Here are some handy tips on the next group of sea going Mids from the Colorado Parent's Association Newsletter:
"TOP 10" POINTS TO REMEMBER
WHEN MIDSHIPMEN GO TO SEA
Below are our current “Top Ten” we are trying
to pass on to our next group of Cadets going to
1. KP arranges flights from KP to assignment,
assignment to assignment, assignment back to KP
USMMA CAN NOT arrange flights to homes.
2. There is NO guarantee of leave during sea
3. 1st time sailor goal is 110-120 commercial sea
4. 2nd time sailor MUST obtain the balance of days
to bring commercial sea time to 300 days.
5. Chain of command for cadets is through the
ALL MATTERS REGARDING THE SCHOOL OR
SEA ASSIGNMENT MUST GO VIA THE ATR
6. Work day is 8 hours/day, 7 days/week, 2 to 3
hours spent on sea project; cadet turns to for all
extra-ordinary routines (docking, undocking,
7. Sea Year Guide has answers to most questions:
READ THE SEA YEAR GUIDE! prior to contacting
ATR with question.
8. CADETS ARE TREATED AS ADULTS while
under our authority and are expected to act as
adults on board ships.
9. Should have a credit card during Sea Year for
10. From Dental Department: must have had the
approved dental appointments and be cleared to
go to sea.
When on their Sea Year, the cadet’s primary point
of contact is the ATR. They are each assigned an
ATR that follows them throughout both sea years.
Each cadet is given a card with the work and office
phones of all ATRs and me. Their ATR should be
contacted first in all cases, routine and
emergency. E-mail is the primary method for
If their assigned ATR is not available at the time of
their call, they should try again later that day. Also,
tell them to be mindful of the day and time,
especially if calling from overseas. The ATRs
understand that sometimes there is only a small
window of opportunity to make a call and they
routinely field questions at night and on the
In the case of emergencies and we mean true
emergencies, when the assigned ATR is not
available the cadet should call one of the other
ATRs. Since the cadets’ definition of an emergency
is sometimes different than the academy’s, for
example: wanting to know your flight arrangements
over a week before arrival in port is not an
emergency— However, arriving in port and not
having received your flights is an emergency. By
now the phone system may have already been
upgraded so it can automatically help find an
available ATR in an emergency.
The cadets are given a code word to include in a
conversation or e-mail if they have a problem that
they cannot discuss without fear of someone
overhearing. This is not something they should
use lightly because it sets gears in motion that
move quickly to remove the cadet from that ship.
Lastly, we don’t mean that they should complain if
they’re being told something they don’t like and
they want to see if “Daddy” will say okay when
“Mommy” said no—as parents, I’m sure you are all
aware of this “oldest trick in the book.” The ATRs
are dealing with hundreds of cadets and
sometimes there are misunderstandings of intents
or desires. Tell your students that ATRs
appreciate it most when a cadet comes out and
asks for something directly instead of beating
around the bush and expecting them to figure it out.
6. Depends on the ship. I've had ships where I work 12-15 hour days and ships where I get weekends off. Typically work will be split between deckwork and watchstanding, but this is not always true. Expect anything.
8. This really depends on the ship. Some you are treated like mates others, you are treated like s***.
Personal Advice: Make sure you bug the ATRs endlessly about getting you on a ship, they won't do anything otherwise.
I could give more advice, but that info seems to be in line with the current topic.
RE: #1 (travel): I'm hearing some chatter that MSC will provide transportation to places other than the Academy--- i.e. cities closer to home, if its less expensive than flying back to the Academy. Any truth to such a rumor -- or is it just wishful thinking?
St. Crispian, MSC will indeed work with kids on flying them other places. It is a fact. If MSC puts them on a plane to another location besides back to KP, you're on your own in getting them back to the Academy.
k314sig09, thanks for your insight. I wobbled on posting this as I hear that Mids have such different experiences than the basic set of rules suggest. An 8 hour work day is kinda "iffy". 12 - 14 hour work days with pay for 8 hours to boot with one day off in 12 days straight sometimes. Plays heck with the sea year project. Be prepared to work hard without complaint.
I've looked up and down ALL of the service academy's forums.
All these kids develop Masters Degrees in that singular subject.
I'd sign on to a ship just to watch the silly expressions on their faces when they realize what "brook no dissent" means in the real world.
Man, these kids get an awful lot shoved into a teeny-tiny space of time. My hat's off to each of them.
LOL Zonker. I grinned while reading your thoughts. I am sending my "little ray of sunshine" a boodle box tomorrow to brighten his little sunshine self. I feel sure I should send apology notes all around KP at the moment. Maybe if I send a happy face t-shirt for him to wear...... Sigh......
yea keeping it to one rolling bag and a backpack is clutch...bare essentials and clothes that can double as work and going out (like a hoody...assuming you don't get it covered in grease, oil, etc.)
My first time out I wanted to get in some real big rolls and see what it's all about....screw that! the greatest rolls I've been in were about 30 degrees cross the mid-atlantic at the end of january. It was so annoying. It's hard to sleep, do sea projects, and your stuff slides all over the place. I'd probably have my gumby suit on standby with 50 degrees...that'd freak me out. That vid looks like it was from a ro-ro...which if memory serves me correct from some old class here at kp, with their high freeboard they've been known to capsize more then other types of ship. I think that ABS and other inspection/certification agencies set a minimum degree that a ship must be able to roll without capsizing. it varies ship to ship...but I think i've heard some around 55 degrees...yea i'd be scared...woooo
as for the no complaining thing...i think modesty and being humble is a good bet. I say complain all you want....to your sea partner in the privacy of your rooms. If I didn't gripe to him and him to me some days I don't know how I woulda made it. When you're pulling 18 hour days 5 days straight cleaning the grain out of a cargo hold (when you arent even a deckie!) you get a little on edge. I'm over it...a hard days work is good for you.