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MSTP at Sector New York

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2023) Permanent link   All Posts
Teegan Cordova

The Coast Guard is a lot like fifteen agencies in a trench coat. Conducting operations from drug interdiction to environmental protection, the service demonstrates versatility on the daily. Afloat operations comprise most cadet experiences in the fleet; during 3/c (sophomore) summer, cadets go underway on the tall ship Eagle for five to six weeks and to a small boat station or cutter for another five to six weeks, and 1/c (seniors) often spend a full twelve weeks on a cutter. While invaluable, those afloat experiences represent only a portion of available opportunities in the Coast Guard. If any of the myriad other officer subspecialties interest you, a handful of programs at the Academy introduce cadets to alternative career paths.

One such opportunity, the Marine Safety Training Program (MSTP), acquaints rising 2/c (cadets going into their junior year) with prevention ashore over the course of a week. Prevention ashore involves vessel and container inspections, investigations, port security, and marine safety engineering. In June, I attended MSTP at Sector New York on Staten Island with three other cadets. We focused on marine inspections, shadowing junior officers and enlisted personnel looking at cargo ships, oil tankers, small passenger vessels, tugboats, and more. A 2020 Academy graduate graciously taught us through the week. Her professionality interacting with the captains and crew of vessels and her familiarity with the Code of Federal Regulations astounded me. The junior officers at sector also shared considerable camaraderie and cooperated to get qualified. The workplace climate seemed amazing. My impression is that prevention ashore is an unparalleled opportunity for anyone looking for a fulfilling and challenging career in the Coast Guard with the opportunity for a good work-life balance. Unlike many afloat billets, officers at sector go home every evening (and the career also benefits those prone to seasickness). Beyond professional development, the experience also impressed me with the diverse work of the service and the importance of prevention in saving lives; the Coast Guard is famous for search and rescue, but all its work serves and protects mariners and the American people. If you attend the Academy, I recommend you avail yourself of as many opportunities to explore distinct career paths as possible.