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How to Become a Merchant Navy Officer: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Become a Merchant Navy


The Merchant Navy, often considered a lucrative field, may be the ideal choice for those who aspire to earn well and are ready to travel across oceans for extended periods. The role of a Merchant Navy officer is to oversee the country’s commercial shipping. India, being a peninsular country, is dotted with numerous seaports. Moreover, rivers serve as significant routes for transporting indigenous products to other countries. Consequently, a Merchant Navy officer and his crew play a crucial role in transporting goods from one place to another.

If you’re seeking a profitable career, learning how to become a Merchant Navy Officer could open up a world of opportunities. This field can be entered through various courses, depending on the candidate’s preferences. There are multiple pathways to join the Merchant Navy, starting right from class 10 and continuing through graduation. So, if you’re wondering how to become a Merchant Navy Officer, this blog will guide you through the process.

Skills Required

You must apply to a marine engineering or shipping company and be sponsored through the training procedure to become a Merchant Navy Officer. 

The basic requirements needed to become a Merchant navy Officer are:

Off-shore, a merchant navy officer works with numerous teams. It's critical to convey the correct message so that there are no misunderstandings in the future that could lead to anything undesirable. Effective communication is necessary to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Businesses are involved in workplace communication because it allows them to be more competitive and efficient.

While off-shore difficulties might develop at any time, it is necessary for a military officer to have critical thinking abilities in order to avoid them. You must be able to think clearly and rationally as a merchant marine officer, as well as recognise the logical relationship between ideas. Clear thinking improves your decision-making abilities by enhancing your decision-making behaviours to the point of making a conscious and purposeful choice. When fully comprehended, logic and reasoning enable you to exert control over the thoughts that you will have in all elements of your life.  

Because a merchant marine officer not only works with his or her own team but also with other teams to ensure the safe delivery of cargo, being a good team player is essential. As a merchant navy officer, you must be able to integrate your abilities and ideas with those of your coworkers in order to achieve a common goal. Employers need individuals with great cooperation skills for a variety of reasons, including leadership, coordination, and clear communication, among others.

There will be instances when a person must make critical decisions when sailing. It is critical to act quickly and make the best decision possible. To get the greatest result in the quickest amount of time, one must be able to choose between two or more options. A cornerstone of leadership skills and expertise was the capacity to make an informed decision and stick to it. Any business is in the midst of a decision-making process. Critical thinking skills aid in the assessment of challenges and the development of solutions that benefit the company and its personnel.

A merchant naval officer's life can be difficult, especially while sailing. Because the strain is so severe, a merchant marine officer must have a lot of self-control. To protect one's safety, one must be emotionally robust and have a sense of responsibility toward others. Self-control refers to the ability to regulate and change one's reactions in order to avoid incorrect behaviour, promote positive behaviour, and achieve long-term goals. Self-control has been proved in studies to be important for one's well-being and quality of life. 

A merchant navy officer will be exposed to the elements for an extended period of time while at sea. A merchant naval officer's body will take a lot of punishment, so he or she must be physically fit. Simply having good grades and a desire to work at sea will not guarantee a job in the Merchant Navy. Physical activity appears to bring a variety of health benefits. A merchant navy officer is on the water for an extended period of time, suffering the elements as well as the stress of the job. This can go on for months at a time, with no sightings of land. Those who are not psychologically strong enough may suffer as a result of this. As a result, a merchant navy officer's mental strength is critical. Good leaders know how to spot opportunities for encouragement.

Eligibility Criteria

Because Merchant Navy courses are available at the undergraduate, graduate, diploma, and certificate levels, the eligibility requirements for each course vary. The following are some of the most typical criteria for Merchant Navy courses at various levels. 

  • Candidates must have completed their Class 12 with a Science stream and Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics as obligatory subjects, to be eligible for Merchant Navy Courses
  • A minimum of 60% is required in order to clear the eligibility.
  • Age Limit: 17 years- 25 years.
  • Age limit: 25 years- 28 years.
  • Most one-year diploma courses need the completion of a 10+2 level examination with PCM and English as required topics.
  • Candidates for two-year diploma programmes must have a diploma in Electronics Engineering, Marine Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or Shipbuilding Engineering with a minimum of 50%.
  • Age Limit: 17.5 years- 25 years.
  • Candidates must have completed Class 10 with Science, English, and Math as main subjects and received at least 40% in each subject.
  • Upper age limit for MBA courses relating to the Merchant Navy: 25 years,
  • Upper age limit for GME- 28 years.
  • Candidates for GME must have a BE in Naval Architecture/Mechanical Engineering.
  • Candidates with any bachelor's degree from a recognised university are considered qualified for MBA programmes.
  • Medical fitness standards must be met by candidates applying for any of the Merchant Navy courses.
  • Candidates must meet all medical requirements, including hearing and vision.
  • They must each have normal vision (6/6) in their respective eyes.
  • Candidates must present a certificate of medical fitness issued by authorised authorities.

Admission Procedure

Admission to several programmes leading to a career in the merchant navy is mostly determined by entrance exams. There are, however, different methods for various entrance levels. Check out the following information:

You must take entrance tests if you wish to apply for technical training in order to join the Merchant Navy. After class 12, exams are held for admission to marine engineering programmes.  The following are some of the most popular Merchant Navy Entrance Exams:

  • JEE Advanced
  • MERI Entrance Exam

There are, however, a few universities that accept candidates based on their class 12 grades.

  • Entry is also feasible if you apply for a maritime programme at one of the prominent maritime institutes. You can apply for sponsorship at institutes set up by shipping companies to train future merchant navy applicants.
  • The firm through which you apply will only offer you with sponsorship to embark on a ship if you have finished a course at their institute. You can also apply for numerous sponsorships with various businesses.
  • Direct Admission is also available for marine engineering programmes recognised by the Directorate General of Shipping in the second year. In Marine Engineering programmes, there are two routes to get an LE seat.
  • After finishing the first year of engineering with a minimum of 60% in the electrical or mechanical branch, and after completing the second year of engineering with a minimum of 60% in the electrical or mechanical branch.


Candidates need to know the merchant navy syllabus before they decide to take up the course. Below mentioned are the main syllabus for the course:


Following completion of the relevant programmes in the merchant navy, all candidates must complete pre-sea training at the Maritime Training Institute. Before they begin working as interns aboard the ship, all candidates must complete this training, whether it is in marine engineering or merely a maritime catering programme. Depending on the programme that the candidate has chosen, the training can last anywhere from six months to a year.

Career Options

The Merchant Navy Jobs are one of the highest-paying jobs in India and internationally. Because working on a ship is regarded as a difficult job, sailors are generously compensated. There are various career paths available in this field, and pay varies depending on the role held.

Officers in the navy are frequently paid in the six-figure bracket. Candidates can apply for these roles by passing the competency programmes offered by the Indian government.

After pursuing a career in merchant navy, you can expect to earn the following salary:

Merchant navy sailors receive tax-free income if they spend 183 days of the year in international seas; otherwise, the salary is taxable under Indian law.

Because the Merchant Navy entails extensive travel, there are well-paying off-shore opportunities that one can consider after taking an early retirement or upon completion of the contract.

Career Path

Below mentioned is the career path which a candidates can follow in Merchant Navy with increase in work experience, responsibilities along with the Merchant Navy India Salary:

Internships and Certifications

It is usually beneficial to participate in an internship to gain a better understanding of a career as a merchant marine officer. Working for a company or organisation will offer you real-world experience, regardless of how much practical learning experience your institution or university provides. An internship provides you with valuable industry insight and addresses various questions about how to become a merchant navy officer. In the case of a merchant navy officer, internships are required. Before they can become full-time members, they must go through a training phase. During this time, the individual learns everything that is expected of him in the field and has the chance to hone his or her talents. Internships are a great method for students to put their classroom learning into practise.

Here are some of the career and merchant navy internship opportunities:

Internships and Certifications

We hope that we have provided you with all the important information which is required for a candidate to know before they join the Merchant Navy. 

For more career options related topics and career counselling please check our HRISHI BLOG BUDDHI and also be eligible to take a free career counselling test. 


What is the Merchant Navy?

The Merchant Navy is a commercial shipping service, where officers oversee the transportation of goods and commodities via sea routes.

How to become a Merchant Navy Officer?

Becoming a Merchant Navy Officer involves acquiring the necessary qualifications, undergoing specific training, and meeting the physical and medical standards set by the industry.

What are the responsibilities of a Merchant Navy Officer?

A Merchant Navy Officer is responsible for overseeing the operations of commercial ships, ensuring the safe and efficient delivery of cargo.

What are the benefits of becoming a Merchant Navy Officer?

A career as a Merchant Navy Officer offers lucrative pay, opportunities to travel worldwide, and a chance to experience life at sea.

What is the process of becoming a Merchant Navy Officer in India?

The process involves acquiring the necessary educational qualifications, clearing the entrance exams, undergoing the pre-sea training, and then getting placed on a ship for on-job training.
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