Back   Registered Faculties

University Description

The California Maritime Academy  
General Information

1 Education Philosophy:

The California Maritime Academy is defined, in part, by the system of beliefs that make us unique as an institution of higher education.  They are:

  • Experiential Learning

  • Ethics Development, both Personal and Professional

  • Small Residential Campus Environment

  • Student Centered Learning

  • Professional Orientation

  • Having a Niche to Focus on in Higher Education

  • Campus Civility and Collegiality

  • Diverse Living/Learning Community


    Values influence how we make and carry out decisions, and how we interact with our internal and external constituencies.  At Cal Maritime they are:

  • < >< >< >< >< >< >

    Provide each student with a college education combining intellectual learning, applied

     technology, leadership development, and global awareness.

  • Provide the highest quality licensed officers and other personnel for the merchant marine

     and national maritime industries.

  • Provide continuing education opportunities for those in the transportation and related


  • Be an information and technology resource center for the transportation and related



    1.3 Brief History

    This report is chronological and is in five sections:


    II –CHANGES  1939 – 1946   THE WAR YEARS

    III –CONSTRUCTION  1946 – 1972   GROWTH

    V –COLLEGE  1972 – 2001   MATURITY







    For more than two centuries, merchant ships and their sailors have been the lifeblood of the United States. The passengers and freight that were transported to and from our ports have made our great nation what it is.

    After the Civil War, and with the advent of ‘modern’ ships with steam propulsion, Merchant Marine officers with specialized training and standardized up-to-date skills were needed. This brought about the creation of a unique type of school through which maritime skills would be taught.

    In 1874, Congress authorized the Secretary of the Navy to furnish U.S. Naval vessels to states for the establishment of nautical schools. In 1911, this authority was amended to also provide funds for the expenses of any established schoolship. Only three states (Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania) were maintaining schoolships. None were on the West Coast.

    On June 3, 1929, California State Assembly Bill no. 253 signed by Governor C. C. Young, authorized the establishment of the California Nautical School. This bill paved the way for securing and maintaining a schoolship, and it also appointed a Board of Governors to manage and govern the school. The purpose of the school was “to give practical and theoretical instruction in navigation, seamanship, steam engines, gas engines, and electricity in order to prepare young men for service as officers in the American merchant marine.”

    By the spring of 1930, S.S. HENRY COUNTY had been assigned by the Navy to the new school. Built specifically for use during World War I, the 261-foot freighter was reactivated from the mothball fleet on the east coast and recommissioned by the Navy. Then she sailed around from the east coast to San Francisco Bay. After arrival, the ship was turned over to the State of California on August 22, 1930 and immediately went to the shipyard for renovations. The ship was renamed U.S.S. CALIFORNIA STATE effective December 1930.


Concurrent with the acquisition of the schoolship, a suitable location was finally found where the ship could be moored. The Board of Governors was able to lease the old Navy Fuel Depot, an old coaling station, at California City (now known as Tiburon in Marin County) for the new schoolship. The 50-acre site had some machine and foundry shops, housing for cadets, fuel storage, and offices. The school officially occupied the site on March 1, 1931.

On January 29, 1931, the first entrance examinations were held throughout the state with over 100 men taking the test. In March 1931, the first class of 56 “cadets” reported for instruction (with 44 graduating in August 1933).

Unfortunately, due to delays in funding, renovations for the training ship were postponed. In the interim, the 126-foot private yacht VALERO II was loaned to the California Nautical School as a training ship. Training Ship (T.S.) CALIFORNIA STATE was fully ready in early December 1931; shortly thereafter, it made its first training cruise, sailing to South America and Washington D.C. The following year, the training ship would sail around the world.

In early 1933, a lack of funding created severe budget cutbacks, and some in the state government proposed abolishing the school. Cooler heads prevailed and the school received its funding and was able to continue. However, to save on finances, both the officers and cadets held classes and lived on T.S. CALIFORNIA STATE. Thus was born the nickname “Iron Mother” for the first training vessel. (Specifications and brief histories of each of CMA’s Training Ships can be found on the last pages.

Unfortunately, two years later, in May 1935, funding again became such a severe problem that the Board of Governors agreed that maybe the school would have to be closed, and steps were begun to do so. Fortunately, additional emergency funds were procured, the school reorganized, and business resumed in July of 1935. It would now take three years to graduate from CNS.

In 1936, the federal government approved the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, for the “creation and maintenance of an adequate Merchant Marine, to support United States international and domestic commerce, and meet the needs for national defense”. This “Magna Carta of the American Merchant Marine” gave federal recognition and support to the maritime industry, and provided regular federal funding to train Merchant Marine officers and keep the school going. It also gave those Merchant Marine officers parity with their military counterparts in case of war or national emergency.

The California Nautical School had struggled and overcome a shaky start. In 1939, it now had an enrollment of 127 cadets. But times were about to change, and the school along with it.





With growing unrest in the world, the nation and those in the Merchant Marine were getting ready.

On October 10, 1939, the California Nautical School changed its name to California Maritime Academy (CMA).

Starting in 1940, those graduating from the academy, besides receiving their licenses as Third Mates or Third Assistant Engineers, were now receiving a Bachelor of Science degree, and some Naval Reserve commissions. We were no longer just a “trade school”, but an institution of higher learning.

As the shadow of war grew closer, the Navy needed their Fuel Depot at California City. The lease to the academy was not renewed, and in the fall of 1940, the schoolship had to relocate to San Francisco. For the next three years the ship was in San Francisco, first at Pier 54, then in fall of 1941 the ship moved to the Ferry Building. The training ship would not have a permanent home for a while.

With war eminent, a couple of events occurred. First, the control of the ship switched from the Navy to the new Maritime Commission in Dec 1940. One year later, with the declaration of war, the ship was painted wartime gray, and given a new name. It was Maritime Commission policy to name the training ships of the state schools for their state nicknames. Thus, T.S. CALIFORNIA STATE was renamed T.S. GOLDEN STATE.

Almost immediately, the three-year course of study was accelerated and shortened to eighteen months, and with a smaller enrollment, two classes a year would graduate from The California Maritime Academy. The long overseas cruises to exotic foreign ports were confined to short local training cruises within the confines of San Francisco Bay and the San Joaquin River.

To reflect the pride and challenges that would face all those who graduated from the academy, a coat of arms and motto were adopted in late 1941 which reflected the zeal and dedication of the cadets, whether in peace or in war:


(“To work, (or) to fight; we are ready”!)

The California Maritime Academy graduates would live up to that motto, serving with distinction in the various branches of the armed forces and Merchant Marine during the war. Many saw action, some became prisoners of war, and 11 died in the line of duty during the war.

In subsequent years, many graduates also served in the Korean War, Viet Nam, and in the Middle East during Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. Indeed, the academy’s motto remains as valid today as when it was created in 1941 by CMA Cadet Raymond Aker (class of January 1942-D).

With the eviction in 1940 from the California City (Tiburon) moorings, the search for a new, more permanent, home for the school and T.S. GOLDEN STATE had begun. Numerous cities around the state bid for the opportunity to become the school’s home. Finally, in early 1941, a 67-acre site was selected in Morrow Cove at Semple Point by the mouth of the Napa River and the Carquinez Straits in Vallejo, California (20 miles northeast of San Francisco). Unfortunately, funding problems would delay occupation for a few years. Morrow Cove was originally used as a ferryboat terminal. After the Carquinez Bridge was built in 1927, the site was abandoned, and it had become the place for numerous fishing and sportsmen clubs, as well as for picnicking and swimming. Even a couple of old vessels were abandoned there to act as a breakwater. 


Finally, in March 1943, funding was approved and some of the existing buildings on the site were retained and converted, and other temporary buildings were erected. On August 24, 1943, the site was ready and T.S. GOLDEN STATE arrived to her new permanent home. The cadets could now eat and sleep ashore, instead of within the confines of their “Iron Mother”.



With the end of the war, the three-year class schedule and long foreign training cruises were resumed, and things could get back to normal.

However, while the war could be put behind, those classmates who had lost their lives serving their country would not be forgotten.


However, the World War I era T.S. GOLDEN STATE was tired and ready to be replaced. This had been planned to occur five years earlier, but the war interrupted that.

The former Navy attack cargo ship, U.S.S. MELLENA (AKA-32), built in 1944, was loaned to the academy in early 1946, refitted, then formally commissioned as Training Ship GOLDEN BEAR on September 7, 1946. T.S. GOLDEN BEAR was 426-feet long and could carry twice as many people in much greater comfort. It was a big step up for CMA and its cadets.

T.S. GOLDEN BEAR (1946-1971)


During the subsequent years, even more construction would enhance the campus. Permanent residences for the senior staff would be completed, the Residence Hall (now known as “Old Res.”) was completed in 1959, Dwyer Hall (the Engineering building) in 1961, and Gallagher Hall (Library) in 1971.

In 1970, the state government proposed to close the school as part of statewide budget cuts, but by early 1972, after much heated debate, the state legislature dropped the proposal. CMA had weathered another storm. Her roots were more firmly established and the need for the academy validated. Enrollment was now more than 200 strong.


In 1971, T.S. GOLDEN BEAR (T.S.G.B.) was almost 30 years old, with 25 years of continuous service at the academy. She was tired, her technology old, and it was time for a replacement. The former Navy WWII combat seasoned attack transport U.S.S. CRESCENT CITY (APA-21), originally built as the luxury passenger and cargo liner S.S. DEL ORLEANS, joined the academy in Fall 1971. At 492-feet long, and capable of carrying over 300 crew, faculty, and midshipmen, she was the biggest training ship yet for CMA. She replaced the old T.S.G.B. and was christened T.S. GOLDEN BEAR (continuing the name from her predecessor).

T.S. GOLDEN BEAR (1971-1995)




The one thing that always remains constant is change. The California Maritime Academy was maturing, and was about to see some of the biggest changes and challenges in its 43-year history.

The first African-American and the first Filipino students graduated from the academy in 1970, paving the way for many other minority groups to attend the college.

The first women were admitted in 1973. CMA, thus, became the first maritime academy to admit women into a licensed maritime program and would graduate three in 1976. One of these women would later become the first in the United States to earn a Chief Engineer’s license, and another to become the first female Master of an American merchant ship.

New construction continued, adding yet more buildings to the campus. A faculty building, library addition, ship simulation facility, new dormitories, an auditorium (Rizza Auditorium), gymnasium expansion, and a new student center all added resources for both the faculty and students.

In the mid 1970’s, Cal Maritime became a four-year college, offering degrees in Nautical Industrial Technology and Marine Engineering Technology, with the first four-year students graduating in 1977. In the next decade, additional degree opportunities were offered.

The academy received accreditation in 1977 by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and also by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

The California Maritime Academy, again, broke ground in 1990 when Dr. Mary Lyons became President. She was the first woman to become president of a U.S. academy.

In the late 1980’s, Cal Maritime expanded beyond its maritime curriculum and introduced two new majors: Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration. In 1989, the Nautical Industrial Technology program was replaced by Marine Transportation. The campus continued to grow. A new pier, improvements to the athletic field, an upgrade to the communications infrastructure and the addition of classrooms to many buildings were completed.



Cal Maritime’s newest ship (replacing the fifty-five year old GOLDEN BEAR) was the former Navy hydrographic survey ship U.S.N.S. MAURY (T-AGS-39). Built in 1989, almost new, she was transferred to the academy and commissioned in May 1996 as Cal Maritime’s fourth training ship, and the third to carry the name T.S. GOLDEN BEAR. At 499-feet in length, she is the longest and most modern training ship in the academy’s history.

One of the most significant events was yet to come. On July 1, 1995, The California Maritime Academy became the 22nd campus of The California State University (CSU) system, which opened new opportunities for educational and institutional enhancement. In 1996, the academy introduced a Facilities Engineering Technology major. And in 1997, Cal Maritime joined the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program, increasing access for out-of-state students.

The California Maritime Academy now had an active enrollment of more than 500 students and growing.






The curriculum further expanded during the fall of 2003, when Cal Maritime introduced a major in Global Studies and Maritime Affairs. A wide variety of degrees are now offered, as well as continuing education opportunities. Also in the fall of 2003, Cal Maritime dedicated its new Technology Center, which replaced the old Engineering Building.

As Cal Maritime celebrates its 75th anniversary – which kicked off at Graduation 2004 and will culminate with Graduation 2005 – the future looks bright, with student applications at an all-time high. While enrollment has climbed to approximately 650 students, the academy’s strategic plan calls for growth to about 750-800 students in the next few years, and Cal Maritime is well on its way to meeting that goal. To help meet the challenges of growth, a campus physical Master Plan was adopted in 2002 and a number of additional new buildings have already been funded to follow that plan.


As Cal Maritime continues to grow and expand its curriculum in the years to come, the focus will always remain on its commitment to quality instruction, research, and service in maritime education. Cal Maritime’s vision for the years to come:

The California Maritime Academy will be a leading educational institution recognized for excellence in the business, engineering, operations, and policy of the transportation and related industries of the Pacific Rim and beyond.

Cal Maritime looks forward to and remains enthusiastic with great expectations on how it will continue to serve the maritime industry and our nation in the 21st century.


To paraphrase the school’s motto - “WE ARE READY!

Structure of Institution



The Training Ship Golden Bear (TSGB) serves as the primary training platform on which cadets apply technological skills introduced in the classroom and leadership skills acquired from their work assignments and responsibilities with the Corps of Cadets. Each summer, cadets in their first and third years depart with licensed faculty officers for two months during the Annual Training Cruise. During these periods at sea, intellectual learning, applied technology, and leadership development blend daily as cadets apply what they have learned in the classroom, in the lab, in the Corps, and on the waterfront. 

Those working toward a license can feel the responsibility of command, demonstrate their effectiveness as leaders, and refine their technical skills and leadership styles. All students, whether in the license programs or not, can interact with other cultures and learn about the peoples who are their hosts. They can also experience connections to the larger world and develop an understanding of how their selected vocations will function in the context of an international setting. In this way the cruises enhance the global awareness of students as they apply the intellectual and practical training they have received during the school year.


テキスト ボックス: General characteristics
Class & type:	T-AGS
Type:	Training
Tonnage:	10,939 long tons (11,115 t)
Displacement:	9,319 long tons (9,469 t) light
15,821 long tons (16,075 t) full
Length:	499 ft 10 in (152.35 m)
Beam:	72 ft (22 m)
Height:	151 ft (46 m)
Draft:	30 ft 6 in (9.30 m)
Propulsion:	R5-V16 Twin diesels, 17,000 shp (12,677 kW), single 5-blade propeller, 18 ft 7

1⁄2 in (5.68 m) diameter
Speed:	20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)

Range:	17,820 ft (5,430 m)
Capacity:	288




















Structure of Program

Structure of Marine Transportation Program

Structure of Marine Engineering Technology Program


On-Board Trainig Scheme