Merchant Navy Career in India: Scope, Requirements, Skills, Jobs & Salary

Merchant Navy
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The love for the sea and the will to have an adventurous life amidst the sea along with a high pay package drives several youths to opt for the merchant navy as their career option. The merchant navy is not synonymous with the navy. The Navy offers defense services to the nation while the merchant navy offers commercial services. The merchant navy happens to be the backbone of a country’s international trade and import-export businesses. Several workers are hired to deliver cargo and goods from one country to the other.

This job is a challenging job yet it appeals to those who love traveling. It allows people to travel to different places around the globe. Merchant Navy is not only rewarding in terms of money but also a very satisfying job for several people.

Also Read: Which Are the Best Courses After 12th Science PCM?

Know About Merchant Navy

The Merchant Navy is also known as the Merchant Marines in several countries. It is engaged only in commercial activities like transporting cargo and several people via the seaways. The global shipping sector is alive on the Merchant navy and hence it is a pillar of a nation’s economic prosperity and development. As the major part of all countries, commercial activities are conducted via sea routes, the importance and prominence of the Merchant Navy are quite large. These fleet of commercial ships are quite different from those used for military purposes. Mariners, seafarers, sailors, and seamen are the professionals who work on the ships and are associated with this job.

Scope of Merchant Navy in India

The demand for the officers in the Merchant Navy will increase drastically with time. The merchant ship owners will try to find the ways to cut off expenses in the near future causing the unmanned ship projects to still stay at a beginner’s level. But later there might be improvements in it as well. The petty shipping companies existing might be uprooted from the industry with time. The use of Artificial Intelligence might bring about a revolution as well.

Till there are transportation and shipping of goods happening via the sea routes, the scope of the Merchant Navy is bound to increase as more than 95% of the transportations takes place through the seas. As the economy is suffering, there might be no sudden increase in the wage rate yet the job opportunities will be plenty and one could successfully think of making a career in this field.

Eligibility Criteria for Merchant Navy

There are several private institutes that offer training on Merchant Navy and prepare the students for marine engineering jobs and to become deck cadets. The eligibility criteria for the Merchant Navy are as follows:

  • One has to take up the PCM or Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics combination in their +2s and pass class 12 with it.
  • All the candidates are expected to be unmarried male or female citizens of the country.
  • The candidates should not have high power in their eyes and only candidates with normal vision or power up to minus 2.5 are allowed.
  • Admission is done on the basis of an entrance exam, after which proper screening is done followed by the main examination. After clearing all the three levels, one has to appear for an interview and a medical test is conducted.
  • Every candidate has to complete a short-term ship training course before they are employed where they are taught all the basics security issues related to voyaging in the sea.

Entrance Exams one can sit for to be a part of the Merchant Navy

Indian Maritime University Common Entrance Test (IMU CET) or the All India Merchant Navy Entrance Exam is the entrance exam conducted in the month of May that the aspiring candidates need to sit for after completing their 12th grade. The other exams one can take to enter the field of Marine Engineering are JEE, MERI Entrance Exam, and TMISAT(Tolani Maritime Institute Science Aptitude Test).

Applicants need to complete class 10 for the GP Rating Course and need to complete their 12th grade with PCM combination securing a minimum of 60% in their 12th board examination. Candidates can apply for the exams online and need to submit a 100 words summary on why they want to be a part of the Merchant Navy with the application form. The entrance exam is conducted in an MCQ format with questions based on Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Reasoning, English, and General Knowledge.

Also Read: List of Best Courses After 12th Science Non-Medical

Best Courses To Get Job In Merchant Navy

Maritime courses prepare learners to take on several positions in the shipping industry. So, if it is a Merchant Navy career that you are targeting, a maritime education program would be of help to you. 

This is the list of maritime courses available which one can pursue to get a job in the Merchant Navy.

Merchant Navy courses one can pursue after class 10th

The course is as follows:

  • G.P. Rating
  • Commercial Driving
  • Diploma in Nautical Science (DNS)
  • Near Coastal Voyage (NCV)

Merchant Navy courses one can pursue after class 12th

The courses one can take up after completing class 12 are as follows:

  • B.Sc. Nautical Science
  • B.Sc. Marine Catering
  • B.E. Marine Engineering
  • B.E. Petroleum Engineering
  • B.E. Mechanical Engineering
  • B.E. Civil Engineering
  • B.E. Harbour and Ocean Engineering
  • B.E. Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering
  • Electro-Technical Officer Course

Skills Needed to join the Merchant Navy

These are the skills you must have for making a career in Merchant Navy:

  • Aptitude & Engineering – The candidates should have the aptitude for mechanical, electrical, or civil engineering and should be excellent in mathematics, chemistry, physics, and IT skills.
  • Team Spirit – They should have good teamwork skills and spirit. They should also have good communication skills to effectively do so with a staff of all the levels.
  • Not Feeling Homesick Easily – Their work will always result in them staying away from their family members and not returning home for several days or months. One should not feel homesick very fast and still manage to cope with all the workload hurled at them.
  • Good Planning Skills – They should be decisive and responsible and know how to prioritize their work. They should also be good with planning including the contingencies. 
  • Handling Emergencies – They should be calm and patient in all situations which will enable the team to have faith in their decisions in case of emergency situations.
  • Good With Mathematics & Technology – One should be good with calculations that are required during navigations. They should be able to cope with the technological advancements happening in their sector and not shy away from learning how to use the latest vessels designed.
  • Communication Skills – They should have good communication skills that will enable them to listen and speak their minds and coordinated with their team members. They should know how to work together in teams, and come to collective decisions and help each other out. 

Job Options Available in Merchant Navy

Merchant Navy is such a field that requires individuals to have a lot of physical and mental strength and have specialized knowledge and training in that particular area. Merchant Navy is one of the best career options available for several youths aspiring a career with adventure and a good pay package. 

The three main departments of Merchant Navy that work on all types of ships together and in combinations are officers, engineers, and the ratings. If one is thinking of making a career in the Merchant Navy, they need to choose one department from these three:

  • Deck Department
  • Engine Department
  • Crew Rating

There are two other job positions that aren’t as significant as these three and are called the Catering and Hospitality Crew and the Electro-Technical Officers (ETOs). A course done on any one of the departments can help one get a job in Merchant Navy with ease.

Also Read: List of Best Government Jobs After 12th in India

Rankings in the Merchant Navy

The three main departments are the Deck Department, the Engine Department, and the Crew Rating. The ranking happens in a hierarchical order of the professionals involved. The Ship Captain is the highest rank that one can hold onboard.

  • For the Deck Department, the rankings are – 
    • Chief Officer/ Mate
    • 2nd Officer/ Mate
    • 3rd Officer/ Mate
    • Deck Cadet
  • For the Engine Department, the rankings are – 
    • Chief Engineer
    • 2nd Engineer/ First assistant engineer
    • 3rd Engineer/ Second assistant engineer
    • 4th Engineer/ Third assistant engineer
    • 5th Engineer/ Engine Cadet
    • Electrotechnical Officer (ETO)
  • The rankings for the Ratings (deck- ratings) department are as follows:
    • Bosun (Head of the rating members)
    • Fitter/ Welder (renders services to engine and deck departments both)
    • Able-Bodied Seaman (AB)
    • Ordinary Seaman (OS)
    • Trainee OS

Pay Package in Merchant Navy

The pay package in this career can range from Rs.12K to 8 lakhs per month though it can have several influencing factors like the rankings, the number of imports and exports, the company one works for, etc. Senior officers can take their wives on voyages if they wish too and free meals are provided to all the crew members on board.

A junior engineer’s salary can be Rs30K while that of the Chief Officer can be around 1.2 lakhs per month. It takes 6-7 years for the junior officers to get promoted to the next level. A Third officer’s salary is Rs. 50K per month, this rank being below the other ranks in the increasing order of their seniorities like the Second Officer, the Chief Officer, and the Ship Captain. The Captain’s salary is Rs. 2 lakhs per month. It takes almost 8 years for a Third Officer to get promoted to the position of the Ship Captain.


People with proper certifications and skills and a will to make a career in the Merchant Navy are bound to get through in this line. This is a very unique career option yet happens to be very rewarding and satisfying. There is a surety of job and tax-free income that appeals to a lot of people. If one can give up on their social life for the love of adventure on the sea, this career is perfect for them!

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