Maine Maritime Academy training ship departs for summer cruise

This will be one of the final voyages for the State of Maine before it’s replaced.
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 4:08 PM EDT
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CASTINE, Maine (WABI) - For months, students at Maine Maritime Academy have been preparing and performing maintenance on the training ship State of Maine.

All their hard work came to fruition Wednesday as they headed out to sea.

“I’m very excited, and I’m a little nervous,” said Deborah Swinbourne of Cape Elizabeth.

It was an emotional Wednesday morning for families and friends of Maine Maritime Academy cadets boarding the State of Maine for a voyage which will last more than two months.

Swinbourne and her family made the trip from Cape Elizabeth as they said goodbye to her son, Eoin.

This will be his first cruise.

“This was me about 50 years ago on the docks in Norfolk, Virginia sending my father off when he was deployed, so it’s very exciting and emotional,” she said. “And my father is here. He’s a Navy veteran, and he’s on his way down now. He has another nephew who is in the Army, so he’s a very proud grandfather.”

The State of Maine will visit eight domestic and foreign ports on their journey before returning to Castine on July 19th.

“I’m super excited. I have never been to Europe. We’re going to the Azores, Spain, Germany, and Northern Ireland, too,” said first-year student, Rebecca Caron.

Caron of Naples is one of the 211 cadets onboard.

For about half of the cadets, this is their first sea-going experience.

All of them are ready to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it at sea.

“This is where they learn how to solve problems together. This is the foundation of what we call Maine’s leadership college,” explained Maine Maritime Academy President, Jerry Paul.

Among those instructing on this cruise is Maine Maritime Academy Graduate Robert Carter.

He was aboard the State of Maine’s first tour as a student in 1997.

“All my good friends who I still talk to 26 years later are ones that I made here during my freshman cruise, so it’s really about making friends, making shipmates, and really being safe together,” he said.

This will be one of the final voyages for the State of Maine before it’s replaced.

A new ship is being built at a shipyard in Philadelphia and is slated for arrival at MMA in the fall of 2024.

It is one of six vessels being built as part of the Maritime Administration’s National Security Multi-mission Vessel (NSMV) development program.

Those wishing to follow the progress of the 2023 TSSOM journey can do so by visiting the cruise blog at

It is shaping up to be a spectacular day for students to ship out on their annual training cruise! Join us at the town dock for the 8:45-9:00 departure. BDN Hancock County News BDN Downeast Penobscot Bay Pilot The Ellsworth American Down East Magazine WABI TV5

Posted by Maine Maritime Academy on Wednesday, May 10, 2023