THE BRONX - Hundreds of students returned home after spending a semester at sea with SUNY Maritime College.

About 600 students spent three months aboard the ship.

The cadets traveled to Ireland, Italy and Spain as part of their training to become mariners. They ran the ship as inspectors looked on. 

The students develop skills related to life and labor at sea with hands-on training, according to officials.

Cadets must pass a four-day exam to graduate and then obtain licenses from the Coast Guard to become professional seafarers.

School officials say they hope to secure federal funding to replace their 54-year-old SUNY Maritime ship before the next class arrives.