Sea year progress

I am pleased to report that today MARAD Administrator Mark H. Buzby signed revised sea year SASH standards (the “SCCT standards”) that a shipping company must meet before it can accept Academy midshipmen for sea year).  With almost a year of experience with the original standards, MARAD has been able to tweak the standards in ways that should make it easier for shipping companies to demonstrate that they can host midshipmen for sea year without reducing the safety of the midshipmen.  The major criteria in the standareds have been reduced from seven to four, and this should lift the administrative burden on shipping companies significantly. You can see the new standards here.  Bravo Zulu to RADM Buzby, Dr. Shahsi Kumar, and the others on his team at MARAD who have been working to bring this about.  

RADM Buzby informed me this afternoon that MARAD has begun notifying the companies who have not yet returned to accepting midshipmen for sea year about the new standards. It is clear that he continues to take a personal interest in improving the quality of sea year; and, he he indicated that there are specific steps he and Dr. Kumar are each personally taking in the coming week to try to encourage additional companies to begin qualifying under the revised SCCT standards.

In another positive development, in response to my ongoing quest to get more detailed information about the status of sea year RADM Buzby advised me earlier this week that “we’ve stopped using the RRF – except for some [RRF ships] activated for missions – which was a practice used prior to the stand down too. MSC ships are back to pre- stand down levels too.”  So no more sea year on ships welded to the dock.

In all of my recent communications with RADM Buzby, as far back as Homecoming and as late as today, he has been focused on expanding opportunities for midshipmen to spend a part of their sea year on tankers. The lack of tankers for sea year remains a huge deficit in the restoration of sea year. That deficit was caused by the ill-advised sea year stand down cancellation and midshipmen continue to suffer from it.  It is good to know that he is continuing the full court press to try to address that issue.




  1. Thank you to RADM Mark “Buz” Buzby, Dr. Kumar, KingsPointSentry, and to those working very hard behind the scenes, to fully restore Sea Year, by leveraging their industry relationships, their Mariner expertise and experience, and their personal and professional reputations and relationships. Parents and Midshipmen greatly and fully appreciate and respect everything, everyone is doing, to create the best learning, training, and educational experience, for our son’s and daughters. May everyone have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Holiday, and a Happy New Year. Here’s to Rowing together, in the same direction, and to making great progress in 2018!

  2. Congrats to RADM Buzby, Dr. Kumar and Andy Simpson for keeping us all informed. Having attended Homecoming and hearing RADM Buzby on a couple of occasions during the weekend, I am very encourgaged with the direction of KP!

  3. Ditto. Thank you Admiral Buzby!

    I went to sea on US Flag merchant ships as a licensed deck officer for over 30 years, and always appreciated the Kings Point cadets on board. It was a mutually beneficial situation.

  4. Give it to us straight. If you had a senior in high school who is a candidate for the class of 2022 and has rec’d a nomination what is your recommendation? Do they continue to look at USMMA or move on to other options? From a parent there is much hesitancy to encourage my son in this direction. This is the million dollar question that needs to be answered. I am certain there are other parents just like us who are reading and wondering if committing to the USMMA is the equivalent of collegiate roulette.

    • A good friend of mine’s son is a plebe at the Academy now. I encouraged his son to look into the Academy (before the stand down) and when he decided to apply (during the height of the stand down), I warned him about the problems and suggested that he have some back up schools. By the time he was accepted, the stand down was over and I was reasonably confident that the new Maritime Administrator was going to be RADM Buzby. At that point, I encouraged him to attend and told him that I thought by the time his sea year began, I thought the worst would be over. He’s got another trimester before he can go to sea, and I think things will be better then than they are now. It’s by no means perfect at present, but it is much better than it was during the stand down. It is still a tough slog to overcome the damage that was done by the stand down. I personally believe that until Helis is replaced, many within the industry will remain reluctant to accept Kings Point cadets. For someone entering the Class of 2022, I believe the chances that sea year will be much better than it is presently are very good (and I cannot imagine that Helis will still be the superintendent by then).

Comments are closed.