Merchant Navy

How To Join the Merchant Navy: A Complete Guidance from Geeta Career Counselling

The merchant navy is the backbone of international trade because it transports freight and carries cargo to different parts. The job requires extensive travelling and allows you to explore exotic places around the world. If you want to pursue a career in this field, it is important to understand the skills, qualification and eligibility criteria required to join the merchant navy.

In this article, we will discuss how the merchant navy differs from other navy entities, know if it is a government job and why it is a promising career, explore the average salary and skills required and understand how to join the merchant navy.

How is the merchant navy different from other navy entities?

Merchant navy is commercial marine services responsible for shipping cargo from one place to another. It is a commercial form of sea career and governed both by government and private shipping companies. Furthermore, deference or the Indian navy refers to the nation's maritime military wing. It is the unit of the country's armed forces and is in charge of the nation's sea security.

Is the merchant navy a promising career?

Yes, it can be a good career option because of the following reasons:

Higher salary: a job in this field is lucrative because of the higher salary and growth potential. Also, most of these jobs offer other perks along with the salary.

Chance to travel: as you transport goods from one place to another, you may get a chance to travel to different parts of the world.

Exposure to different cultures: a professional working in this field often meets people from different cultures and nationalities. It helps them learn nuances of other cultures and increases their adaptability to work with individuals from different countries.

Extensive work exposure: as you may spend most of your work hours on the ship, you are likely to face unprecedented situations and emergencies. Therefore, the exposure and learning you receive from this job profile is extensive and unmatched.

Is merchant navy a government job?

You can join the merchant navy as a done G.P. Rating course and saloon rating course , cadet or engineer, ETO course , depending upon your educational qualification. With years of experience and relevant sea time, you can progress in your career. For example, you may join as a junior engineer with an engineering degree and later become a fourth, third, second and chief engineer. Whereas with a BSc degree, you can become a third officer, second officer and finally the chief officer.

What is the salary in the merchant navy?

The average salary will be deepened upon rank

Skills required to become a merchant navy

Here are some key skills that you should have before joining the merchant navy:

Leadership skills

These professionals often have to take an important decision regarding the cargo or safety and maintenance of ships. Therefore, employers prefer candidates with excellent leadership skills because leaders are confident, honest and possess a positive outlook for every problem they encounter. In addition, leadership techniques can help them inspire and influence other staff working on the ship.

Communications skills

You have to work with multiple teams offshore. So, it is important to get the right message across and avoid instances of miscommunication. Being able to communicate your ideas to ensure everyone understands what you are saying is a desirable merchant navy skill.

Critical thinking

During the sea-voyage or while working offshore, you may encounter problems. Therefore, navy officers need to have critical thinking skills to help them find a viable solution. So, these officers should think clearly and rationally to come to a logical solution to the problem at hand.


A navy officer works with an in-house and offshore team to ensure the safe delivery of cargo. The ability to work in a team is a skill that employers prefer in candidates for such job roles. Also, using their teamwork skills, a navy officer can combine ideas with colleagues to achieve a common goal.


Self-control is the ability to regulate your behavior, emotions and thoughts to avoid inappropriate behavior and accomplish your goals. Employers expect these professionals to have excellent self-control because sailing for most of the year can be challenging and candidates may face immense emotional and mental pressure. So, you should be emotionally strong and have a sense of responsibility against your duties and the safety of others on the ship.

Courses Details

GP Rating Course- The six months General Purpose Rating (GP Rating) approved by the Directorate General of Shipping (Government of India). On successful completion of this course, the candidates will be eligible to join in Indian/Foreign Shipping companies as a Deck/Engine crew. With further sea service, they would be promoted as Motorman/Oilman, Fitter, Deck serang, Able-Bodied Seamen, Bosun. They can also be promoted to officer Level with certain service and qualification requirements on passing the examinations conducted by DGS. This course is strictly residential.

Course commences Every year in January and July.

Candidates should have passed “Xth Standard” from a recognized educational board with Science and Mathematics as subjects. The marks obtained should be 40% overall and 40% in the English language alone. Minimum educational qualification requirement is relaxed from “Xth Standard Passed” to “VIII Standard Passed”, to the candidates who are natives of Minicoy Island belonging to Scheduled Tribe in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.

Age: 17.5 to 25 years (for diploma or degree holders, the age limit is extended to 27 years) of age at the time of commencement of the course.

Pass with aggregate 40% marks in 10th standard from a recognized Board with Science, Mathematics & English ,Minimum 40% marks in English language either 10th or 12th standard , Age 17 & 1/2 to 25 Years

o Minimum marks of 50% in final year in following courses: (a) All full time B.E. / B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering and its streams, OR (b) Naval Architecture and its streams, OR (c) Any 5 year Integrated M.E/ M.Tech degree based on above qualifications.

ENGLISH: Minimum 50% marks in English language at the 10th or 12th standard or in degree examination.

AGE: 18-28 years.

Certificate Course in Maritime Catering (CCMC) Saloon Rating Course:

Merchant Navy offers Saloon Ratings course for 10th pass students. So, it is ideally suited if one has made up his mind early in life that this is the career path one is going to follow. Maritime Course brings you on board as Saloon ratings.

Profile of this job in Merchant Navy.

As a Catering/Saloon rating you’ll perform a variety of jobs as well as being cook or cook/steward – such as forming part of emergency response teams involved in fire fighting, security and passenger controller rescue duties.

Saloon Rating Eligibility

Educational qualifications:

Minimum educational qualification is a pass in the S.S.C / 10th or its equivalent exam from any recognized board. Aggregate/ overall percentage must not be less than 40% and in ENGLISH subject minimum required is 40% either in 10th/12th exams.

Age limit:

Maximum age limit is 25 years at the time of commencement of course.

Medical standards:

Minimum Height-157 cms, Weight-48 kgs. Should be physically fit for sea and should meet the medical standards laid by the Director General of shipping.


Use of corrective lenses for eyesight is permitted but the maximum permissible limits, at entry, are 6/12 in each eye or 6/9 in better eye and 6/18 in other eye for distant unaided vision. Colour blindness is not permitted.

Mode of selection:

Written /Interview/ Medical examination.

Saloon Rating Course duration:

Saloon rating course is a 6 months residential course.

Saloon Rating Course fees:

Around 2 lakh- 2.25 INR, Depends on the college the candidate get selected.

Saloon Rating Salary:

Candidate joins the ship as an Mess Boy & after 6 months of sea service candidate gets promoted to Asst.Steward , and further gets Promoted to Steward, Second cook, Cook, Chief cook. Chief cook Salary is around 1500-1800$ (Rs 90000 – Rs 1,30,000).

Note: Candidates desirous of joining the course must apply for a passport immediately, if they do not already have a passport, as it is a requirement when applying for C.D.C.

B.Sc. Nautical Science (BSCNS) 3 yrs. Degree Course (Mumbai University) & (DG SHIPPING) Pass in 12th standard (10+2)with PCM average not less than 60% and 50% marks in English at SSC or HSC Age 25 Years Electro Technical Officer Course(ETO)- DIPLOMA WITH 60% B. E . or B.TECH WITH 50% in electrical, Electronics & Telecommunication or Instrumentation and with 12 STD PCM & English 50% in 10 or 12 STD and Age 35 Years & Below 1-year Marine Engineering Course for Graduates [GME]— Minimum marks of 50% in final year in following courses: (a) All full time B.E. / B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering and its streams, OR (b) Naval Architecture and its streams, OR (c) Any 5 year Integrated M.E/ M.Tech degree based on above qualifications.

ENGLISH: Minimum 50% marks in English language at the 10th or 12th standard or in degree examination.

AGE: 18-28 years.