Students at Maine Maritime Academy are setting sail on an educational adventure. At 500 feet long, weighing 16,000 tons, The State of Maine is quite a vessel. ” The State of Maine has been sailing these waters for a long time,” said Bill Brennan, president of Maine Maritime Academy. It’s Maine Maritime Academy’s training ship, taking freshman and junior students on a two-month voyage. ” The freshmen will learn the fundamentals of shipboard life and what’s required of the non-licensed crew and the juniors, or the second-class shipmen, will be spending their time essentially running the ship,” explained Captain Nathan Gandy, commandant of the ship. The students will cruise to ports in Florida, Puerto Rico, Maryland, and Canada. ” When some of these students get back they are going to have seen more of the world than a lot of people in Maine,” said Brennan. For students, this trip is what they’ve been waiting for. ” It’s finally good to set sail,” said Same Bessey, a freshman. ” They are truly learning what their job will be when they go out into the workforce,” said Gandy. Family and friends in Castine wished their mariners well on Thursday. ” Very proud of him. Very pleased that he chose Maine Maritime to be part of this institution and we’re really looking forward to him going off, seeing the world, getting a great education,” said Dan Bessey, father of freshman, Sam Bessey. ” It’s real good chance for him to put to practice what he’s learned in the classroom,” added Ted Millet, father of student Thomas Millett. ” He has a lot ahead of him but it will be a good experience,” said Joan Ramsay, mother of Ryan Ramsay. As the students embark on an adventure, they’re also getting a hands-on look at their future careers. ” Our mission is to help prepare these young men and women to be successful in their careers and this is really part of it,” said Brennan. The training ship will return to Castine on Sunday, June 30th. You can follow along with the journey by reading the cruise blog. Click here for more information on the blog.