(Vallejo, CA – XX, 2010)â€¦ Nearly 260 cadets from The California Maritime Academy set sail Monday morning on the first of two two-month training voyages to Asia aboard the Academy’s 500-foot training vessel, Golden Bear. The Golden Bear is operated and maintained by the students under the supervision of about four-dozen faculty and staff.
This year’s voyage began Sunday with a day of training exercises on San Francisco Bay, including visits to the ports of Richmond and Oakland, maneuverings and anchoring exercises off Treasure Island and then docking Sunday afternoon at Pier 27 in San Francisco. The ship departed the city at 8 a.m. Monday.
Every cadet at the Academy, a part of The California State University system, sails on at least one training voyage during their four years at the University. Students in the school’s licensed maritime tracks, seeking to become deck officers and engineers make at least two cruises and often supplement that with an additional summer co-op placement aboard a commercial sailing vessel. The summer training provides license-track students the hours of sea experience at the helm, navigating, and in the engine room that they need to graduate and work aboard ships of any size worldwide.
At Busan, Korea, Academy students majoring in international business and global logistics, and in Global Studies and Maritime Affairs will debark the ship for a series of intensive visits to learn more about the history, culture and commercial business operations of both Korea and Japan. They will rejoin Golden Bear when she makes her second call in Kobe, Japan.
After subsequent calls in Guam and Saipan, the ship will journey to Hawaii for â€œchangeoverâ€ when a second cadet contingent will come aboard, along with students from the Texas Maritime Academy. Golden Bear will then repeat its Asian calls before returning home at the end of August after a final port call in Seattle.
As part of an ongoing tradition of global stewardship, the Academy’s campus-based Kiwanis Club collects money and supplies during each school year for donation to worthy organizations identified at cruise stops. This year, the donations will go to a Korean orphanage.
In addition to its importance as part of the unique educational program at Cal Maritime, each summer training voyage is designed to make students aware of the role they play as â€œglobal citizensâ€ and enhance their awareness of the diversity of global cultures, politics, economies and histories. President William B. Eisenhardt often tells students, â€œIt is an eye opening experience to walk off the ship into a country where you don’t speak the local language and you are not the majority.â€
Ports called on a training voyage vary from year to year. In recent years, Golden Bear has operated on a three-year cycle with visits to the west coast of Latin America, then to the northern Pacific (as this summer) and then to the southern Pacific with calls at islands such as Fiji, Tahiti, New Caledonia and Tonga.
The California Maritime Academy, Vallejo, CA, a campus of The California State University, is one of only seven degree-granting maritime academies in the United States, and the only one on the West Coast. Cal Maritime offers four-year degrees in international business and global logistics, facilities engineering technology, global studies and maritime affairs, marine engineering technology, marine transportation, and mechanical engineering, as well as professional development and extended learning programs and courses. For more information about Cal Maritime, visit www.csum.edu.