Cadets at the help of the Training Ship State of Michigan

Deck Officer Program

Interview with Capt. Mike Diduch on his education and career path

The Great Lakes Maritime Academy prepares students for the challenge of operating commercial ships of unlimited tonnage on the Great Lakes and oceans as merchant marine officers and business professionals. Deck officers train to become pilots and mates, navigating ships through open waters and narrow harbors — ships which may stretch to one thousand feet in length. Deck Officers manage the deck department and oversee loading and discharging of cargo, and are responsible for the ship’s business.

All qualified deck cadets write the U.S. Coast Guard examination for licensing as a Third Mate Great Lakes and any Oceans Unlimited Tonnage and First Class Great Lakes Pilot. Graduates are fully compliant with STCW International Quality Standards. The four-year curriculum awards a Bachelor of Science Degree in Maritime Technology. For those entering with a bachelor's degree, an accelerated three-year program also awards the bachelor's degree.

Cadets in the Deck Officer Program complete three sea projects (internships) while completing their academic curriculum.

Articulation Agreements:

Deck Officer Curriculum Guides:

Deck Officer Program Requirements

Course Descriptions

Tuition and Fees

View our deck officer program gallery

Want to know what it's like to be a Deck Officer Cadet? Take a look at our gallery to get an up-close look.

Request information

We'll send you a packet of information about programs offered at our Academy.

travel the globe

Looking to go somewhere for a change of scenery? See where other cadets and alumni have been by checking out our map.

“I have visited 47 countries since 2003 with extensive sightseeing in many.... I'm sitting in an Internet Cafe near Athens Greece as I type this. It′s a beautiful day and Greece is one of my favorite places to visit. Of course going to Antarctica and Australia were definitely incredible experiences as well... among many others.”


2003 Great Lakes Maritime Academy graduate, Deck Officer program