Maritime studies students now have the opportunity for a dual degree from the [College of The Bahamas]( (COB) and the [State University of New York]( (SUNY) Maritime College.

The COB has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SUNY for a Maritime Studies Baccalaureate degree programme — a flagship offering of the its Northern Bahamas campus (NBC) in Grand Bahama. Effectively, successful graduates will receive a degree from the college and another from SUNY Maritime College in two disciplines: Bachelor of Science in Maritime Operations Engine Licence and Bachelor of Science in Maritime Operations Unlimited Deck Licence. The Baccalaureate degree programmes will raise awareness of the maritime industry and opportunities that exist for Bahamians. Dr Brendamae Cleare, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs at COB points out, *“The Bahamas is perfectly poised to become a centre of maritime excellence.”* Captain Walt Nadolny, Vice Chairman of the Marine Transportation Department and Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy and Management at SUNY Maritime College, adds *“We’ve had a history of Bahamian students so this seemed like a very natural fit.”*

SUNY is an undergraduate and graduate institution focused on engineering, business, science, and maritime transportation. U.S. News & World Report has ranked SUNY Maritime College as a top tier regional college and 6th overall among public baccalaureate colleges in the North, and in 2011 The Princeton Review named the College a “best Northeastern college” in America.

Students will study at COB’s campus in Grand Bahama for the first three semesters, SUNY for the next four and the final semester will be taught at COB’s main campus. Students will spend their summers at sea, fulfilling the practical component of the degree programme and learning how to become adept seafarers.

Dr. Richard Burke, Professor and Chairman of Engineering at SUNY says, the United States and The Bahamas are neighbours and it is the neighbourly thing to do, to work together for a common purpose. *“And it allows us to, vicariously perhaps, share in the justifiable pride in having a flag that has become very significant in the ports of the world.”*

The international shipping industry employs some 1.25 million seafarers, thousands of whom are attached to vessels that sail under the Bahamas Flag.