As the seagoing community nears a new century, our academies must develop new ways of training officers. The increasing complexity of computerized ships and global shipping companies demands a new breed of modern mariner.
The mariner's is the most traditional of all professions. Men trained for the sea rely on traditional ways and lines of thought, because the sea is the hardest and least forgiving of teachers. Professional mariners expect the sea to seek out and exploit all weaknesses that may exist in new approaches to hull design, rig, cargo gear, navigation techniques, and everything else, so they are slow to adopt new ways. It is likely a reincarnated Phoenician sailor would have quickly sorted out tasks expected of a seaman aboard Nelson's flagship of the early 19th century. One of Nelson's men could have found familiar seagoing employment as crew or officer aboard the fishing and lumber schooners that were the last commercial bastions of sail as late as the 1920s.