I'm also working on getting more sea time. I have almost enough days to get my Captain's License, and once I have that and feel ready (another year or two) I am going to join the Coast Guard. I love the responsibility and pride that comes with doing something difficult and worthwhile, and I am at my best when in charge of a group of people. Being a badass/authority in the eyes of the public isn't bad either!
I will stay a coastie for at least 4 or 5 years until they'll pay for almost all of my education, at which point I'll decide whether to study something maritime and possibly retire at 38, or pursue higher education in something related to either biology or social/evolutionary psychology. I'm setting myself up to have many doors open when I have to make the big decisions as I don't feel like 18 is the time that I should be deciding what to do with the ENTIRE rest of my life. :P
I have this dream/desire of moving to Denmark and either working in their Naval program (which is much more about national/public safety than any warlike bullshit) or doing research in my chosen field. Look into it, I bet you'll find that Denmark's cultural beliefs and policies are pretty fucking great!