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About USMMA

About the United States Merchant Marine Academy

United States Merchant Marine Academy is a federal service academy that educates and graduates licensed Merchant Marine officers of exemplary character who serve America’s marine transportation and defense needs in peace and war. With 95 percent of the world's products transported over water, these leaders are vital to the effective operation of our merchant fleet for both commercial and military transport during war and peace. Academy graduates abide by the motto “Acta Non Verba" - deeds not words, and are leaders that exemplify the concept of service above self.

Known for its rigorous academic program, USMMA requires more credit hours for a baccalaureate degree than any other Federal service academy.  This challenging coursework is augmented by the Academy’s Sea year experience, which affords midshipmen the opportunity to acquire hands-on, real-world experiences aboard working commercial vessels sailing to ports around the world.  Midshipmen who master this demanding curriculum earn a unique combination of credentials:

  • An highly-regarded Bachelor of Science degree
  • A U.S. Coast Guard license
  • An officer’s commission in the U.S. Armed Forces

For this reason, Academy graduates are highly sought after as officers in the military and the merchant marine.  This merchant fleet of efficient and productive commercial ships owned by U.S. companies and registered and operated under the American flag, forms an essential part of our domestic and international transportation system.  U.S. Merchant Marine graduates play a key role in this industry, which is vital to America’s economy and continued prosperity.

All graduates have a service obligation upon graduation that provides the most career options offered by any of the federal academy.

  • Graduates can choose to work five years in the United States maritime industry with eight years of service as an officer in any reserve unit of the armed forces.
  • Or five years active duty in any of the nation’s armed forces.

In time of war or national emergency, the U.S. Merchant Marine becomes vital to national security as a "fourth arm of defense." Our merchant ships bear the brunt of delivering military troops, supplies and equipment overseas to our forces and allies operating as an auxiliary unit to the Navy. The stark lessons of the twenty first century conflicts again prove that a strong merchant marine is an essential part of American security and sea power.

The nation's economic and security needs met by the U.S. Merchant Marine are compelling. Today, the United States imports approximately 85 percent of some 77 strategic commodities critical to America's industry and defense. Although we, as a nation, account for only six percent of the world population, we purchase nearly a third of the world's output of raw materials. Ninety-nine percent of these materials are transported by merchant vessels.

But the most important element in a productive merchant fleet and a strong transportation industry is people - men and women who can lead with integrity, honor, intelligence, dedication, and competence. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy ensures that such people are available to the nation as shipboard officers and as leaders in the transportation field who will meet the challenges of the present and the future.

Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2013