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The California Maritime Academy (also known as CMA, Cal Maritime, and CSU, Maritime) is one of 23 campuses in the California State University system and is one of only seven degree-granting maritime academies in the United Statesmarker. It is located in Vallejomarker, Californiamarker.


Cal Maritime was established as the California Nautical School in 1929 when the California State Assembly Bill no. 253 was signed into law by Governor C. C. Young. The bill authorized the creation of the school, appointment of a Board of Governors to manage the school and the acquisition of a training vessel. The school's mission was "to give practical and theoretical instruction in navigation, seamanship, steam engines, gas engines, and electricity in order to prepare young men to serve as officers in the American Merchant Marine." By 1930 a training vessel and a school site was acquired, the original location of what would become Cal Maritime was California City (now Tiburon, Californiamarker) in the San Francisco Bay Areamarker.

Due to the Great Depression, the early days of the Academy were full of financial uncertainty. As early as 1933, some state legislators were calling for the school's abolition. In order to save money, the cadets and instructors alike lived and held classes aboard the training vessel, the T.S. California State. Only after the passage of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 did the funding for the Academy become stabilized.

In 1939 the California Nautical School adopted its present name, the California Maritime Academy. By 1940 the Academy was granting Bachelor of Science degrees and Naval Reserve commissions to its graduates; this step marked the beginning of the transition from the status of trade school to college. During World War II the Academy was evicted from its site in California City and moved to its present location in Vallejo, Californiamarker in 1943.

In the 1970s, after surviving another round of budget cuts and calls for the Academy's abolition, Cal Maritime became a four-year institution. The 1970s also marked the time when the first minority and female cadets graduated from Cal Maritime.

In 1996 Cal Maritime became the twenty-second campus of the California State University system. The new affiliation improved the academy's funding prospects considerably. The current training vessel is the T.S. Golden Bear, and is the third training ship to carry that name.

Superintendents and presidents of the California Maritime Academy

From To Name Title Notes
May 11, 1930 Feb 14, 1934 Emil Topp LCDR, USN (ret)
Feb 15, 1934 Jun 30, 1937 Dr. Richard C. Dwyer See Note 1
Jul 1, 1937 Jun 30, 1940 Neil E. Nichols CAPT, USN (ret)
Jul 1, 1940 Oct 31, 1947 Claude B. Mayo CAPT, USN (ret) See Note 2
Nov 1, 1947 Feb 15, 1955 Russel M. Ihreg COMMO, USN (ret)
Feb 16. 1955 Jun 20, 1955 Carroll T. Bonney CAPT, USN (ret) Acting Superintendent
Jun 21, 1955 Nov 1, 1965 Henry E. Richter CAPT, USN (ret)
Oct 15, 1965 Oct 1, 1971 Francis T. Williamson RADM, USN (ret)
Oct 1, 1971 Aug 1, 1972 Edwin C. Miller CMA 34-D CDR, USN (ret) See Note 3
Aug 2, 1972 Nov 11, 1983 Joseph P. Rizza RADM, USMS (ret) See Note 4
Nov 11, 1983 Aug 31, 1990 John J. Ekelund RADM, USN (ret)
Aug 31, 1990 Jun 30, 1996 Dr. Mary E. Lyons CDR, USNR
Jul 1, 1996 Jun 30, 2001 Jerry A. Aspland CMA 62-D
Jul 1, 2001 Present William B. Eisenhardt RADM, USMS

  1. R.C.Dwyer replaced by N.E. Nichols due to Navy requirements for regular Navy officers to be in charge of Navy-owned ships.
  2. Early WWII – Superintendent and Master became separate positions.
  3. Edwin C. Miller appointed Interim Superintendent October 1971 – July 1972.
  4. On February 27, 1975, the title of "Superintendent" was changed to "President."


Demographics of student body
African American 3.3%
Asian American 11.6%
White American 46.1%
Hispanic American 7.5%
Native American 1.1%
Ethnicity unreported/unknown 30.4%

Degree programs

Cal Maritime offers six undergraduate degree programs, all of which are tied to a nautical curriculum. The six majors offered are as follows:

  • Mechanical Engineering (B.S.)
  • Marine Engineering Technology (B.S.)
  • Marine Transportation (B.S.)
  • International Business and Logistics (B.S.)
  • Facilities Engineering Technology (B.S.)
  • Global Studies and Maritime Affairs (B.A.)

Cal Maritime is the only campus in the CSU system that does not offer any graduate degree programs.


In 2005 the U.S. News and World Report ranked Cal Maritime's engineering program as one of the top 80 such undergraduate programs in the country. In 2008 the U.S. News and World Report ranked Cal Maritime as the 6th best Baccalaureate College on the West Coast. It is also the only maritime academy on the west coast.

Military options

There is no armed service obligation attached to graduation from the California Maritime Academy. However, financial aid and additional career opportunities exist for those students who choose to participate in any of the several military programs available on the CMA campus:
  • Coast Guard - California Maritime Academy Pre-Commissioning Program
  • Coast Guard - Maritime Academy Graduate Program
  • Coast Guard - College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI) [not available as of 2010]
  • Navy / Merchant Marine - Reserve Program


Cal Maritime has a long history of athletic activities. Before it joined regular intercollegiate athletics, the teams from Cal Maritime usually played military teams from local bases. Cal Maritime began to organize its sports under intercollegiate guidelines in the 1970s and the student body chose the "Keelhaulers" as the Academy's mascot. Until then the Cal Maritime teams were known as the Seawolves.

Today, Cal Maritime is a member of the NAIA and the Men's Soccer, Basketball, Golf and Women's Volleyball teams are charter members of the California Pacific Conference. In the 2004-2005 Academic year the Women's Basketball was formed and now also competes in the Cal Pac Conference. Other sports offered at Cal Maritime include Rugby, Sailing, Crew, and Water Polo.

See also


External links

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