Student Profile: Zach Worthington

Student Profile: Zach Worthington

Zachary Worthington '18

Marine Transportation

Blue Point, Long Island

“It was actually unnerving at times, looking at the bow of this huge ship realizing that you’re in complete control,” said Zach Worthington, a second-class marine transportation major at SUNY Maritime College.

Worthington’s summer was unlike most of his classmates’, who spent the summer aboard the college training ship, Empire State VI.

Instead, Worthington was one of 97 cadets who spent the break aboard a commercial vessel. SUNY Maritime’s cadet shipping program helps qualified students find spaces aboard commercial vessels to give them additional professional experience before they graduate.

“How many people can say they spent the summer working for three different companies?” Worthington, who spent four months on the water, said.

Back in early May, he knew that he wouldn’t be helping out with preparations to shove off the college’s Olivet Pier with his classmates on the college training ship, Empire State VI. Instead, he set out for the Great Lakes, where he met his first employers—the American Steamship Company.

Spending his time on watch, piloting the ship and assisting any way he could, Worthington worked long hours.

“It felt like you were up for days at time. Each cadet had to be up and about every time the vessel was moving through a river. That’s every couple of hours. On top of that, you had regular watch just like you do on the training ship.” 

Worthington and the crew who trained him spent their days hauling dry bulk commodities across the Great Lakes. Every vessel in ASC’s fleet is self-unloading, which means each ship unloads more quickly and therefore can make more trips.

“We would get to a dock and unload, and then be back on the water sailing to the next one in no time,” Worthington said.

After three months on a 634-foot ship for ASC, Worthington headed home to Blue Point, Long Island. His time at home, he said, wasn’t as long as he expected.

Worthington has worked for Davis Park Ferry, near his home, for several years. He expected to go back to work as the senior deckhand until school started.

“I got home, worked at the ferry for a day, and then got a phone call from the school,” he said. “Next thing I know I’m taking a physical in Manhattan and on my way to the Canary Islands.”

Worthington was placed aboard a TE Subsea Communications vessel and had to get right to work. The company manages and installs underwater fiber optic cable systems that transmit phone, Internet and cable TV signals. Worthington was working on a ship undergoing repairs and maintenance in dry dock.

“Luckily I was working with another great crew. They went out of their way to teach me everything that we were doing,” said Worthington.

In dry dock, Worthington monitored and inspected the ship’s ballast tanks for the American Bureau of Shipping inspector.

“With TE Subcom, I worked a regular workday. Seven to Seven. After work, I showered and got out and actually got to see the land.”

Though the two assignments were very different, Worthington said he enjoyed both and would be happy to ship out with either company after graduation.

“I have these connections and when I graduate I’ll have my degree in business as well,” he said. “That’s the benefit of my major. I feel like I’m a step ahead of everybody my age.”