USMMA Waterfront in High Gear during the Fall Months
The USMMA waterfront has been operating in high gear throughout the fall months. Recreational activities at the waterfront served as a key distraction to a regiment that was, by consensus, largely confined to campus from July to the end of November. In addition to providing water-borne activities like paddle boarding, kayaking (with supporting equipment donated through the generosity of the USMMA Alumni Association and Foundation), sailing, and fishing, the T/V Kings Pointer (pictured above, photo credit: Ginger Buono) and Liberator seized the opportunity to increase their supporting activities for those First Classmen in need of additional sea time, and to jump-start the Sea Year activities of the Class of 2023B-split midshipmen. As the holiday season got underway, we had a chance to ask Capt. Scott McCormick about the fall months and how the Kings Pointer and the Liberator increased their operational tempo in order to assist midshipmen in need of sea time.
He told us, “In order to support the sea time needs of the 2023B-split midshipmen, Kings Pointer hosted a group of holdovers beginning on Sept. 21, 2020. The holdovers got underway weekly on board both Kings Pointer and Liberator for training evolutions on Long Island Sound. A second group of holdovers arrived on board on Oct. 5, and after complying with regimental quarantine requirements, we continued training evolutions each week. The training was tailored to assist the participating midshipmen in completing their sea projects and covered subjects like navigation law, seamanship, terrestrial navigation, electronic navigation equipment and all the on board maintenance necessary to operate a ship. During the months of September and October each midshipmen was able to accrue almost 30 days of sea time.”
Capt. McCormick went on to say, “On Nov. 9, a new group of 60 midshipmen reported to the training vessel to begin their sea year training. Many of them were expecting to join the T/S General Rudder in Galveston, Texas, around the third week of November, and the crew of Kings Pointer was eager to prepare them for the trip. Both Kings Pointer and Liberator answered to call by sailing daily with the group so they could begin to earn valuable sea days. Each morning and afternoon, 30 midshipmen would get underway while the remaining 30 received training shore-side at Yocum Sailing Center. The shore-side training covered crane operations, forklift driving, and paint preparation and application. Some midshipmen even got the opportunity to break down and rig out two large diesel engines from TV 210, a retired 41-foot Coast Guard patrol boat. The cadets underway on board Kings Pointer and Liberator continued training that assisted them with the sea projects and helped prepare them for their commercial shipping assignments. By the end of the two weeks the waterfront was able to award a combined 480 sea days to the cadets who participated in the training.”
“On November 19, Kings Pointer got underway to assist First Class cadets in finishing sea projects for graduation. The ship spent time near Long Island’s east end as many students were completing their celestial navigation projects. The weather cooperated and we had two clear days and nights for both sun and star sights. When the weather was not as cooperative, the midshipmen practiced piloting the vessel around the Arthur Kill and Kill Van Kull areas as well as navigating a short evolution up the Hudson River to the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. Kings Pointer returned from that trip on November 24th so everyone could depart USMMA in time to make it home for Thanksgiving.”
The global health crisis has affected everyone, from the Regiment of Midshipmen, to local City of Great Neck businesses, to commercial shipping companies. The opportunities provided by the waterfront crews in USMMA vessels have never been more important than they are right now. Bravo Zulu to the waterfront team and especially to the crews of the Kings Pointer and the Liberator. Your efforts during the fall have been critical to the continued accomplishment of the USMMA mission.
The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, located in Kings Point, N.Y, educates and graduates leaders of exemplary character who are inspired to serve the national security, marine transportation, and economic needs of the United States as licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Academy, which was established under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1943. It is administered by the Maritime Administration under the auspices of the Department of Transportation.