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Merchant Navy Officer - A Career on Fathoms of Water.

24 January,2023  |  By Brainwonders

Merchant Navy Officer

Are you obsessed with the gushing waters of the sea? Are you the one who loves voyages and at the same time wants to do something for the nation? Are you the one who is looking for a career at sea? If - Yes, then being a Merchant Navy Officer is the best for you. But wait, What is that? What do such officers do? What education is required to become one? What kind of jobs does the merchant Navy offer? Are you curious to know? Let us find out. 

Career as a Merchant Navy Officer in India: 

In the merchant navy, individuals are employed to check the transportation of goods or passengers via cargoes and ships across different countries and continents. And as a Merchant Navy Officer, you will guide the safe translocation of cargo or passengers on board. They are also needed to coordinate and supervise each other for smooth sailing. Merchant Navy is a Tax-Free Job, which means you won't need to pay any governmental tax. 

A career in the Merchant Navy comprises two jobs: a) Deck Cadet and b) Engineer.

1. Deck Cadet or the Navigation Officer:

He is responsible for decisions regarding the steering and manoeuvring of the ship and also navigates and communicates with other decks. He also monitors the weather forecast and makes crucial decisions. The Deck cadet officer is also responsible for loading and unloading cargoes.

  • Education Required: 

Senior Secondary Education from PCM stream followed by B.Sc in Nautical Science, B.Sc Marine, etc.

  • Admission Process:

  1. a) Crack the IMU-CET exam to get admission to colleges offering B.Sc Nautical Science. An interview and a medical check-up follow the exam.
  2. b) Several governmental colleges in the south provide admission based on JEE exam conducted by IITs. 
  • Training Process: 

One year of pre-sea training in the Maritime Institute is compulsory. After that, they are trained on ships for approximately 18 months. Once the training is completed, all the aspiring candidates appear for exams set up by the government of India. Those who crack this exam are appointed as third officers on the ships. And after accumulating enough experience of around 11 years, they can even reach the position of a captain.

  • Colleges offering B.Sc in Nautical Science:  

# Hindustan Institute of Maritime Training

# Tolani Maritime Institute

# Cochin University of Science and Technology

2. Engineering Officer: 

He is responsible for maintaining all the pieces of machinery and gears of the large canoes. He is also responsible for the timely inspection of the ships to avoid tearing machine parts because of overuse, which also prevents mishaps during sails on the water. 

Education Required: 

12th from PCM stream and bachelor's from any one of the below-mentioned streams:

  • Marine Engineering
  • Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering
  • Harbour and Ocean Engineering
  • Civil Engineering 
  • Electricals and Electronics Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering

Admission Process:

  1. a) Crack the IMU-CET exam to get admission to colleges offering B.Sc Nautical Science. An interview and a medical check-up follow this.
  2. b) Several governmental colleges in the south provide admission based on JEE exam conducted by IITs.

Training Process:

Pre-sea training for a year is com[pulsory for them as well. After that, the candidates are sent for onboard training for 6 months, followed by a competitive governmental exam. Passers are credited as the fourth engineers on the ships. To probe further, they are required to accumulate experience on the sea.

Colleges offering engineering courses: 

  • Coimbatore Marine College
  • Hindustan Institute of Maritime Training
  • Birla Institute of Technology (BITS)
  •  Vellore Institute of Technology
  •  Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology
  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)
  • National Institute of Technology (NIT) 

Types of Navy Cargos:

There are different commercial vessels on which merchant navy officers work, such as:

  • Bulk Carriers
  • Roll-ons/ Rolls-off Ships
  • Reefer ships
  • Tanker Ships
  • Passenger Ships
  • Cruise Ships
  • Chemical Tankers
  • LNG Carriers
  • Container Ships
  • Bulk Carriers
  • Offshore Vessels
  • Ferries

Eligibility Criterion to obtain a Merchant Navy Rank:

  • AGE: The applying candidate must be in the age group of 17 to 25.
  • EDUCATION: 12th with at least 60% from PCM stream
  • MARITAL STATUS: Eligible candidates must be single while applying for a rank in the merchant navy.
  • TATTOOS AND PIERCINGS: They are generally counted as objectionable by senior officers during medical tests.
  • EYES: 6/6 vision is preferred; the rest depends on the type of degrees pursued by the applying candidates. Candidates with colour blindness are not eligible.
  • PHYSICAL FITNESS: The eligible candidates must be certified by a medical practitioner for fitness. Disable candidates are prohibited.
  • GENDER: Both sexes have merchant navy officer qualifications.

Skills Required to Pursue a Career in the Navy:

Seafarers are required to possess the following skills before manoeuvring actual ships at sea:

  • Passion for sailing even on the roughest water
  • Patience and resilience
  • Teamwork abilities
  • Critical thinking
  • Analytical thinking
  • Practical knowledge of physics, mathematics, maritime engineering, etc.
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Interpersonal and planning skills

Top Merchant Navy Colleges in India:

  • Maharashtra Academy of Naval Education and Training
  • Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies
  • Tolani Institute
  • International Maritime Institute
  • Coimbatore Marine College
  • Vels Academy of Maritime Studies
  • Institute of Technology and Marine Engineering

Top Marine Colleges Overseas:

  • Edith Cowan University
  • School of Marine and Technical Engineering
  • Hiroshima National College of Maritime Technology
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology, Pacific Marine Training Campus
  • The University of New Orleans.

Subjects Studied by Merchant Navy Scholars:

Merchant Navy requires a piece of deep knowledge of a wide range of subjects. Some of those subjects have been addressed below:

  1.  Naval Architecture
  2. Maritime Law
  3. Environmental Science
  4. Marine Boiler and System of Engineering
  5. Mechanics of Fluids
  6. Voyage Planning and Collision Prevention
  7. Nautical Physics and Electronics Paper
  8. Cargo Machines and Marine Communications
  9. Marine Auxillary Machine
  10. Principles of Navigation
  11. Marine Heat Engines and Air Conditioning
  12. Marine Machines and System Designs
  13. STCW and Ship Fire Prevention

Merchant Navy Salary Insights:

The salary of merchant navy officers differs according to the allocated positions and the experience gained. The average salary starts from Rs. 0.4 lakh per annum. A mid-career officer can easily earn up to Rs. 9 lakh per annum, while the highest rise in salary in India is expected to be Rs. 24 lakh per annum.

Scope of Merchant Navy in India:

The merchant navy offers ample opportunities to those brave hearts eager to explore the uncertainties of the sea. Shipping companies from the private and public sectors offer the most lucrative careers in the merchant navy with handsome salaries. Moreover, this sector is vested with different departments and can be chosen according to the candidate's interests. Furthermore, navigating officers or marine engineers enjoy 2 to 3 months of holiday.

Merchant Navy jobs after 12th:

Job Position Average Salary (Per Month) in India
Deck Cadet ₹20,000 - ₹50,000
Engine Cadet ₹20,000 - ₹50,000
Nautical Officer (Third Officer) ₹60,000 - ₹1,00,000
Engineering Officer (Fourth Engineer) ₹60,000 - ₹1,20,000
Electro-Technical Officer ₹60,000 - ₹1,20,000
Second Officer ₹1,00,000 - ₹2,50,000
Chief Engineer ₹1,50,000 - ₹3,50,000
Captain ₹2,50,000 - ₹5,00,000

Perks of Joining Merchant Navy Cadetship:

  • Working and travelling simultaneously
  • Tax Benefits
  • No fancy degrees (for some posts)
  • Early Financial Independence
  • Job Security
  • Long Vacations
  • NRI Status
  • Temporary seniors and colleagues


Merchant Navy offers promising careers with great prospects. Seafarers with high zest can opt for a career in the merchant navy. The job offers satisfaction with zero regrets.

If you are looking for a career in the merchant navy but are unsure where to begin, ping us at Brainwonders, and we will guide you with a proper roadmap for an amazing career in the merchant navy.

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