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Spirit is published three times per year by the Texas A&M Foundation, which manages major gifts and endowments for the benefit of academic programs, scholarships and student activities at Texas A&M University.

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29° 18’ 4’’ N, 94° 49’ 37’’ W

...that the Texas A&M Maritime Academy at Texas A&M University at Galveston is home to one of only six state maritime academies in the United States?

By Dorian Martin '06

...that the Texas A&M Maritime Academy at Texas A&M University at Galveston is home to one of only six state maritime academies in the United States?

By Dorian Martin '06

The Texas A&M Maritime Academy at Texas A&M University at Galveston trains officers in both marine transportation and marine engineering technology to serve on oceangoing and inland waterway vessels. The academy has a 100 percent placement of its graduates, who often enter their chosen profession with salaries ranging from $70,000 to $120,000. From day one, cadets train for their maritime futures through a series of simulations that include both hands-on and computer experiences. Learn what it takes to graduate from this prestigious institution and master a career at sea.

30° 37’ 6.708’’ N, 96° 20’ 11.4072’’ W

Finding Their Sea Legs

Early in their program, cadets participate in a class that requires them to complete actual physical simulations of what they will encounter on a ship. At this stage, they learn to tie knots, use lines, engage anchor systems and maneuver in confined spaces.

27° 43’ 0.408’’ N, 97° 19’ 36.1956’’ W

27° 43’ 0.408’’ N, 97° 19’ 36.1956’’ W

Mastering The Basics

Prior to starting a computer simulation, each cadet learns the no-tech methods first. For example, cadets initially learn to chart a ship’s course using the celestial bodies and a sextant before moving to a computer simulation that completes these calculations for them.

29° 18’ 45.61’’ N, 98° 31’ 29.31’’ W

29° 18’ 45.61’’ N, 98° 31’ 29.31’’ W

Hold Steady

A simulation in one class teaches students how to initiate dynamic positioning to keep a ship steady in the water, despite changes in wind, waves and current. Mastery of this skill is necessary when supporting diving operations, laying pipes or working on ships in close proximity to oil platforms. Galveston’s academy is the only U.S. maritime academy that teaches this course.

The T/S General Rudder

Cadets at Texas A&M University at Galveston have gained their sea legs during training missions aboard the T/S General Rudder since 2012.

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Support Future Mariners

The Texas A&M Maritime Academy has identified a number of giving opportunities that will help prepare future mariners.

25° 17’ 7.6056’’ N, 51° 31’ 51.744’’ E

25° 17’ 7.6056’’ N, 51° 31’ 51.744’’ E

Ready To Steer

The academy has a deck simulator that allows cadets to experience commanding a ship. The simulator, which can be fed simultaneously into video screens in three adjacent rooms, can be run using the same or different scenarios. Simulations accurately depict what cadets could experience at sea, including encountering a hurricane and showing views of different ports of call, including Galveston, Hong Kong and Aberdeen. The deck simulator can be programmed so that students in each room experience different vantage points of the same port from three different ships. As part of the simulation, students must communicate with each other or other vessels in a simulated environment.

33° 14’ 32.712’’ N, 95° 54’ 18.2412’’ W

Learn The Engine

Cadets enrolled in the Marine Engineering Technology Program use a workstation simulator to identify mechanical issues a ship could encounter and then construct a remedy for the problem using actual parts and tools. This simulation prepares students for working with diesel, steam, gas turbine and engine room resources.

34° 58’ 47.0244’’ N, 101° 54’ 20.1924’’ W

34° 58’ 47.0244’’ N, 101° 54’ 20.1924’’ W

Sail Away

After preparing via simulations, cadets are ready to participate as crewmembers on three required summer training cruises. During summer 2019, a total of 264 cadets served along with crew and faculty aboard the T/S Golden Bear, which is assigned to the California State University Maritime Academy. The group sailed to Puerto Rico, the Panama Canal, Hawaii, Washington and California.

This vessel, along with all other U.S. maritime academies’ training vessels, is owned by the U.S. Department of Transportation through the federal Maritime Administration. Each academy leases its vessel to support and fulfill its academic mission.

However, the General Rudder’s small size, restricted range and slow speed preclude its use in the academy’s extended summer training cruises. For these experiences, university officials coordinate the sharing of vessels from other U.S. maritime academies.

The General Rudder’s limited capacity also hampers its ability to serve its secondary role as a FEMA support vessel. Previous Texas A&M University at Galveston training ships have provided relief to U.S. Gulf Coast communities following natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina.

Despite the pressing need, a replacement ship is not currently available in the U.S. reserve fleet. Texas A&M University officials are working with state officials to appropriate federal funds for a replacement.


Endowed gifts of $25,000 or more, payable over a five-year period, can support:

  • A new facility that would include a 365-degree deck simulation

  • Additional software that depicts different ports, ships and specialized mission functions

  • A full mission simulator that uses programmatic flat screens to simulate working in a large engine room and around various pieces of equipment

  • Scholarships for cadets

To support the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, contact Rick Kline, assistant vice president for development, at (409) 741-4030 or



Richard Kline

Senior Director Vice President for Development
Texas A&M University at Galveston