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Maritime Studies

Maritime Studies Curriculum

The following courses are part of the core academic curriculum of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, in preparation for your first Coast Guard job as a commissioned officer.

Fundamentals of Navigation

Fundamentals of Navigation is an exploration of the basic principles of earth’s characteristics and terrestrial navigation for which a Deck Watch Officer or entry-level officer will be responsible. In the earth’s characteristics module, the emphasis is on earth’s coordinate system, magnetism of the earth, chart projections, chart preparation and various distance, speed and time relationships. The terrestrial navigation module focuses on positioning techniques, compass computation, calculation of tides and currents, anchor selection, tactical characteristics, coastal and transoceanic voyage planning, and aids to navigation. Students are also introduced to Coast Guard requirements for celestial theory including azimuth and amplitude. The emphasis of the instruction is to prepare cadets for experiential learning afloat as a navigation team member during the common portion of the 3/c summer training program. A short research project covering selected navigational topics integrates course material and primary source research the students submit in a written form.

Ship and Maritime Systems Knowledge

Fundamental technical knowledge centered on ships and maritime systems. A baseline understanding of ships and maritime systems is developed to support future assessment of the impact, benefit and risk of decisions involving the design, acquisition, operation, regulation, law enforcement, damage control, maintenance and salvage of ships and maritime systems. Specific subject areas include buoyancy, stability, flooding, salvage, strength, inspections, regulation, impact of shipboard flight operations, operations, Coast Guard vessels, commercial vessels, grounding, pollution, resistance, propulsion, maneuvering, ship motions, damage control and offshore structures.

Applications in Navigation Lab

This course continues the developmental journey by building upon the fundamental navigation preparation of 6101 and the common experience of 3/c summer. The goal is to build proficiency in voyage planning and as a navigation team member through further preparation, practice and an introduction to navigation applications and tools available in the fleet. The first module focuses on voyage planning through the research of applicable publications prior to transiting through an unfamiliar port. The introduction to the navigation brief as a tool for risk mitigation is discussed. The second module improves the navigation team skills learned in 6101 and the proficiency required to navigate a ship through restricted, coastal and open ocean environments. The third module introduces cadets to the basics of relative motion theory with the initial exploration of maneuvering boards for course, speed, closest point of approach, avoidance and intercepts, secondary effects, true wind and desired apparent wind.

The Maritime Watch Officer

The Maritime Watch Officer explores knowledge and skills vital to successful performance as a Maritime Watch Officer for the entry-level graduate. This course builds upon the individual navigation proficiency gained during the prerequisite courses and summer training programs and introduces new watch team skills applicable to the maritime watch. In addition to refreshing navigation team skills taught in Nautical Science I and II, students develop new skills such as advanced navigation coordination; advanced relative motion theory and practice coupled with collision avoidance and briefing the command; electronic navigation theory and practice; basic, routine and emergency ship handling procedures and practice; external communications; and Bridge Resource Management knowledge, skills and techniques. Classroom theoretical discussions are reinforced and applied in the various visual and radar simulators and CGA training vessels within a watch team construct. Team Coordination Training concepts are further analyzed in group projects, wherein cadets present the causal factors and potential corrective actions surrounding selected Coast Guard Cutter mishaps.

Selected Topics for the 100 Ton Master

This capstone course integrates previous nautical science topics to prepare cadets to pass the National Maritime Center approved Master – 100 gross tons near coastal licensing examination. The course will focus on four major areas of study. The four areas are Deck-Safety, Deck-General, Navigation-General, and Navigation Problems – Chart Plot. Additionally, lab assignments in the bridge simulators and aboard 65-foot training vessels will develop critical thinking and decision-making skills in navigation and ship handling, while also reinforcing Bridge Resource Management concepts through effective leadership and communication. Upon completion of this course and successfully passing the final examination, cadets will be eligible to apply for a Master - 100 gross tons near coastal license.

Selected Topics in Professional Maritime Studies (Elective)

In-depth examination of a terrestrial, celestial, or electronic navigation topic; or a stability, damage control, ship handling, shipboard leadership framework; or ship-related training system topic. Specific course content will vary based upon emerging and relevant navigation, training or leadership issues; institutional and organizational needs; and students’ interests. Includes additional reading, writing, research and/or casework.

Projects in Professional Maritime Studies (Elective)

Start-up, completion or involvement in ongoing research projects as an assistant in data collection or analysis. Final project is required.

Directed Studies in Professional Maritime Studies (Elective)

Advanced tutorial concentrating on specific topics in the area of cutter, sector or aviation operations to include, but not limited to, any current tactics, practice or procedure (TPP). It is expected the student will develop a hypothesis regarding an impaired or flawed TPP, conduct an investigation into the current state and develop a study to quantify, document and prove/disprove the hypothesis. Cadets will develop a proposal for a research paper or project, which must be completed by the end of the semester under the guidance of a Professional Maritime Studies faculty member. Limited to advanced students who have completed course work and shown significant interest in Professional Maritime Studies.