U.S. Maritime Services Training Center 1939-1950 St. Petersburg, Florida


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The Unites States Maritime Services Training Center at Bayboro Harbor in St. Petersburg, Florida opened as an active training center for the Merchant Marine in 1941 and was one of the largest training facilities along the southern coast of the United States. Over twenty thousand cadets as young as 17½ arrived in St, Petersburg during America’s involvement in the Second World War and trained at Bayboro Harbor aboard M/Vs Joseph Conrad, American Seaman, American Sailor, Tusitala and Vigil. Two of the training vessels were moored along Bayboro Harbor at the Coast Guard base as early as 1939.

Jospeph Conrad300

USMSTC trainees stayed at hotels such as the Soreno and Vinoy, between 1939 and 1940 while the USM Training Center was constructed. After a five week training session, Maritime Services graduates went into civilian service, carrying supplies to armed forces overseas, playing a critical and often understated role in supporting convoys and protecting shipments during the WWII.

Today, the facility is incorporated into the University of South Florida.