Maine Maritime Academy students, officers, and crew will visit ports on the Atlantic coast, Puerto Rico, and Canada this spring as part of the college’s annual two-month training cruise to foreign and domestic ports-of-call. This year’s training cruise itinerary includes, Key West, FL, May 13-16; Ponce, Puerto Rico, May 27-28; San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 29-June 1; St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, June 12-15; and Baltimore, MD, June 21-24. The ship will make a brief stop in Rockland, Maine, for a family day sail on the return leg to Castine. Under the command of Captain Larry Wade of Bradley, Maine, the training ship, State of Maine, will begin departure operations 10:00 a.m., and will depart from Castine harbor at approximately 10:30 a.m., on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. The training cruise will commence in port on Friday, May 1, for pre-sailing preparation.

State of Maine

According to Captain Wade, students participating in this year’s training cruise will have the opportunity to visit a number of dynamic port cities in the US, Puerto Rico, and Canada. ‘This is the second year in a row that we’ve cruised coastwise,’ said Wade. ‘While Maine Maritime Academy is known internationally for the quality of its seafarers, US flag commerce with Europe begins right here in our home ports and it’s vital to expose students to the port operations on the Atlantic coast.’

‘Each year our students alternate training cruises aboard our ship with those in industry so we plan cruise itineraries which focus on ports in North America for two consecutive years. Then we head across the Atlantic for the following two consecutive years. By doing this, most students gain exposure to a variety of foreign and domestic ports pertinent to their future seafaring careers.’

‘Follow the Voyage,’ MMA’s annual online ship tracking and interactive website, will be coordinated by students and staff as part of this year’s training activities. ‘Follow the Voyage’ is developed and presented in conjunction with a number of external partners including the Maine Department of Education and the US Maritime Administration. In its ninth year of operation, the site covers the Academy’s annual training cruise from a variety of perspectives. In addition to an interactive tracking chart of the cruise, the site provides links devoted to teaching and educational materials for students of all ages.