Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Massachusetts Maritime Academy (also called Maritime, Mass Maritime, MMA or Mass (when differentiating between the other Maritime Academies) is a public college in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts offering undergraduate degrees in maritime-related fields, as well as graduate degrees and professional studies. Established in 1891, Mass Maritime is the second oldest state maritime academy in the United States. Originally established to graduate deck and engineering officers for the U.S. Merchant Marine, the academy has since expanded its curriculum. Though not required, some graduates go on to serve in active and reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces. The academy operates a training ship, the USTS Kennedy.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy
MottoDiscipline, Knowledge, Leadership
Endowment$13,051,554 (2014)[1]
PresidentRADM Francis X. McDonald, USMS
Administrative staff
full-time, part-time
Undergraduates1700 cadets
Postgraduates331 students
Location, ,
United States
AthleticsOfficial site
ColorsBlue      and      Yellow


Massachusetts Maritime Academy was founded by an act of the state legislature on June 11, 1891 as the Massachusetts Nautical Training School; the name was changed in 1913 to the Massachusetts Nautical School and it took its present name in 1942. The school's first training ship was the USS Enterprise on loan from the Navy.

The school was located at a pier in Boston until 1936. It then was moved to Hyannis, MA on Cape Cod, where it remained until after World War II. In 1946, the Academy acquired land at the State Pier on Taylors Point in Buzzards Bay, MA at the southern end of the Cape Cod Canal with a berth deep enough to accommodate the USS Charleston, the school's new training ship. A classroom building was built, but life and education at the school continued to revolve around its training ships for the next 25 years.

In 1972, the state legislature appropriated money to build brick dormitories, a cadet mess hall, the library, a second classroom building that also encompassed the school's administrative offices, a football and baseball diamond, and a gymnasium. At that time, the structure of the Corps of Cadets shifted from ship-based watches and divisions to a platoon, company and battalion system similar to that of the Naval Academy better suited to the new dormitories.

Women were first admitted to the academy in 1978, with the Class of 1981. At that time, the existing battalion structure was expanded to become a two-battalion regiment as two additional company dormitories were completed. The most recently completed building was for the school's radar simulator trainer.

One unique off-campus program run by the Academy is the scale model ship-handling program (similar to the supertanker training school in France) that is run on a pond ten miles from the campus. It is the only program of its kind in the United States. Many types of 'ships' and several scale model 'ports' are set up on the pond. The quality of the training ship's officers receive from this program is such that the U.S. Coast Guard will remit a quarter of the sea time required to upgrade a deck officer's license from Chief Mate to Master upon successful completion of the course.

Mass. Maritime's traditional Marine Transportation or Marine Engineering majors were expanded to include many additional maritime-related majors in 1990 (see Academic Programs, below) in time for the school's centennial celebration. At the same time, for the first time the Academy began offering master's degree programs in various disciplines.

In 2008, the Academy acquired a Vestas 660-kilowatt wind turbine and began installation of solar power screens on top of the dormitories. As the windspeed across the campus averages 12 to 15 knots year round, the location is ideal for wind power. At present, 30% of the Academy's power needs are supplied by the wind turbine and solar power. The current administration hopes to eventually make Massachusetts Maritime Academy's campus self-sufficient in regard to electric power. As it is, the Academy is the 'greenest' of the twelve colleges in the state college system and one of the greenest colleges in the country.

Regiment of Cadets

All residential students are members of the Academy's Regiment of Cadets. Within the Regiment, cadets supervise other cadets in a broad variety of activities, including the orientation of freshmen, room inspections, Morning Formation, daily cleaning stations, study hours, sea term planning and shipboard responsibilities. Students who seek to enroll in the Facilities Engineering or the Emergency Management programs as non-uniformed commuter students must apply in writing for admission to that status.

Academy freshmen, called "Youngies" (short for "young ladies and gentlemen" or unofficially, "young swine"), arrive at the Academy in mid-August for Orientation, a two-week military-style indoctrination program that is physically and mentally demanding. It encompasses regimental training, military drill, and physical fitness. It also serves as an introduction to shipboard/maritime safety, nomenclature, and customs. The indoctrination period and cadet candidate program is essential to the preparation for the youngies' first semester at sea (sea term) in January.

After Orientation, the academic year begins. For the rest of their first academic year as fourth class cadets, Youngies continue to be required to adhere to stringent rules affecting many aspects of their daily life.

Second class cadets (juniors) are designated Squad Leaders and are in charge of the training of the Youngies. First class cadets (seniors) hold cadet officer positions within the regiment and/or aboard the training ship.

Special units

Regimental Band and Chorus

Composed of 60 officers, the MMA Band and Chorus is the premier musical ensemble of the academy and the official music department of the MMA. It takes part in all ceremonial events at MMA as well as changes of command, military retirements and funerals at Massachusetts National Cemetery. The band also provides music for community events around the New England, region.[2][3]

The band consists of the following ensembles:

  • Ceremonial Field and Concert Band
  • Stowaway String Band
  • Chamber Chorus
  • Jazz Ensemble "First Watch"
  • Rock Band
  • Buccaneers Brass Band
  • Drum Line "The Groove Merchants"

MMA Band Staff:

  • Lieutenant Wayne Magee, Director[4]
  • Dominic Vaccari, Drum Major
  • Greg Mills, Operations Officer

Alpha Platoon

The Alpha Platoon is the regiment's exhibition drill unit whose members are selected after a semester of mastering drill and ceremony.[5]

Honour Guard

The honour guard is primarily a ceremonial colour guard consisting of at least 6 cadets. They are responsible for the posting of the colours during athletic events. It also maintains a sabre team for other events at the MMA.


Prior to the expansion of its offered majors in 1990, the academy was exclusively a merchant marine college, tasked with the training of future cargo ship officers. The academy only offered majors in the ship transport subjects of Marine Transportation and Marine Engineering. The academy now offers many more majors focused on maritime subjects including graduate degrees.

Sea term

Sea terms are conducted between the two academic semesters, in January and February. Cadets register soon after the New Year holiday and prepare the USTS Kennedy for sailing, including loading provisions in the freezers and dry stores spaces. The ship sails for foreign ports of the Caribbean Sea three out of four years, and one in four formerly traveled to the Mediterranean Sea. At least one of the Caribbean voyages includes the Panama Canal and an Equator crossing.

The voyage lasts about 52 days on average, and during that time a cadet will rotate through class and laboratory training at sea, ships operations including deck and engine watches, maintenance and emergency drills. Port visits offer a time to relax, but still include watch responsibilities and ship's maintenance.

Training ships

  • USS Enterprise (17 October 1892 – 4 May 1909)[6]
  • USS Ranger (26 April 1909 – 29 October 1917) rechristened to Rockport
    • Rockport (30 October 1917 – 20 February 1918) rechristened to USS Nantucket during World War I
    • USS Nantucket (21 February 1918 – 1920s) rechristened to Bay State
    • Bay State (1920s–1941) rechristened to TV Emery Rice upon her transfer to the US Merchant Marine Academy[7]
  • Keystone State (1942) former USCGC Seneca, borrowed from Pennsylvania Maritime Academy
  • American Pilot (1943–1945) former Empire State
  • American Mariner (1946) former George Calvert
  • Yankee States (1947) former USS Sirona, shared with Maine Maritime Academy
  • SC 1321 (1946–1948)
  • USS Charleston (1949–1957)
  • USTS Bay State II (1957–1973) former USS Doyen
  • USTS Bay State III (1974–1978) former Empire State IV, former USS Henry Gibbins
  • USTS Empire State V (1979) former USNS Barrett, borrowed from SUNY Maritime
  • USTS Bay State IV (1980–1981) former Barrett class USNS Geiger, destroyed by fire, December 1981
  • USTS State of Maine (1982–1983) former Barrett class USNS Upshur, borrowed from Maine Maritime Academy
  • USTS Empire State V (1984) borrowed again from SUNY Maritime
  • USTS State of Maine (1985) borrowed again from Maine Maritime Academy
  • USTS Patriot State (1986–1998) former Santa Mercedes
  • USTS Empire State VI (1999–2003) borrowed from SUNY Maritime
  • USTS Enterprise (2003–2008) former USNS Cape Bon, former SS Velma Lykes[8]

Shanghai exchange program

The academy offers an exchange program to Shanghai Maritime Academy, an 18,000-student school situated next to a deep-water port. Cadets spend 100 days in the Shanghai program taking maritime business, law, and marketing classes and exploring the country to gain the experience they will need in the international maritime field. Four months later, Chinese cadets make the trek to Taylor's Point and spend a semester at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. They are immersed into American culture, featuring trips to Boston, New York, Washington DC, and Plymouth Plantation.

Campus alternative and renewable energy

Massachusetts Maritime Academy has done a great deal of work to incorporate green and safe energy to the campus. The campus green energy initiative consists of solar panels on top of the dormitories that provide 81 kilowatts of solar power to the campus. The Academy also owns a 660 kilowatt wind turbine that provides nearly 20 percent of the campus's electricity.

Combined heat and power has been installed in the dormitories. Micro-turbines (small scale combustion turbines) generate electricity for the campus while utilizing the waste heat and flue exhaust to heat the hot water used in the dormitories.

The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) Information Commons is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum Building. The 42,000 square foot building opened in September 2011 and was a 23 million dollar project. The construction of the building used 100% recycled steel; 20% recycled concrete; and 40% recycled insulation. The wood in the building is all bamboo as well. The building is cooled and heated by a geothermal system along with chilled beam technology. Additional light sensors and natural light are provided with skylights reducing the need for artificial lighting when enough natural light is present. The building is furnished with water conserving fixtures and the landscaping uses no irrigation for the planted areas. Water captured from the roof irrigates plantings adjacent to the building. In addition, the pitch of the roof of the ABS Information Commons increases the airflow directed towards the wind turbine by 8%.


Massachusetts Maritime Buccaneers
UniversityMassachusetts Maritime Academy
ConferenceMASCAC, NEFC
NCAADivision III
Athletic directorMike Kelley
LocationBuzzards Bay, Massachusetts
Varsity teams18
Football stadiumEdward A. Ellis Field
Basketball arenaClean Harbors Athletic Center
MascotBucky the Buccaneer
Fight songOur Director, Anchors Aweigh (unofficial)
ColorsBlue      and      Gold

Sports teams for Massachusetts Maritime Academy compete as the Buccaneers and currently include baseball, men's and women's crew, men's and women's cross country, football, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's sailing, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's track & field, and volleyball. These teams compete in the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference, Eastern College Athletic Conference, New England Football Conference, Pilgrim Lacrosse League, Mid-Atlantic Rifle Conference, Intercollegiate Sailing Association and the New England Women's Lacrosse Alliance.

  • 1977 Football: The team won the New England Football Conference championship, a school first, winning 8 games and losing only once.
  • 1995 Football: The Buccaneers were # 1 in total defense in the nation
  • 2005 Men's Cross Country: The Buccaneers earned the school's first MASCAC conference championship in over 20 years. The team placed 2nd in 2003 and 2006.




  1. "Massachusetts Maritime Academy". U.S. News & World Report.
  2. "Regimental Field & Concert Band | Massachusetts Maritime Academy".
  3. TATZ, DENNIS. "Plymouth Thanksgiving parade will feature floats, mystery guest". The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, MA.
  4. McCormick, Cynthia (June 25, 2019). "MMA band director's book tells tale of perseverance". Cape Cod Times.
  5. "Alpha Platoon: Exhibition Drill Unit | Massachusetts Maritime Academy".
  6. "Massachusetts Maritime Academy History". p. 9. Archived from the original on February 20, 2004.
  7. "Emery Rice T. V. Engine (1873)" (PDF). The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. September 28, 1985. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 9, 2008.
  8. "History of T.S. Enterprise". p. 2. Archived from the original on December 24, 2002.

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