T/S State of Michigan departs May 18 for five months on the Great Lakes

TRAVERSE CITY — About 50 cadets at Northwestern Michigan College’s Great Lakes Maritime Academy (GLMA) will depart on the first of four training cruises Tuesday, May 18, observing coronavirus pandemic safety protocols.

The cruises will keep GLMA’s training ship, the T/S State of Michigan, at sea for five months, from May 18 to Oct. 25, providing an opportunity for 140–160 cadets to earn sea time.

“This plan will allow all cadets to accrue some sea time in 2021, and allow cadets who could not sail in 2020 due to COVID to make up for what they missed and graduate per their model schedules,” said Academy Superintendent Jerry Achenbach.

Prior to 2020, GLMA usually operated two cruises that ran between 10–12 weeks. The pandemic shortened last year’s sailing season, and it has been more difficult to find berths aboard commercial vessels. Both contributed to this year’s longer cruise season. Cadets must earn 360 days of required sea time during their four-year program.

Cadets and crew must either be vaccinated or quarantine and test negative for COVID-19 prior to departure. The first four-week cruise will visit Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, the Detroit River and the St. Mary’s River.

Phase 2 departs Traverse City June 15 bound for Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, the St. Mary’s River, Lake Huron, Detroit and Lake St. Clair.

Phase 3 departs Traverse City July 21 for Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, the Detroit River, the St. Mary’s River and Lake Superior.

Phase 4 departs Traverse City Aug. 27 and will visit Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, the St. Mary’s River and Lake Superior, and returns Oct. 25.

As the state maritime academy of Michigan, the Great Lakes Maritime Academy at Northwestern Michigan College educates and trains deck and engineering officers for the U.S. Merchant Marine. Graduates earn a bachelor’s degree, and an unlimited tonnage/horsepower merchant marine license. Read more about the Academy and see the cruise itinerary and map at nmc.edu/maritime.


Release Date: May 12, 2021

For more information:

RADM Jerry Achenbach
Great Lakes Maritime Academy Superintendent
(231) 995-1203


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. nmc.edu/non-discrimination