All about Career in Merchant Navy in India: Eligibility, Admission, Advantages

Updated October 12, 2022

Merchant Navy is considered a great career option which can serve your aspirations for wandering and adventuring across the oceans and around the globe with a great salary package.

Basically, Merchant Navy is a fleet of vessels charged with transporting large products from one country to another. It is one of the essential parts of the international trade as most exports and imports between the countries are done by the ships. In recent decades, considerable growth has been seen in this sector.

Since it provides an opportunity to travel around the world and to interact with different cultures, food, and beauty, students are putting their steps forward to have it. Moreover, it also offers a promising career along with all these. So, choosing a career in this niche sector is a step toward achieving your dream.

The field of merchant navy can be accessed through various programs and is undoubtedly the most suitable career choice. Candidates can apply to join Merchant Navy at any level from the time they finish class 10 until graduation.

A Primer on Merchant Navy

Merchant Navy is a specialized sector that focuses on commercial activities, including transporting passengers and products via shipping routes. It is a prominent field globally because most commercial transactions take place by the sea.

Merchant Navy differs from that of the Indian Naval Force as INF is primarily involved in the defence functions only, whereas Merchant navy is involved in trading. A career in this field is considered a glamorous job because it offers a chance to travel the world and explore a new world with a bounty of salary packages. This industry commands great attraction for the youngsters as it keeps expanding with the rising global trade.

Merchant Navy is more suitable to say a lifestyle rather than a career. To get high-grade job profiles, candidates have to complete their 10+2 examination and qualify for the entrance exam. However, candidates who have completed their 10th board are also offered various job opportunities in the Merchant Navy. The courses listed below are available to people who wish to join the Merchant Navy.

Courses and Fields in Merchant Navy

In order to pursue a career in the Merchant Navy, you can opt one from the various courses available. Here is the list of courses that you can opt for after the 10th or 12th for a career in the Navy.

(1) B.Tech Marine Engineering

It is a 4-year undergraduate course that offers several job opportunities, including Shipping companies, Naval academy, Shipyards, Port Trust, Repairing Yards, and Merchant Naval Companies. After completing the programmes, they could hold various positions like Port Manager, Maritime Educator, Second Marine Engineer, Ship Manager, Ship Operator, Marine Surveyor, Chief Marine Engineer, Technical Superintendent, to mention a few.

(2) B.Tech Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering (NAOE)

This course is a bachelor programme that has been designed to provide in-depth knowledge of the construction of marine crafts and structures like construction of different boats, large ships, submarines and extraction of oil and natural gas, etc. To get admission in the course, CET conducts an entrance exam of which candidates have to qualify. Under the course, students are provided with enough essential knowledge and experience that would help them in hands-on experience.

(3) B.Tech Harbour & Ocean Engineering

This 4-year undergraduate course is formulated to provide in-depth knowledge about the port and harbour structures and operate and maintain offshore oil drilling platforms for oil exploration and production. It offers a rewarding remunerative package. The students can get admission in the course and make a glamorous career after qualifying the specific eligibility criteria. This course opens an array of careers in the mercantile marine.

(4) G.P Rating

GP Rating Course, also known as General Purpose Rating, is an entry-level course to join merchant navy as a Deck or Engine Ratings after passing Senior Secondary / 10th STD exams. It is a residential course where you will have to stay six months in the institute and learn various aspects of Merchant Navy which comes under this job profiles like types of ship, what job you will be doing and a proper way of doing it, safety at sea and a many more. Under the course, the job profile will be different based on the department you will join Deck or Engine: Deck department – Ship Maintenance, Assist in Navigation and Cargo Operation, and Engine Department– General Cleaning of Engine Room, Assist in Engine Room Maintenance.

(5) Marine Engineering under Alternate Training Scheme

It is one of the ways to step into the Merchant Navy. The Marine Engineering under Alternate Training Scheme is two years six months course which students can obtain after completing their intermediate or 10+2 examination. This course has been designed to provide knowledge about the construction and operation of mechanical equipment of seagoing crafts, docks and harbour installations.

(6) BBA in Port, Shipping Management & Logistics

It is an undergraduate curriculum for those who are seeking to prepare themselves for managerial roles in the Ports, Shipping and logistics-related areas. It offers a promising career in the Merchant Navy. This program will enable them to develop the understanding required to solve and manage port-related issues. Consequently, the demand for professionals in this field has been increased manifold in recent years. The students seeking to advance their step into this field can apply for the course after completing their intermediate or higher secondary examination.

(7) M.B.A. Shipping & Logistics Management

The aspirants seeking this course need to have a bachelor’s degree in the relevant field with a minimum required percentile. This program is formulated to give exposure to the candidates related to the administration and structure of the ports and shipping business. It also provides other requisite skills and knowledge required in this profession. Moreover, the shipping company’s professionals are also given a rewarding salary package.

(8) Higher National Diploma (Nautical Science)

It is an undergraduate programme that is designed to equip students with the competencies required to carry out safely the watch-keeping duties of an Officer in charge of a Navigational Watch, both at sea and in port. The candidates should have completed 10+2 or its equivalent examination with preferably minimum 60% aggregate in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics group, and preferably atleast 50% in English at 10th or 12th standard to get admitted to the course.

(9) MBA Shipping Finance

MBA Shipping Finance is a post-graduate programme designed to equip students with adequate skills and knowledge to take up careers in the Finance functional area in shipping and logistics companies. It offers a considerable salary package to the candidates. The aspirants seeking admission to the course would have to qualify for the entrance exam. Some of the entrance exams are CAT, MAT, XAT, JMET, to name a few.

(10) B.E Harbour and Ocean Engineering

It is a four-year bachelor programme that provides in-depth knowledge about the port and harbour structures and operates and maintains offshore oil drilling platforms for oil exploration and production.

(11) Diploma in Marine Engineering (DME)

In this course, the students learn various things, including the science behind marine engineering, Ship design principles, operations, maintenance and surveys. Notwithstanding, they get knowledge and expertise in Propulsion designs, power generation and thermodynamics, Auxiliary and ancillary machinery and many more. These lead the students to manage and operate efficiently and effectively in their respective fields.

(12) Diploma in Nautical Science (DNS)

DNS is an undergraduate-level diploma course that focuses on the skills needed to navigate and operate maritime vehicles safely. The candidates find work in the areas such as Indian Naval Sciences, Port Operations Companies, Weather Forecasting Centers, and Educational Institutes. Moreover, it is one of the platforms that provide jobs in the Merchant Navy. Significant jobs and designations allocated to the candidates are Marine Engineering Instructor, Trainee Navigating Officer, Teacher, and other positions are possible for these professionals.

(14) B.E. Mechanical Engineering

The Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering is a four-year-undergraduate programme that deals with mechanics, statics, kinematics, thermodynamics, materials science, and structural analysis used in designing, development, construction, production, installation, operation and maintenance of tools, machines, to mention a few. To get admission in the course, the candidates must complete their intermediate examination with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics from a recognized university.

(15) Higher National Diploma (Marine Engineering)

This program is formulated to build competent, energetic, and disciplined marine engineers capable of performing to the standard required of the profession for the international and local shipping industry. The marine engineer is responsible for efficient and smooth operating and managing the technical works on the ship. Students who have completed 10+2 can apply for the course. They also require some other essential eligibility criteria to obtain the program.

Apart from these courses, there are many other programmes that students can choose from, such as B.B.A. Logistics & Supply Chain Management, B.E Marine Engineering, B.Tech Ship Building, ETO (Electro-Technical Officer), B.Sc Nautical Science, Electro-Technical Officer Course, to mention a few.

Basic Skills Requirement for Merchant Navy

Although jobs in the Merchant Navy are glamorous and rewarding, it requires various essential qualities from the candidates to stand for these professional jobs effectively. I have listed various crucial skills and qualities that genuinely help the students get admission in the course and help them to stand out from the crowd.

(a) Decision making skills is one of the important skills that every candidates must possess.
(b) The ability to remain calm in difficult situations
(c) Team working skills and the ability to lead, motivate and inspire confidence in others

(d) Written and verbal communication skills
(e) Candidates must possesses the qualities of Mathematical ability
(f) Knowledge of mechanical and electrical systems (for engineer officer roles)

(g) Candidates should have an interest in technology
(h) Resourcefulness, adaptability and flexibility

(i) Candidates who have decided to advance their steps towards this field should have confidence, enthusiasm and self-reliance. These qualities are not only desirable rather a must have to enjoy the career fully.

Eligibility Criteria for Merchant Navy

Merchant Navy covers comprehensive courses. Since merchant navy courses are offered under UG, PG, Diploma and certificates levels, the eligibility criteria for different courses vary. Here are some standard requirements for merchant navy courses for different levels.

Basic Qualifications for Merchant Navy Bachelor Courses

(a) For Engineering Courses- The candidates must have completed their intermediate or higher secondary examination with science stream and physics, Chemistry and Mathematics as compulsory subjects. It is mandatory for the Bachelor Navy Courses.

(b) For other Merchant Navy Courses- The candidates must have passed class 12th examination with good grade from any stream from a recognized institute or board.

(c) The candidates must have obtained atleast 60 percent in their intermediate.
(d) The minimum age requirement for this is between 17 to 25 years.

Basic Qualifications for Merchant Navy Diploma Courses

Since there are different types of Merchant Navy Diploma courses available, the criteria within the category vary.

(a) To get Admission in the course, candidates should not be over the age of 25-28 years

(b) For most of the one-year diploma courses, candidates must have successfully completed 10+2 level of examination with (PCM) Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, and English as compulsory subjects.

(c) For two-year diploma courses, candidates must have passed Diploma in Electronics Engineering/ Marine Engineering/Mechanical Engineering/Electrical Engineering/Shipbuilding Engineering with at least 5 percent marks.

Requirements for 6-months Merchant Navy Courses

(a) For these courses, candidate minimum age bar should be 17.5 years and maximum is 25 years.

(b)Also, candidates who have completed class 12th with Science, English and Maths as the main subjects and have obtained atleast 45% from a recognized board or university are considered eligible.

Basic Qualifications for Merchant Navy Post Graduates Courses

(a) For MBA courses related to Merchant Navy, the upper age limit is 25 years whereas, for Graduate Marine Engineering (GME) the upper age limit is 28 years.

(b) For Graduate Marine Engineering (GME), candidates must hold a BE degree in Naval Archtecture/Mechanical Engineering.

(c) For Merchant Navy MBA courses, candidates with any bachelor degree from a recognised university are considered eligible to take admission in the course.

Medical Fitness Requirements for Merchant Navy Courses

(a) Candidates applying for any of the Merchant Navy courses must meet the medical fitness requirements.

(b) Candidates must be medically fit including hearing and eyesight.
(c) They must have a normal vision (6/6) in each eye separately

(d) It is required that candidates produce a certificate for medical fitness by authorized authorities.

Merchant Navy Admission Process

Career opportunities in the field keep widening, especially with an increase in global trade. It means the shipping companies and firms are required professionals with excellent knowledge and experience who can work efficiently and effectively in the respective fields.

So, to pick a suitable candidate from the crowd, they established various entries to different programs leading to a career in the merchant navy. Some of the entries that would help candidates get admission to the courses and lead them to make a career in the merchant navy are Entrance-based, Sponsorship Based, and Lateral Entry. However, there are other procedures for different entry levels.

Merchant Navy Admission Through Entrance Exams and Merit

If candidates wish to apply for technical courses for entering the merchant navy, then aspirants will have to appear for entrance exams. Several exams are conducted for admission to marine engineering programs after class 12th. Following are some popular exams-

(b) JEE Mains & Advanced
(c) MERI Entrance Exam

However, there are several colleges that also provide admission to the students on the basis of marks secured in their higher secondary examination or class 12th examination.

Sponsorship Based Entry in Merchant Navy Courses

(a) It is one of the other ways to enter the merchant navy programs. If you wish to apply to either of the famous maritime institutes for maritime programs, they could get admission through sponsorship-based entry. Also, students can apply for sponsorships at the institutes started by shipping companies to train potential candidates for the merchant navy.

(b) The sponsorship entry to the candidates will be given by the company only when they have completed a course at their institute. It is also possible to request multiple sponsorships at different companies.

Lateral Entry (LE) into 2nd year of Marine Engineering

The candidates could also get admission in the Merchant Navy courses through lateral entry. For instance, one can get direct admission into the second year of marine engineering programmes approved by the Directorate General of Shipping. There are two ways of securing LE seats in Marine Engineering programmes.

(a) Candidates after completing the first year of engineering from electrical or mechanical branch with minimum 60% can get admission through lateral entry.

(b) Also, candidates pursuing a diploma in electrical, mechanical, marine or ship-building engineering with minimum 60% aggregate marks can get admission.

The Syllabus in Taught in Merchant Navy

There are many popular syllabuses under the mercantile marine program that a student have to go through. Some of them are-

  • Mechanics of Fluids
  • Voyage Planning and Collision Prevention
  • Marine Electrical Technology
  • Nautical Physics and Electronics Paper
  • Electrical Machines
  • Ship Operation Technology
  • Marine Auxiliary Machine
  • Principles of Navigation
  • Marine IC Engineering
  • Shipping Management
  • Marine Boiler and System Engineering
  • Maritime Law
  • Naval Architecture
  • Cargo Machine and Marine Communication
  • Marine Heat Engines and Air Conditioning
  • Marine Machines and System Design Environmental Science
  • STCW and Ship Fire Prevention

Merchant Navy Salary in India

In the Merchant Navy, the salary could range from Rs.12000 up to Rs.8 lakhs per month. However, the pay structure varies between companies and from city to city. Notwithstanding, the pay structure also depends on the import and export requirements, seniority, etc. All officers and crew members receive complimentary meals onboard, and superior officers can bring wives to the ship with them.

A Junior Engineer working on the ship could earn the amount of Rs. 30000 per month, with free boarding and lodging, while signed on board vessel. The next stage is Second Engineer and, finally, the chief engineer on the vessel. As you progress to higher levels, your salary increases accordingly. A Chief Engineer on the sea earns about Rs. 1.5 million per month, or higher net of taxes. For a junior officer ranks engineer, it can take 6 to 7 years to rise to the rank of Chief Engineer, dependent on their abilities and the available job opportunities.

Going further at the third rank officer, the salary of a Third Officer is about an amount of 50k per month and includes lodging and boarding on board. In ascending order of rank, the next levels include Second Officer, Chief Officer and Captain of a ship. A Captain’s pay package includes the equivalent of Rs. 2 lakhs or more per month with no tax. Considering the individual strengths and job opportunities, it can take up to eight years to get promoted from the third rank to the Captain rank.

Apart from that, they also get privileges of the importation of cigarettes, liquor, canned foods, cosmetics, and even canned drinks are also available at the port of call at no cost. The professionals working in this field are also allowed to get 4-months leave per year. It is interesting to note that there is no income tax return on the earnings of a professional working in the merchant navy.

The life of a merchant mariner is an exciting experience for people enthralled by travel. Although they have to be away from their family for long periods, the chance to explore the world and earn money for it can’t be denied.

Career Prospects and Job Profiles in Merchant Navy

In this niche, candidates find numerous job opportunities with rewarding salary packages as it keeps widening over the world. A career in the merchant navy is classified into three categories: (a) the Deck Department, (b) Engineering Department and (c) Hospitality Department.

The Deck Department includes the Ratings, Deck Officers, and the Captain, who is responsible for navigation, communications and overall performance of the ship. The Deck or Engineering Department job requires completing their Class 12 with Maths, Physics, and Chemistry. However, the most important is that the applicant must pass the entrance exam conducted through the Indian Maritime University (IMU) and earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nautical Science, followed by an initial training program for Pre-Sea. Some of the Job profiles in Deck Department are-

(a) Third Officer
(b) Second Officer
(c) Chief Officer
(d) Captain of the Ship

Second one is an engineering department. Candidates can become marine engineers by pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in marine engineering and clearing the entrance exam conducted by IMU and then, followed by completing a year-long pre-sea training programme. They play crucial roles in the ship as they operate, maintain, and repair the main propulsion system and auxiliary machinery. They are responsible for the smooth and safe operation of the vessel and involve diverse engineering disciplines such as Mechanical, Electrical, Electronic and Structural Engineers. Several opportunities are available in the Shipbuilding Industry in coastal regions or aboard a seafaring ship. some of them are-

(a) Fourth Engineer
(b) Third Engineer
(c) Second Engineer
(d) Chief Engineer

A degree in Hotel Management/Administration also offers excellent job opportunities in this Merchant Navy. After completing MBA and BBA in marine-related courses, you can become a member of the Hospitality Department aboard a Ship, Tanker and Cruise Liners.

Along with a tax-free income and lengthy vacations, you can travel all over the globe and interact with different people. However, their daily life will be spent on the Ship. If you do not bother to wander at sea, you should likely consider joining the Merchant Navy as your trade.

Questions Mostly Asked About Merchant Navy

Q. What does the Merchant Navy do?

Ans- The merchant navy is responsible for facilitating the function of transporting goods via sea and ocean from one place to another. They are also responsible for transporting passengers via shipping routes in different places. 

Q. What is the Merchant Navy salary?

Ans- The merchant navy is a good job profile, and those in the field can earn a considerable amount per annum. The salary of a Merchant Navy in India is around ₹ 0.4 Lakhs to ₹ 24.0 Lakhs.

Q. What is the eligibility for merchant navy?

Ans- The following are eligibility criteria for the merchant navy: must have completed 10th education, must have attained 17.5 years of age but not have exceeded 25 years, and should have completed merchant navy courses.  

Q. Is Merchant Navy a government job?

Ans- Yes! Merchant navy job can be a government. But it all depends on the employment settings you are going to work into. If you work for the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), you will no doubt work as govt. employee.  

Reads Beyond a Career in Merchant Navy Post

1 thought on “All about Career in Merchant Navy in India: Eligibility, Admission, Advantages”

  1. This article contains everything about Merchant Navy, a proper detailed article you have written. The way you explain this article is easy to understand and is really impressive.


Leave a comment