From President Cropper:
As a former flag officer in the US Navy and president of one of the seven national maritime academies in the US, I watched the drama of the Ever Given grounding in the Suez Canal with keen interest. Every day on our campus in the Carquinez Strait just north of San Francisco, we train students—here we call them cadets—for lives of purpose in the shipping industry, logistics, marine transportation, engineering – as well as in global policy and oceanography. Cal Maritime cadets graduate with a valuable education and fantastic skills that serve our evolving global economy. So, I admit I was somewhat gratified to see that the eyes of the world were focused for a few days on the very thing that we teach 365 days, year after year.
Our curriculum involves hands-on training on the Training Ship Golden Bear, docked at our campus, experience in realistic, high-fidelity, state-of-the-art simulators, and classroom time with faculty who are proven experts in the field. We are a teaching institution with a growing research presence of value to both our cadets and future employers. Cal Maritime grads are workforce ready with real skills and work experiences that make them immediately valuable to employers who operate in a dynamic and rapidly changing world.
On any given day, even (and especially) during the pandemic, I watch our cadets training on the waterfront in a tugboat (yes tugboats—the small heroes of the Ever Given drama!) and other training vessels, on bridge and engine simulators, or in the engine room and navigation lab of the Golden Bear. Many spend hours in our machine shop learning to cut, shape, and form parts for engine components and more. You’d find others in classrooms (or on Zoom, these days) learning engineering, math, science, ocean stewardship, and foundational skills required for their majors. They learn about the great challenges of transporting raw materials, unfinished goods, and finished goods to market.
These cadets are carefully and expertly guided by our faculty, themselves trained in a multitude of international marine transportation and shipping-related enterprises. Our program is far more involved than just learning theory. At Cal Maritime, our cadets learn through hands-on instruction, developing competence, expertise and confidence in leading the next generation of maritime professionals.
Cal Maritime cadets come from all over California, from the West Coast, from Hawaii and from other locales around the world in pursuit of an education for a maritime-related career in a growing global economy. Our commitment to upward mobility and inclusiveness means that we educate underserved students, guiding them through the demanding yet rewarding maritime education experience.
Importantly, once they receive their degrees here, they get jobs— and well-paying ones. There are multiple skills and many levels of expertise needed to support the enormous economy of global shipping and logistics. Our graduates go on to be ship captains, engineers, maritime policy makers, and experts in logistics and managing supply chain. Some operate ferries, cruise ships, oil tankers, and container ships. Others do oceanographic research, work in the clean energy field, or head to high tech industries. A Cal Maritime education has launched countless fascinating careers, both shoreside and at sea.
I, for one, am mighty glad the Ever Given is free. I’m also glad that global trade is back up and running once again and that no one was injured during the extended closure of the Suez Canal. And I’m glad, if just for a moment, that a bright light has been shined on the incredible American maritime professionals from our national maritime academies.
ABOUT CAL MARITIME
Established in 1929, California State University Maritime Academy is the only degree-granting maritime academy on the West Coast. Located in Vallejo, California, the campus serves nearly 1,000 students and offers undergraduate degrees preparing students for careers in engineering, transportation, international relations, business, and global logistics. The new oceanography degree program launched in the fall of 2020. Cal Maritime also offers a master’s degree in Transportation and Engineering Management, as well as a number of extended learning programs and courses.