two really bad times first term...midterm time which has just ended) and the time right before finals and during the holiday season which we are into now)...it has also been my experience that at MMA the sea term does wonders to pick up morale, restore the cadet's faith in him/herself and provide encouragement to continue one's education. "Regular" schools (eg u mass dartmouth) have nothing like this of course...You will find for the most part that your cadet will return from seaterm with a sense of maturity that will surprise you...and a real enthusiasm for continuing education at MMA...

 

MMA has a fine counseling service and should your cadet need some help he/she can seek that...the officers are very supportive of cadets as well...It is usually a much better idea to encourage your son/daughter to seek support themselves...Yes, the faculty and staff are open to parents' concerns, but it's more helpful to your child's growing independence and maturity if you simply point him/her in the right direction rather than your doing the calling and "legwork"... Also, I think leaving the option open (with your approval) of transfer to another college FOR NEXT YEAR) is a good one...that way your cadet doesn't feel "trapped" into 3 more years at MMA(thus relieving a great deal of pressure and stress), but he/she will give it a full year of experiences, including the sea term, to settle in...most of them DO settle down during their second term and the grades improve as well).. Again, this is true of students at ANY college...Freshman year is a time of radical change in your kid's life...it is often the first time he/she has been away from home for an extended period; the first time of having to make so many choices classes, extra activities, friends etc) and the first time to have such high expectations coming from someone other than the parent...give your freshman space...give him/her the chance to grow...in almost all cases you will be amply rewarded as your child grows into a responsible, educated and caring adult...and your child will turn around and thank you later for allowing that to happen.


Sea term

General Info   Passports   Immunizations   Money   Communications   Tools & Required Items   Personal Items   Port Liberty & Safety   Departure and Arrival Days

General Information

HOLIDAY WATCHES

Holiday Watches is always a headache for the parents. Probably due to mis-information passed along from their cadets.  The Parents that have posted show great maturity on the realities of watches, their contribution to the cadet's leadership training, and advantages to the cadet's knowledge base.  There was a mistake though - the on campus telephone extension for the ship is 1550.  It will always be answered by a cadet, whom then can assist in getting you in touch with the assigned Academy Staff Duty Officer (ASDO).

 

Last year RADM Gurnon directed me to develop a plan to reduce the number and duration of watches over the significant holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.  This was a perennial complaint by many cadets and believed to be a student retention factor.  I devised a program where Cadets were contracted as employees and paid a fair wage to stand the watch.  We suspended normal cadets watches at 1600 (4:00 PM) the day before, and resumed them at 0800 (8:00 AM) the day after.  This equates to 48-hours of paid watches for each holiday.  If a cadets contracts to stand a watch, they are then removed from the random pool for assignment.  They not only get to select their watch, they get paid too.  I guarantee they will be paid before the ship sails.  Last year I permitted some cadets to take multiple watches over the 48-hour stands because so few cadets were willing to work.  I hope this changes as I inform the home bankers!

Please call or reply email me if I have confused the issues.

Regards,

Tom Bushy
508-830-5020

What if my cadet cannot go on Sea Term?

First of all, not all cadets go on sea term. This is due to several factors, including health/injury related reasons, academic issues such as failing math or other required subjects, disciplinary actions, and space limitations on the ship. This will not come as a complete surprise to your cadet, they will be made well aware that they are in danger of not being allowed to participate in the coming sea term. There are ample opportunities for each cadet to get the help they need to get their grades up to satisfactory levels. There are tutors, the Learning Resource Center, and Office Hours where the professors are available for extra help, to name just a few. Your cadet is fully aware of all of them, and it is THEIR responsibility to make use of them, if they are having trouble with their grades.

IF your cadet does not go on Sea Term, please be aware that the dorms are, for the most part, closed over the holiday break (the entire duration of Sea Term), and there is only very limited "space available" accomodations. AND the Mess Decks are closed for the duration of Sea Term, as Chartwells will be onboard Enterprise for the duration of Sea Term. This means that if they are staying on or near campus, they will need to make their own arrangements for meals such as take out/delivery, local restaurants, canned/prepared meals in their dorm, etc. There is a microwave available for cadet use in the student lounge. Some cadet's parents have been known to open their homes for cadets needing a place to stay during this time. The MMA Parents Association mailing list is a great place to find such parents.

There are classes on campus over winter Sea Term. I think that there may be a move afoot for the future to require any 4/c who doesn't pass math to be there during that time to make it up, but that isn't required this year yet. But it is, of course, a very good idea; I
believe there will be math class on campus over Sea Term this year, and hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong. There was a previous discussion on the parent's list on dorm availability, food, etc.

Remember: Chartwells will be on the ship so the Mess Deck is closed. Some kids get rooms with other families in town and commute to school or live on pizza and prepared foods in the dorm.

Here's a quick list of what can be done to make up a missed Sea Term requirement:

1) 4/c cadets who can't go on Sea Term in their first year for some reason (academics, discipline) will do their 4/c Sea Term in their second year of school, in Jan/Feb, on the Enterprise. They can't go on anyone else's ship until they do that (at a minimum). To graduate
from MMA, you have to do at least ONE Sea Term. If you're not doing a licensed major, best get it out of the way early, because you are considered (and treated like) a 4/c on your first Sea Term no matter how many years you've been on campus already, LOL.

After that, ONLY licensed major cadets (deck, engine) go on Sea Term anyway. They are the only majors that have to do four shipping experiences.

2) 3/c licensed majors (deck and engine) who can't go on Sea Term their 3/c year (discipline, academics) can apply to make it up over
the summer with some other maritime school, subject to availability and whether they meet that school's requirements to participate. I am assuming that next year's 3/c will be able to do a commercial ship over the summer if they couldn't do it in the winter Sea Term,
assuming they meet the ship''s requirements too.

3) All 2/c licensed majors do (have done for years) a commercial shipping placement, like a co-op or internship (I know these words
have particular meaning, but it means they are out there in the real world. Starting next year, it's possible that 3/c AND 2/c deckies and
engineers will commercial ship). If they can't go out over Sea Term on a commercial ship placement for some reason, they can take a
commercial ship placement over the next summer. There is some tuition while you commercial ship and you have to turn in work for academic credit, but it's less than for regular Sea Term and most commercial ship berths earn money.

4) 1/c deckies and engineers who don't go on their fourth Sea Term don't graduate on time and have to make it up somewhere before they do.

Passports

As required by US Customs, ALL cadets participating in Sea Term MUST have a current (NOT EXPIRED!!), valid US Passport. The sooner your cadet applies for one, the better. Visual verification of possession of a current and valid passport will be requested by the Academy no later than October. Information on where and how to obtain or renew a Passport can be found at the US Department of State website links below:

Guide to Passports

Board is now a Passport Acceptance Facility. We are located at the Town Hall, 24 Perry Avenue, Buzzards Bay. I can be reached at 508-759-0615 ex. 333 Monday - Friday 8:30-4:30. Pictures can be taken at AAA offices or a CVS.      Ann Gratis

Immunizations

Hepatitis A vaccinations are a two step series. The first shot is good for 6 months, and is required as part of the admissions process. The 2nd vaccination needs to be recieved 6 to 12 months after the first. Immunizations are covered by most health insurance plans, so be sure to schedule this with your family doctor. However, if this is not possible, the Academy's Health Services typically hold Hepititis A Clinics prior to Sea Term for a discounted fee of approximately $50.00 payable prior to the Clinic. Information on such Clinics are always posted in the Plan of the Day (POD).

From CDR Fredrickson:

The window for the booster is 6-12 monthsafter the first dose. MMA will have another clinic in the Spring for those who need it after January. The first shot gives 94-97% coverage, but because some cadets were unable to receive the first dose prior to June, we want to complete those who can be completed before Sea Term in order to achieve the most protection for them.

Any questions, please contact Anne Fredrickson.

Anne J. Fredrickson MS, APRN-BC
Family Nurse Practitioner
Director, Health Services
Massachusetts Maritime Academy
P: 508-830-5048
F: 508-830-6468
email: afredrickson@maritime.edu

Money

What is the best form of money to bring or send?

 

There is what has become affectionately known as the "Bank of Bushy", where Capt. Tom Bushy holds cash accounts for cadets. What this means is that the captain maintains a safe with cash in it, and deposits from the cadets are strongly encouraged. They can be withdrawn per the announcements in the Plan of the Day (POD). Deposits and withdrawals are not on unlimited demand, but subject to the convenience of ComCad. It is always allowed before ports and at other times too. It's safe and prevents "losses," so the cadets who want to use cash would be well-advised to use it. There are always, regrettably, instances of "lost" money on the ship. This is one reason why you can get tapped (disciplined) for leaving your locker unlocked at any time you aren't standing in front of it, to decrease the chances of "losses."

If you recharge your cadet's cash debit cards (such a generous parent!) they can be used anywhere. In case of emergency (as in, your cadet calls or emails you and says, "Send money!" you can call the financial office at the academy and give them your plastic number for a cash wire transfer to the ship (less 5% it used to be, possibly more this year?). Then the Bank of Bushy issues the money (or keeps it on account, etc.).

You can also have the school wire funds to your cadet. There is a fee. Information is included in the materials you will receive a few weeks before the ship sails.

One parent noted that their cadet had both a bank ATM card and a VisaBuxx debit card and found he couldn't rely on using them in both the Caribbean or Europe.

 

The reason that MMA doesn't recommend carrying plastic to foreign ports is because plastic is not legal tender.  It is much easier to use cash in a foreign port than a credit or debit card.  I do think, however, that a VISA card is a good means of BACKUP money.  Of course, the ship can do wire transfers, which is probably a better option anyway in your eyes.  I say a VISA card because I have personal experience being in a foreign port (New Zealand and Tahiti) during a cruise with Cal Maritime with no cash, a Discover card and a BB&T ATM card.  Those adds don't lie, Visa is accepted more places worldwide than any other card out there.  Unfortunately, I did not realize that beforehand.  It really stinks to be in a foreign port (halfway around the world nonetheless) with no means of monetary trade.

 

How much spending money do they REALLY need?

Typically $100 per day in port.  Keep in mind that in addition to stuffing themselves on shore, they will also want to go scuba diving, take boat rides, jungle tours, etc., and may need money for taxis or tips. Many also come home with t-shirts, disposable cameras and local souvenirs. Sea Term cash makes a good Christmas present ... pass the word to relatives ... and I also think it's a good idea for the cadet to earn at least half of the fun money.

Communications

Is there any way to stay in touch other than cell phones (roaming charges are expensive)?

New in 2006, a lot of cadets and staff signed up for email service via Seawave which is accessible on board every few hours. It was very inexpensive and the delays in transmission were minimal, but do plan ahead.

The best way to make calls is to buy the phone cards from the port that you are in.  Most of the time AT&T cards or international cards don't work.  By buying the card where you are you know how much you are spending.  My son thought be found a great way to call home.  He found a hotel that took his credit card.  $400 later !!! not a good idea.  Of course I waited by the phone each day waiting to hear from him,  didn't care too much about the $$ until I got the bill.

Advice from a cadet: Find the seaman's center in the port. There's usually an inn, a convenience store, an internet cafe and an ATM machine.

Tools & Required Items

See List

From Lt. Alan Gillis, the Engineering Training Coordinator for the 2009 Sea Term:

Let me  answer a few questions regarding 4/C tools and equipment required: The 4/C on this Sea Term are there to learn and having a few simple tools with them in the engine room and elsewhere aboard the ship allows them to assist and learn in any and all situations.  More importantly, some of these items are safety related and could make a difference in an emergency situation.

4/C simply need an adjustable wrench, and groove joint pliers, 6-8" each, a jackknife, and a flashlight.  A small tool bag is nice so that as they amass tools (as all engineers do), they can keep them safe.  Klein makes a nice canvas bag available at Lowes, Home Depot, or in the Academy Bookstore.  I've had mine for years.  If this is the start of a cadet's tool collection, note that good tools last forever and get taken care of, cheap tools get lost.

Safety gear:  A plastic DURABLE flashlight that will last.   I recommend a 2-D cell plastic flashlight or a Pelican xenon or LED light.  These are available in the Academy bookstore.  It always works after I drop it.  Cadets also use flashlights to trace piping systems aboard the ship.  Mini mag lights will not shine a beam far enough to do this.  Mini mag lights are not authorized in the Engine Room.  Send extra batteries.

Safety glasses.  There are few things more uncomfortable than safety goggles.  Safety glasses are better in most situations simply because the cadets will wear them.  Send them with both so they can be comfortable and safe.  Safety glasses, where authorized, must meet ANSI Z87.1-2003 standards and have clear lenses.

Prescription safety glasses.  Yes, please get them.  A cadet wearing $400 super style glasses in the engine room and elsewhere will probably need to replace them by cruise end.  I have a heavy duty set of prescription safety glasses that are not stylish, but they protect my eyes.  If your cadet has prescription glasses, by all means look into prescription safety glasses.  They are not expensive (relative to stylish glasses) and some medical plans pay for them.  Spend the flashlight money on glasses.  Besides, since your cadet will NEVER wear them in public, they will last forever.  Also, be sure they have glass cleaners.

Hearing protection.  The ship is LOUD.  Hearing protection is required in many spaces aboard the ship, including the engine room.  Era Muffs with a noise reduction rating of at least NRR-22 are required.  Many cadets opt for ear plugs rather than bulky ear muffs, however they cannot be used in all situations and are not authorized for 4/c cadets in the engine room.

Personal Items

Are 4/Cs "allowed" to take any electronics (CD players, IPODs, GameBoys, etc.) on Sea Term? I thought I remember at one of the Parent's Intro To MMA sessions that after lights out, "eerie blue lights" appeared over many of the racks (as GameBoys came out). If they are "allowed", are there ways on the ship to "charge up" batteries? Since they are allowed to bring laptops, I would assume there is some way to recharge.

 

Yes, they are able to plug in personal electronic items to recharge. My son loves his electric razor. Make sure they take extra rechargeable batteries as they sometimes fail to hold a charge after heavy use.

 

One thing I would add to the list for the cadets about sea term is that if  they have something "taken" or lost" do not just look in the lost and found box on the ship.  Also try the ship safe. Last year someone took all of my daughter's CD's?  Well, she looked and looked in the lost and found, asked all around.  No one informed her that the ship had a safe.  And no one told her to try  there. Thank goodness that is where they were, she got them after the sea term  was over.  And lesson learned (I hope) label everything you own "REAL BIG", "BOLD" This might help if some other cadet is unfortunate to have something like this happen to them.  None of her squad leaders last year seemed to know to  tell her about the safe.

 

Sea Term check in:  Cadets cannot leave cars on campus during sea term.  If the Cadet is from out of state, and has a vehicle, where are they supposed to leave their vehicle?

 

There are often people who will "sit" cars over Sea Term, for free or for a nominal fee, in their yards.

Port Liberty & Safety

Where can I find the sea term watch rotation schedule?  I am considering going to Charleston and would like to know which days my son would be free.  As I recall, it has been posted online in previous years but I can't find it this  year.  Thanks. Also, what hours would a senior  have shore leave?

 

The short answer has always been that it's not possible to know ahead of time when your individual cadet will be available on which particular days in which port. I know firsthand how crazy this can make some folks, but situations change sometimes hour to hour or minute to minute, and the watch your cadet may have been scheduled for being off and for shore leave may be changed, and there's not much s/he can do about it.

I do know that they are all supposed to get some shore liberty at every port (unless there's a disciplinary thing going on, and that DOES happen). You can see what days they'll be in port, and coordinate via telephone for the best times to meet up. Because of security concerns in ports, you might well not be able to go out the pier to the ship itself, and have to plan to meet up in some agreed-on location elsewhere. Most kids have cell phones that will work when they are in sight of land (be sure you have the unlimited long distance, no roaming charge plan, or you'll be astounded at how much cell service costs.

 

I really hope that the upper-class this year will do a good job giving the freshman advice on port stays.  From reading these e-mails on the parents list, I think upper-class input will be the best advice they can get.  Captain Bushy always briefs the cadets before port as well with specifics such as what streets and localities to avoid.  With the upperclassmen's advice, they will learn only to carry the cash they anticipate on using (yes, there have been muggings in the recent past), always travel in groups, how to avoid getting in trouble with the academy (or getting the academy in trouble), and other necessary information for a safe voyage.

There has also been discussion here about drinking.  I was a freshman the last time MMA took a trip to NOLA.  Don't expect (even in NOLA) that just because your cadet is not old enough to drink in the states that they will not drink on cruse.  I would estimate that a good 95% of them will.  This is the first time for many that they will be allowed to go up to a bar and order a drink; it would be similar to a 21st birthday party for 150 college students all at once.  In my opinion, this is when the upper-class cadets really get to show their maturity and see that all of the freshman return to the ship unharmed and hopefully free of disciplinary action from the dreaded COM CAD staff.  Not trying to impose on parenting, but I do not think that as a college student a discussion about not drinking would be very effective -- it comes down to faith that the regimental system still works and that the upper class will know how to take responsibility, remembering what it was like for them just four short years ago

Departure & Arrival Days

What should we expect the day of Sea Term departure? Will we be able to say goodbye personally (ie HUG) or not? Would appreciate a little information about when to arrive, what to expect, etc

 

My boy's first year he reported back to school several days before sailing,  and they spent the better part of the week loading the ship with stuff--- 50,000 lbs of food, exercise gear from the gym, desks, washing machines & dryers,  classroom gear, you name it... The day the ship sailed we went back to the  Academy, We bought Sea Term tee shirts and Grownup Cruise raffle tickets from the  Parents Association (shameless plug here - you will also get to order Sea  Term Mugs and those nifty certificates from the MMAPA) and got to go aboard  for a tour from him, see the "racks" where they sleep, the engine room, the  house, and all. Then they blew the all ashore, and we climbed down the gangplank Then we all waved at the ship as it left the dock with the company lined up  along the rail. Then everyone runs to their cars and hurries down the canal to the scenic overlook, and waves at the ship going by again, and you might hear, as I did, a  bass voice booming across the water, "BYE, MOM!"  If you wear something bright-colored and hold up a big  embarrassing sign on a poster or bed sheet, that's helpful. If you both have cell phones it's easier to connect on the way out and when  the ship returns, as in, "I'm standing next to the last orange lifeboat, three  guys down from the really big guy, see him, see, I'm waving!"
When the time is closer they'll publish the arrival time for parents, the sailing time, and a schedule of events. The ship sailing time depends on the tide.

 

Will I be able to pick up my cadet the day the ship comes in?

 

Almost nothing is ever definite with sea term. Weather, mechanical events, and all nature of things can cause short notice changes to the schedule.  Also, there is a 3-4 day shut down period during which cadets continue standing watch and have duties unloading the ship.  In the past those watch bills and duty rosters have been finalized prior to the last port so that cadets can get the info back to their parents.

 

This reminder on watch on the ship after they return to BuzzBay on 2/26: Your cadet can tell you if/when s/he stands watch after they return. Watches  (IIRC) are eight hours, not the four/four split, which is helpful. Cadets from a distance from the campus can usually arrange an overnight crash at someone's house nearby so no one drives a long way home on sleep deprivation. I can't remember whether they can sleep on the ship, but I seem to remember they can. May not be the best place to actually SLEEP, though.

 

This has been well publicized on the ship and there is a Comcad sign up sheet outside the library. Preference order is cadets living (1) Outside New England, (2)New England not local, (3) Local. There's about 2 weeks to cover before return  for classes. Cadets have been on notice and plan accordingly, and can send an email via Seawave to let you know.

 

In order to make travel plans, we need to know WHEN our 4/c is due back at MMA. The academic calendar says report at 8 a.m on Monday at Blinn Hall. So does that mean if our son comes back on Sunday with only his sea term bag, there is no place for him to stay that night? If we can't make the trip Monday a.m. (too far), should we plan to book a hotel room Sunday night near MMA?

 

I have just rec'd information that students who return to campus on SUNDAY  may stay on the ship overnight Sunday night. Their choice as to whether that or someone's couch and a last home cooked meal would be more appealing.