New Degree Program Fast-Tracks Students into Maritime Careers

Written by on December 5, 2014 in Other News, Spotlight

Ocean Organization Spotlight: Northeast Maritime Institute
By Asta Mail

The maritime industry, like the sea itself, can sometimes seem vast and inaccessible. Working on the ocean requires an array of skills, certifications and talents. The more adaptable and useful you are on the water, the more likely you are to fall into well paid and reliable maritime work.

Seasoned sailors know that the best training comes from experience, from hours upon hours reading the wind and water, maintaining the vessels you work on, and adapting to life in a constantly changing environment. The evolving industries of marine research, luxury yachting, cruising, and international trade require sailors to be well educated and well rounded. The type of experience and training needed to secure a successful career in the maritime industry can be very challenging if you’re without a college degree or access to ships.

Classroom exercises. Image courtesy of the Northeast Maritime Institute.

Classroom exercises. Image courtesy of the Northeast Maritime Institute.

So, how can you combine the advanced education and required certifications with the practical skills to be successful on the ocean? The Northeast Maritime Institute in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, has risen to meet these needs. This coastal education institute has developed a brand new program to simultaneously provide students with nautical skills training and advanced college level courses.

Northeast Maritime Institute’s newest educational venture is called the Associate of Applied Science of Nautical Science Degree. This innovative two-year program is designed to introduce novice students with a passion for the ocean to the nautical world, and to fast track them towards successful careers at sea.

The program is designed to transition its graduates straight into vessel management positions. Students are trained in cargo operations, vessel operation and maintenance, ships business practices and safety management systems, so that, upon completion of the program, students will not only be certified by the US Coast Guard, The Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Association and the International Yachting Association (IYT), but they will have also earned a college Associate’s degree with the option to transfer these credits towards a four year college degree.

“The [Associate of Applied Nautical Science Degree] is unique in the sense that it is the only private Nautical Science degree program delivered in the US where a graduate will receive both a degree and a license,” says Eric Dawicki, President of the Northeast Maritime Institute.

“More importantly, this program will be delivered in an environment that is compassionate and nurturing. It is designed to facilitate individual successes that will ultimately build a highly performing mariner in the field, but also an honest, integral and hard working member of our maritime community.”

Northeast has been providing maritime training since 1981. It’s reputation stands on it’s success in preparing students for their Coast Guard examinations, along with an impressive safety record. This year, the institute chose to develop set itself apart from other maritime institutes with a degree program that could rival the educational value of a naval academy, but with a more inclusive and supportive approach.

Simulator. Image courtesy of the Northeast Maritime Institute.

Simulator. Image courtesy of the Northeast Maritime Institute.

You’ll find no uniforms or strict physical training at Northeast’s campus, housed on a former place of worship to the United States’ first Japanese Diplomat, Manjiro Nakahama. Outside of their classroom studies, students will spend much of their time on campus using the modern training tools provided, including tugboat and bridge simulators, radar and electronic navigation labs, and model davits and lifeboats. The maritime courses provided by the institute are designed to be split evenly between class lectures and hands on activities, which will keep students engaged and able to use their newly gained seamanship skills.

Once the classroom expectations are complete, students will have the opportunity to stretch their sea legs. Training will move out to the sea aboard Northeast’s traditionally rigged brigantine tall ship, the S/V Fritha. Aboard Fritha, students will have the opportunity to practice navigation, Marlinspike seamanship, marine ecology, and the lost art of square rig sailing.

In order to diversify their nautical experience, students are expected to spend a summer interning on another vessel of their choice. Students are encouraged to work on a wide range of vessels, from cruise ships, yachts and research ships, to military support or offshore supply vessels, and even tugs and barges. The extra sea time that the internships provide allow students of the program to graduate with a sum total of 420 days at sea.

Dawicki emphasizes that the course is designed with the success of individual students in mind. “Each entering class will take all courses together as one, but is limited to a maximum of 16 students. We expect this to increase retention rates dramatically as well as create a challenging environment [for students] when engaged in the performance based courses.”

This is the flagship year of the program, with Northeast only receiving approval to become a college in October of 2014. The school is currently enrolling with 6 spots available for January of 2015.

Bob Teaching at the helm. Image courtesy of the Northeast Maritime Institute.

Bob Teaching at the helm. Image courtesy of the Northeast Maritime Institute.

“We will want to simply start very small to ensure that we flesh out all the intricacies of delivering a proper degree program to our students, who we strongly believe are our customers. We must strive to deliver the best nautical education in the country simply because we are swimming in a unique fishbowl,” says Dawicki.

Needs-based scholarships are currently being developed to help students manage the financial expectations of the program.

Students are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible to begin this career building degree program. With the luck of the sea at their sides, by the year 2017, they will be ready and able to take on some of the most challenging and rewarding careers the nautical world has to offer.

To read more or apply for Northeast Maritime Institute’s Associate of Applied Nautical Science Degree, check out

Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

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