We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Shipping by ships, that is. I have a pal whose dad was a sea captain. Those guys certainly lead interesting, useful, and colorful lives. Long trips. Women or wives in every port.
A kid of a friend went to the US Merchant Marine Academy, which is in NYC. It is a demanding program and it is difficult to gain admission. An excellent goal for a kid who doesn't want to live in a cubicle and who is interested in mechanics, leadership, and can handle some math. Not unlike the Naval Academy, really, without the guns.
This post, From Breakbulk To The Container, will take some of your time because the amazing vintage videos will captivate. I had not realized that there were steel sailing ships at the NYC docks into the 1930s. Wonderful.
Admiralty lawyer here.
The Merchant Marine Academy (called "Kings Point") is actually not in NYC, but on the north shore of Long Island.
Not sure that it is that difficult to get into, but it is a service academy with the attendant complications.
Not sure that it is a great career choice. Granted, the education is free. (Service academy- Naval Reserves). But, as a practical matter, the US merchant marine is pretty small these days. As I understand it, no one hires US officers or crew unless they have to- Too expensive. (Under the Jones Act, US coastal trade has to be in US-flagged ships, e.g., oil tankers carrying Alaskan crude to Texas refineries).
Yes, it is in Kings Point, outside Great Neck. I believe it was the old Chrysler estate and the legend I heard they gave it up after the Throgs Neck bridge spoiled their view of their building in Manhattan.
I assume the SUNY Maritime, Cal Maritime, Mass Maritime and Texas AM Maritime still turn out mates and engineers. These days, go for the the engineer program as there are lots of shore jobs that need operating engineers, buildings, power plants, etc., after you decide to settle down.
Sailing isn't as romantic anymore as turnarounds in port are sometimes hours where in the distant past it might be a week or more in an exotic port. I knew an engineer once who told of working a tug on a long haul to New Zealand or some place. Slow going with the tow, a month or more. The third time the same container ship passed them on their high speed run, the mate on container ship called and asked if they needed help. Theirs quite a difference between covering a distance at 25-30 kts and 3 kts.
There is a great video of 1920's sailing ships where a Iowa farm boy somehow had a camera and took pictures aboard a German sailing ship rounding the horn. In one scene a sailor was blown off the rigging but held onto a line and was literally flapping in the wind before he was able to get his footing again. They built elevated boardwalks above the deck because the decks were awash from the waves.
I think that movie was made by Irving Johnson aboard the Peking, one of the last square riggers rounding the horn. I saw him show it as part of a program at Orange Coast college in about 1980. His famous cruises with college age kids were something I still envy. His boat was called The Brigantine Yankee and made a circumnavigation every three years with a volunteer crew of young people.