Merchant Navy

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Jul 13, 2023 10:08AM IST

Merchant Navy Course Overview

Merchant Navy is a shipping sector and is in charge of transporting freight and passengers along marine routes. Candidates can pursue Merchant Navy courses after completing their Class 10+2 and apply for bachelor's degrees like B Tech marine, B Tech naval architecture, ocean engineering, BBA in shipping, etc. Candidates also pursue Pre-sea Nautical diploma courses after Class 10th. Admission to merchant navy courses is done on the basis of merit basis via entrance exams like IMU CET, JEE Main, TMI-BITS-EE, etc.  In the merchant navy syllabus candidates are taught about shipping management, cargo machine and marine communication, and principles of navigation. 

By pursuing this course you can find employment opportunities in companies like the shipping corporation of India, great eastern shipping and essar, chowgule shipping, etc. The average merchant navy salary in India is around INR 4.5 LPA to INR 5.5 LPA for freshers and 37 LPA for experienced. The merchant navy courses are available in offline and offline modes. Some of the top merchant navy colleges in India are Tolani Maritime Institute, Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies, Vels Academy of Maritime Studies, etc. The average merchant navy fees in India is around INR 2.5 LPA average. 

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Merchant Navy Course Highlights

The Merchant Navy course is pursued by those who are interested in working on ships and want to travel via ocean. A candidate who enrolls in a merchant navy course will learn about a specialization that helps them comprehend how a ship's fundamental workings operate. If you are planning to pursue this course and make a career in a merchant navy, go through the highlights table given below to get important details of this course.

Profession Merchant Navy
Industry Maritime industry
Merchant Navy Course EligibilityCandidate should have passed class 12th with physics, chemistry, and mathematics as a compulsory subject.
Merchant Navy Entrance examIndian Maritime University Common Entrance Test (IMU CET), JEE Advanced, All India Merchant Navy Entrance Test (AIMNET)
Merchant Navy Age limit 
  • Minimum: 17 years
  • Maximum: 25 years
  • B.Tech Marine Engineering
  • B.Tech Ship Building
  • Diploma in Nautical science
Merchant Navy Top colleges in India
  • Tolani Maritime Institute (TMI)
  • Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies
  • International Maritime Institute (IMI)
  • Chennai School of Ship Management
  • AMET university
Merchant Navy Top colleges in abroad 
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
  • The University Of New Orleans
Required skillsDecision making, Teamwork, Practical knowledge of physics, chemistry and mathematics, leadership, effective communication
Merchant Navy salary
  • Starting level: INR 4.50 - 5.50 LPA
  • With experience: INR 37 LPA
Top recruiters in IndiaShipping Corporation of India, Essar. Chowgule Shipping, Great Eastern Shipping
Top recruiters in abroadChevron and Mobil of the United States, K-Line, Wallem Ship Management of Hong Kong, Bibby Ship Management

Merchant Navy Courses

There are several merchant navy courses that candidates can pursue from bachelor’s to master's. Students can start with a bachelor’s degree in the merchant navy in there desired specialization and then pursue master’s degree. Following are some of the popular merchant navy courses from which candidates can choose from. 

Course Name
B Tech Marine EngineeringDiploma in Marine Engineering (DME)
BE Mechanical EngineeringG.P Rating
B Tech Naval Architecture and Offshore EngineeringDiploma in Nautical Science (DNS)
B.B.A. Logistics & Supply Chain ManagementHigher National Diploma (Marine Engineering)
Marine Engineering under Alternate Training SchemeBBA Shipping
MBA Shipping & Logistics ManagementHigher National Diploma (Nautical Science)
MBA Shipping FinanceBE Harbour and Ocean Engineering
B Tech Ship BuildingBE Marine Engineering
B Tech Harbour & Ocean EngineeringETO (Electro-Technical Officer)
B.Sc Nautical ScienceElectro-Technical Officer Course
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Why Choose Merchant Navy as a Career?

In today's world, there is a growing demand for Merchant Navy officers. Countries are interfacing with overseas trade in the globalization period, which is largely carried out by shipping corporations. A career as a Merchant Navy officer would provide you with several job prospects both in India and overseas. Check the perks of making a career in a merchant navy given below. 

Earn Handsome Salary

The merchant navy is not a career for everyone and requires dedication. Therefore, professionals who studied the merchant navy course and become e merchant navy officers earn a lucrative salary. An experienced merchant navy officer can earn up to 37 LPA and in addition also gets various tax benefits. 

In-Demand Profession 

Becoming a merchant navy is a very unconventional choice and not everyone studies this course and rather goes after engineering and medicine. Therefore, this field has various career opportunities available that you can take benefit of by studying this course. 

Opportunity to Travel the World

The job profile of the merchant navy includes traveling across the globe. So, if you are someone who wants to experience the world, visit various countries, and explore different cultures and cuisines then the merchant navy is the career for you. 

Get Job Security

As a merchant navy officer, you will be in charge of exporting and importing goods from various countries' borders which ultimately contribute to global trade and country development. Since global trade is an ongoing activity, there is always a need for qualified experts in the merchant marine. Job stability is generally good in this industry, and prospects for advancement are available. 

Contributing to Global Trade

By moving commodities and resources across the world's oceans, the merchant navy plays an important role in promoting global trade. By pursuing a profession in this sector, you become an important component of the global economy, helping to transport commodities and resources that support industries and communities.

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How Many Courses are There in Merchant Navy?

You can join the Merchant Navy after securing a degree that will be beneficial for you. There are a number of Merchant Navy courses for science, commerce, and art background students.  After completing Class 12, you can apply for the following Merchant Navy courses- 

Merchant Navy Courses & Duration

Courses Duration 
BBA Logistics & Supply Chain Management3 years
B Sc Nautical Science3 years
B E Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering4 years
B E Marine Engineering4 years
B E Harbour & Ocean Engineering4 years
BBA Shipping3 years
B E Mechanical Engineering4 years
B E Civil Engineering4 years
B Sc Marine Catering3 years
B E Petroleum Engineering4 years
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Merchant Navy Subject & Syllabus

Candidates pursuing the Merchant Navy course need to have a good understanding related to a wide range of subjects. The merchant navy sub & syllabus that are covered in the Merchant Navy programs are as follows:

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

Popular Subjects:

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 Training

After completing the respective programmes in the merchant navy, it is mandatory for all candidates to undergo pre-sea training conducted by the Maritime Training Institute. Be it marine engineering or simply a maritime catering programme, all candidates have to undergo this training before they start working as interns on the ship. The duration of the training can vary from six months to one year depending on the programme that the candidate has pursued.

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List of popular Merchant Navy specializations

Apart from getting a degree, there are several Merchant Navy courses and specializations available that you can enroll in. Check the List of popular Merchant Navy courses/specializations given below.

Merchant Navy Specialization



GP Rating course

6 months

Saloon Rating Course

6 months

Deck Rating course

6 months

NCV course

6 months

Engine Rating course

6 months

Diploma in Nautical Science

1 year

STCW Basic Safety Training

5 days

Electro-Technical Officer Course

4 months

Commercial Diving Course

6 months

General Purpose Rating Course

6 months

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Merchant Navy Course Eligibility Criteria

Candidates with a strong passion for marine experiences and a desire to participate in several sea voyages should pursue this career. It iss critical that you don't get seasick because you will go on long sea voyages as a naval merchant officer. It is a fantastic job option in today's world. In addition, you must meet the Merchant Navy qualifying conditions and be physically fit. Check the Merchant Navy eligibility criteria given below. 

Merchant Navy Eligibility Criteria for Bachelor’s Degree

  • Candidates must have completed class 12th with at least 60% marks with physics, chemistry, and mathematics as compulsory subjects. 
  • To fulfill the Merchant Navy age limit for bachelor course candidates must age between 17 to 25 years. 

Merchant Navy Eligibility Criteria for Postgraduate Degree

  • For GME, a candidate must have a B E degree in Naval Architecture or Mechanical Engineering.
  • To pursue an MBA in the Merchant Navy, a candidate must have a bachelor's degree from a recognized university.
  • MBA and GME have maximum age limits of 25 and 28 years, respectively.

Eligibility criteria of Merchant Navy for 6-Months Merchant Navy courses

  • The age should be between 17.5 to 25 years. 
  • Candidates who have passed Class 10 with Science, English and Maths as main subjects and at least 40 per cent marks are considered eligible. 

Eligibility criteria of Merchant Navy for diploma courses

  • Candidates for one-year diploma courses must have completed their 12th-grade exams with PCM and English.
  • Candidates for two-year diploma courses must have a diploma in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Marine Engineering, Electronics Engineering, or Shipbuilding Engineering with a minimum aggregate score of 50%.
  • The age limit of a candidate should be between 25 and 28 years old.

Medical fitness for Merchant Navy

  • Candidates must have normal vision (6/6) in both eyes and medically fit hearing capabilities.
  • Candidates should hold relevant physical fitness certificates. 
  • Candidates applying for any of the Merchant Navy courses must meet the medical fitness requirements. 
  • Candidates must be medically fit including hearing and eyesight. 
  • They must have normal vision (6/6) in each eye separately. 
  • It is required that the candidates produce a certificate for medical fitness by authorized authorities

Are tattoos allowed in the Merchant Navy?

Tattoos and piercings are not prohibited in the Merchant Navy field. Sailors, in fact, are the forefathers of nautical tattoo culture. The maritime academies, on the other hand, have strict disciplinary requirements and demand officers to have certain attributes. Therefore, if a candidate has unusual piercings and tattoos it may be seen as objectionable

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Merchant Navy Types

Merchant Navy officers are classified into many kinds. Engineering officers and deck officers are the two main categories of Merchant Navy officers. Go through the details about these positions given below.

  • Engineering Officer: An engineering officer is in charge of maintaining the ship's or cruise ship's machinery. They oversee the propulsion, fuel, and waste systems. An engineering officer is in charge of a ship's whole machinery
  • Deck officer: A deck officer is in charge of the ship's steering and manoeuvring, as well as navigation and communications. A deck officer's role aboard a cargo ship is crucial since he or she is in charge of ship navigation, cargo handling, strategic and safe management, and delivery, as well as the maintenance of any potentially life-saving equipment.
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Difference Between Merchant Navy and Indian Navy

Many candidates while selecting a career as a Merchant Navy officer get confused with the Indian navy. There is a vast difference between these two professions. The Merchant Navy officer's job profile revolves around commercial journey import-export of goods through sea shipments, Whereas the Indian navy officer is on national duty to protect the nation from seaside from enemies. 

To get a clear idea go through the table given below that differentiate between the Merchant Navy and the Indian navy. 

Difference between Merchant Navy and Indian Navy

Factor Merchant Navy Indian navy
MeaningMerchant Navy refers to commercial marine services, Such commercial activities include both cargo and people shipping to and from various locations around the world. Defense Navy refers to a country's naval military wing. A career in the defense navy would entail serving the country by serving on warships.
Eligibility Candidates must have a minimum of 60% aggregate in Class 10 and 12, as well as a minimum of 60% in English in Class 10 or 12.Candidate should have at least a 60% in Science (Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics) in your 12th grade. The candidate should also have a minimum of 50% in English and must be unmarried at the time of application.
PayscaleThe pay scales in the navy merchant are determined by international institutions such as  the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and International Labour Organization (ILO). The pay scale in the Indian navy is determined by the candidate's position and total work experience. Adding to that, the pay scale is set as per the country's laws and varies with countries. 

Also read: Indian navy posts for class 10 and class 12

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How to Become Merchant Navy: Admission Process

After passing class 10 exams and finishing a Pre-sea Nautical diploma program, candidates can join any company associated with merchant navy. If you complete your basic bachelor's degree or course in Merchant Navy you easily find employment through various consultants and placement agencies. Along with the Merchant Navy qualifications, candidates should also be physically fit.  Go through the points given below to learn how to become a merchant navy. 

How to become Merchant Navy: Admission Process

Step 1: Pass Class 10 and Class 12

Candidates need to clear Class 10 and Class 12 from a recognized board with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics with minimum marks to sit for an entrance exam or take admission in a Merchant Navy short-term course. 

Step 2: Sit for a Merchant Navy entrance exam

If you want to get a well-recognized degree in the Merchant Navy, you need to pass entrance exams. Many colleges and universities offer admission to candidates based on a 12th-grade passing percentage cut-off. The entrance exam for Merchant Navy are-

Exam Name
TMI-BITS-EE: Tolani Maritime Institute- Birla Institute of Technology and Science Entrance ExaminationIMU-CET: Indian Maritime University Common Entrance Test
JEE Mains: Joint Entrance Examination MainJEE Advanced: Joint Entrance Examination Advanced
HIMT-OET: Hindustan Institute of Maritime Online Entrance Test

Step 3: Pursue Merchant Navy bachelors program 

To pursue a  successful career in the Merchant Navy, one must first complete a bachelor's degree program in a related specialization. The duration of a Merchant Navy bachelor's program varies from 3 years to 4 years. Some of the Merchant Navy bachelors programs that you can enroll in are

BTech & BE Courses
B Tech in marine engineeringB tech in civil engineering
B E in offshore engineeringB E in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering

Step 4: Enroll in Merchant Navy masters program 

If the candidate has completed his bachelor's degree, they can apply for a job directly or pursue masters if they want. Some of the master's programs for the Merchant Navy are

MTech & ME Courses
M Tech in naval architecture M E in offshore engineering
M Tech in Dredging and Harbour EngineeringM E in naval engineering
M Tech in marine engineeringM E in marine engineering

 Lateral Admission in Merchant Navy

Lateral Entry (LE) into the second year of Marine Engineering Direct Admission is also available for marine design projects approved by the Directorate General of Shipping. There are two methods for ensuring LE places in Marine Engineering programmes:

  • Having finished the first year of Mechanical or Electrical Engineering.
  • A diploma in comparable engineering courses with a minimum score of around 60% is required.

Admission in merchant navy Through Sponsorship

Students who apply to well-known institutes for marine studies may be eligible for sponsored admission to Merchant Navy courses. They can seek support from large maritime groups. If these organizations recognize potential in students, they will support their education as well as their participation in the shipper naval force.

Also Check - How to Join Merchant Navy After 10th, 12th in India 2023?

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How to Join Merchant Navy After Class 10th?

If you want to join the merchant navy early after completing Class 10th only, then you must have passed high school with 40%. Admission is determined by a series of tests and evaluations. First, the candidate must pass one exam, which is followed by a screening test and a written examination. After completing Class 10th, a candidate must study one of the following merchant navy courses

  • Deck Rating Course
  • Engine Rating Course
  • NCV Course
  • Diploma in Marine Engineering (follow it up with DME pre-sea training).
  • Saloon Rating Course
  • GP Rating Course

Career Path to Becoming Merchant Navy After 10th

The complete guide on how to join the merchant navy after Class 10th has been given below. 

Step 1: After graduation from high school, a person can choose a career route that begins with six months of pre-sea training. 

Step 2: Then join the commercial fleet as a trainee. 

Step 3: After that, aim for the rank of able-bodied seaman. 

Step 4: Following that, strive to get promoted to bosun after passing the COC test. 

Step 5: Following that, applicants are prepared to become the ship's captain, chief officer, and second officer, and eventually attempt to pass the DG shipping tests and become deck officers.

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How to Join Merchant Navy in India Afte 12th Class?

If your goal is to become a merchant navy in India it's important that you have a set plan from Class 12th only. Go through the details given below to understand how to join the merchant navy in India

Step 1: To join the merchant navy in India, applicants must have a minimum of 60% or comparable CGPA in their class 12 board exams, as well as a required academic mix of Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.

Step 2: Students can then apply for and pass the JEE and IMU CET merchant navy entrance exams, which are followed by an interview and a medical exam.

Step 3: Applicants must then enroll in a BSc nautical science program at one of the nation's top nautical science universities or a related merchant navy course

Step 4: After completing their 18-month cadet aboard training, students must apply for the Indian government's competency exam.

Step 5: Then, a candidate can join as a Third Officer, then submit applications for promotions and rank increases. Candidates can take and successfully pass examinations after they reach the rank of Third Officer.

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Merchant Navy Entrance Exam

There are numerous entrance exams for Merchant Navy courses available in India. In order to get admission to a top Merchant Navy college in India, candidates are required to pass the entrance exam of that particular college. The basic eligibility requirement for these Merchant Navy entrance exams, you need to pass Class 10+ 12 from a recognized institution with a minimum of 50% marks. 

Check the list of popular merchant navy entrance exams given below. 

Merchant Navy Entrance Exams


The Indian Maritime University administers the Indian Maritime University Common Entrance Test (IMUCET) for admission to undergraduate and postgraduate marine courses. It takes place in May, and registration opens at the end of March. Only unmarried candidates are permitted to take the exam.


All India Merchant Navy Entrance Test (AIMENT) is administered by the AIMNET Examination Board, which is overseen by the Offshore Shipping Academy. For admission to, B Tech Naval Architecture,  B Sc Nautical Science, G P Ratings,  Diploma of Applied Science (deck watchkeeper) by AMSA, B Tech Marine, and MBA (Shipping and Logistic Management) programs, this Merchant Navy entrance exam is held. This academy has been approved by the Government of India's Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

JEE Advanced

Candidates who wish to apply for technical courses in order to join the Merchant Navy should apply for JEE Advanced exam. To be eligible for JEE Advanced candidates should clear JEE Main. 

Other Merchant Navy entrance exams that candidates can take after graduating from high school include the MERI Entrance Exam and the TMISAT Entrance Exam.

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Popular Merchant Navy Colleges in India

Merchant Navy colleges are located throughout the country and are designed to provide training to those interested in joining this non-combatant commercial force. Some of the top Merchant Navy colleges in India 2022 are listed below. The Directorate of Shipping has accredited these colleges, and the Ministry of Surface Transport of the Government of India has approved them for personnel training. 

List of top 10 Merchant Navy colleges in India



Maharashtra Academy of Naval Education and Training (MANET)


Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies


Tolani Maritime Institute (TMI)


International Maritime Institute (IMI) 


Vels Academy of Maritime Studies


B.P. Marine Academy Navi


Coimbatore Marine College (CMC)


Institute of Technology & Marine Engineering (ITME)


Indian Maritime University (IMU)


TS Rahaman


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Study Merchant Navy Abroad

Opting for a Merchant Navy officer as a career is not only a prospect in India but abroad as well. There are many jobs available internationally for Merchant Navy officer positions. So, if you opt to study Merchant Navy abroad, it will be fruitful for you.  By studying Merchant Navy abroad you will get a variety of courses and specialization options, that might not be available in India.  

Adding to that, International companies that operate merchant ships need to train personnel to operate and maintain the ships. As a result, you get job options abroad also as a Merchant Navy officer. 

Some of the international shipping companies that might offer you a job if you are eligible to their set criteria are: 

  • Chevron and Mobil of the United States
  • Wallem Ship Management of Hong Kong
  • K-Line
  • Bibby Ship Management
  • d'Amico

Top Merchant Navy Colleges Abroad

There are various specialized Merchant Navy courses available at top universities all over the world. Here is a list of top Merchant Navy colleges abroad that will offer you a dignified degree and a respectable job. 

Edith Cowan UniversityAustralia
The University of StrathclydeUK
The University of New OrleansUS
Aarhus University, School Of Marine And Technical EngineeringDenmark
Griffith UniversityAustralia
Hiroshima National College Of Maritime TechnologyJapan
British Columbia Institute Of Technology, Pacific Marine Training CampusCanada
Australian Maritime CollegeAustralia
Fleetwood Nautical CollegeUK
Manukau Institute of TechnologyAustralia 
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What is Merchant Navy Course Fee in India?

India has a number of top colleges for Merchant Navy programmes. The Merchant Navy fees in India varies depending upon various factors like the college you are opting for, the program, duration, etc. To get a clear idea about the Merchant Navy course fee in India go through the data given below.  

Merchant Navy Fees

College Name Merchant Navy Fee (Approx Average)
Vels Academy of Maritime Studies Chennai
  • B E Marine Engineering: INR 10,00,000
  • B Sc Nautical Science: INR 8,00,000
  • GME:  INR 3,00,000
  • DME: INR 3,00,000
Samundra Institutes of Maritime Studies
  • B.Tech. in Marine Engineering: INR 15 Lakh
  • Graduate Marine Engineering (GME): INR 5 Lakh
  • B.Sc. in Nautical Science: INR 12 Lakh
Institute of Technology & Marine Engineering (ITME) Kolkata
  • B.Tech in Marine Engineering: INR 3 Lakh
  • B.Tech in Nautical Science: INR 2 Lakh 
Tolani Maritime Institute
  • B.Tech Nautical Technology: INR 13,00,000
  • B.Tech Marine Engineering: INR14,30,000
Maharashtra Academy of Naval Education And Training (MANET) Pune
  • B.Sc. (Nautical Science): INR 9,00,000
  • B.Tech (Marine Engineering): INR 13,00,000
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Required Skill Set for Merchant Navy

Apart from academic and physician qualification, a candidate should pertain certain interpersonal skills that will make him or her efficient in their job. Following are the skills that a candidate must have in order to become a successful Merchant Navy officer-

  • Strong physical strength: The job profile of a Merchant Navy officer involves traveling in the ocean and seas for a long period. A Merchant Navy officer should be physically strong and fit so they can sustain themselves in the sea and not get affected by seasickness
  • Mental ability: One journey in the Merchant Navy can go long without ever seeing land. This can have a negative impact on those who are not mentally strong enough. As a result, a Merchant Navy officer must be mentally strong 
  • Leadership and decision making: One must possess good leadership qualities as a time will come when you will be in charge and crew members will look up to you for major and effective decisions. With the leadership quality, you will be able to manage your job responsibilities and crew members well 

Aside from these qualifications, candidates should have a strong passion for sailing, patience, problem-solving abilities, logical and analytical thinking, and practical understanding of physics, chemistry, and mathematics.

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Merchant Navy Salary: Post Wise

Merchant Navy is one of the highest paying careers in India as well as abroad. Sailors are paid excellent packages as working on a ship is considered to be a difficult job. There are numerous career opportunities in this field and salaries vary depending on the post of the candidates. Merchant Navy salary in India varies depending on their position in the company's hierarchy. Usually, Naval Officers are paid six figure packages. The merchant navy salary in India for freshers is around INR 4.5 LPA to INR 5.5 LPA on average. Once, a candidate can experience the merchant navy salary can hike up to INR 37 LPA on average.  

Let's look at the Merchant Navy salary after Class 10 and Class 12. 

Merchant Navy Salary in India After Class 10

Beginnings of the Merchant Navy salary after class 10th varies between INR 25,000 and INR 30,000, and it is subject to change based on examinations and achievements.

Merchant Navy Salary in India After Class 12

The Merchant Navy Salary in India after 12th class is INR 25,000 per month minimum, and the highest salary is INR 10 lakhs per month. 

Following is the salary scope after pursuing a career in merchant navy:

ProfileQualificationField RequisiteAverage Merchant Navy Salary (approx.)
G P RatingClass 104 + 2 months of pre-sea courseRs. 25,000 to 60,000 per month
Trainee CadetClass 12 along with pre-sea Nautical Diploma1 year pre-sea courseRs. 25,000 to 85,000 per month
Deck CadetClass 12 along with pre-sea Nautical Diploma18 months of service at sea as deck cadetRs. 25,000 to 85,000 per month
3rd Officer/ 2ndOfficer2nd Mate (FG) Certificate of Competency18 months of service at sea as 2nd or 3rdofficerRs. 1,50,000 to 3,00,000 per month
Chief Officer1st Mate (FG) Certificate of Competency18 months of service at sea as chief officerRs. 4,00,000 to 6,00,000 per month
CaptainMaster (FG) Certificate of Competency4 to 5 years of experience in the industryRs. 8,65,000 to 20,00,000 per month

Sailors serving in the merchant navy get tax-free salaries if they spend 183 days of a year in international waters else the salary is taxable as per the laws of the Government of India.

Merchant Navy, being a field that requires exhaustive traveling, there are well paying off-shore options as well that one can look into after taking early retirement from the job or on completion of the contract.

Also read: how to get into the Merchant Navy and find career prospects' salaries

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Merchant Navy Career Options & Job Prospect

The Merchant Navy is a worldwide business that offers some of the most exciting career options on a variety of ships. In the Merchant Navy career, the major role in your physical strength. There are three departments in the Merchant Navy from which you can choose from

  1. Deck Department
  2. Engine Department
  3. Crew Rating

Career in Merchant Navy engine department 

To work in the engine department, you will need to enrol in a marine engineering course, which can be a four-year degree program or a two-year diploma program.  After completing the relevant courses and training, you can become a marine engineer if you are a mechanical engineer (Graduate Mechanical Engineering or GME course).

After completing one year of mechanical engineering or an equivalent programme, you can enrol in a maritime engineering programme. (The availability of this service will be determined by your country of residence.)

After finishing your marine engineering degree, you will join a ship as a Trainee/Fifth engineer and progress through the ranks.

Career in Merchant Navy deck department 

After finishing the nautical science course, you will join a ship as a trainee/deck cadet and progress through the ranks.

If you have an electrical or electronic background, you can also join a ship as an ETO (electro-technical officer). Pre-sea training will be needed of you, followed by mandatory aboard instruction.

Career in Merchant Navy rating department

A ship requires supporting personnel in addition to deck officers and marine engineers to help the officers and perform several other critical responsibilities. Merchant Navy ratings come under such departments. The job options for ratings under the engine, deck department is as follows-

Ratings under the engine department 

  • Wiper
  • Fitter
  • Motorman
  • Ratings under the deck department 
  • Ordinary Seaman (OS)
  • Able Seaman (AB)
  • Bosun
  • Fitter

Apart from the above-given job options, you can also join the saloon department of the ship. The post available under saloon departments are the steward and chief cook. 

What to choose between deck and engine department?

In the Merchant Navy field, there are basically two departments one can choose from. You can decide between them by your liking, the job profile you feel will suit you, and the skills you have. 

If you want to opt for the engineering department, be prepared to do a lot of work with your hands, regardless of your status. Because the number of marine engineers on board is limited, they must undertake many tasks on their own, often without support. The engine department's maritime specialists are in charge of maintaining and running machinery on ships, both in the engine room and on deck.

Similarly, if you want to opt for the deck department, you will be in charge of navigation, cargo operations, and other deck responsibilities. Because a deck officer's main responsibilities will include navigating the ship and managing cargo operations, expect to spend long hours both at sea and on land. 

Also Read- Merchant Navy Salary after 10th & 12th for all Officer Posts in India 2023

Types of Ships Merchant Navy Work On

Professionals in the Merchant Navy work mostly on cargo ships and commercial vessels. The types of ships Merchant Navy work on are:

  • Tanker ships
  • Passenger ships
  • Cruise ships
  • Container ships
  • Bulk carriers
  • Offshore vessels
  • Ro-R0 ships (Roll-On Roll-Off vessels)
  • Ferries

Also read:  Indian navy B Tech admission

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Merchant Navy Career Path Progression

There are several job opportunities accessible in the marine industry, and the compensation of a navy merchant varies based on the position held by the applicants. Merchant Navy officers are often hired by commercial shipping companies to serve aboard seagoing vessels such as cargo ships, tankers, cruise liners, and hovercraft. Candidates begin as trainees or Deck Cadets. The Merchant Navy also has Captains, 2nd/3rd Officers, and Chief Officers.


  • Third Officer: The third officer is the most junior member of the navigation crew and is in charge of the ship's safety. The job profile of a third officer in the navy merchant is in charge of reading navigational charts and monitoring shipping activity
  • Second Officer: A second officer serves as the ship's navigational officer and, in rare situations, as the ship's medical officer
  • Chief Officer: A chief officer is usually a watchstander who is in control of the cargo and crew of the ship. A chief officer is also in charge of cargo/storage operations, safety, the environment, and quality assurance, among other things
  • Captain of the Ship: The captain of the ship is in control of the ship as a whole. The captain is ultimately in charge of the ship and its cargo, ensuring that it is delivered safely and without mishap


  • Fourth Engineer: The fourth engineer's responsibilities include keeping track of the machinery in operation and doing maintenance
  • Third Engineer:  A third engineer does maintenance on the ship and prepares it for arrival at a port on occasion
  • Second Engineer: The major responsibility of a second engineer is to schedule and supervise maintenance in the engine room. The second engineer is also in charge of the engine room staff in addition to assisting the chief engineer
  • The chief engineer: The chief is in charge of the engineering department as a whole. The project designs are approved by a chief engineer. A chief engineer also creates projects that are cost-effective. The chief engineer also sets project budgets, assigns resources, directs the engineering team, and oversees new recruit training
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What is the Role of a Merchant Navy officer?

In a merchant navy profession, an employee is responsible for ensuring that everyone onboard follows strict health and safety requirements, as well as monitoring and maintaining life-saving equipment such as fire fighting equipment and life-saving boats. The Merchant Navy role is to monitor the ship's whole machinery for daily usage, as well as examine the mechanical and electrical equipment on board for proper operation.

  • Merchant Navy officers are in charge of the care and safety of passengers (if you work on a ferry/cruise ship), ship communication systems, and legal and operational records such as the ship's log.
  • Management is the process of dealing with or managing goods or humans.
  • Management is also a manufacturing component alongside machinery, equipment, and materials.
  • The Merchant Navy job description includes coordination, which aids in the reduction of conflicts, rivalries, losses, delays, and other challenges within an organization. 
  • This ensures that the organization runs smoothly. 
  • As a result, with the help of team collaboration, a company may achieve its goals quickly and efficiently
  • The Merchant Navy supervises and maintains deck machinery such as winches and cranes, as well as monitors and maintains safety, firefighting, and life-saving equipment and oversees the ship to guarantee the highest levels of health and safety
  • Supervisory tasks often include work planning and scheduling, decision-making, performance and compliance oversight, offering suggestions and team-building, and sustaining organizational performance.
Equipment maintenance
  • As a Merchant Navy officer, you must also run and maintain the ship's mechanical and electrical equipment, manage power production and distribution systems, as well as refrigeration, ventilation, and pumping systems, and carry out regular equipment inspections and maintenance programmes. 
  • The goal of maintenance is to achieve the maximum possible performance and efficiency of the manufacturing process, utilities, and supporting infrastructure at the lowest feasible cost while maintaining adequate quality, safety, and environmental protection.


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Merchant Navy Internships

It is usually beneficial to participate in an internship to gain a better understanding of a career as a Merchant Navy officer. Working for a company or organization will offer you real-world experience, regardless of how much practical learning experience your institution or university provides. 

In the case of a Merchant Navy officer, internships are required. During this time, you will learn everything that is expected in the field and has the chance to polish your talents. Because there is such a large gap between theory and practice, internships are required. Internships are a great method to get experience. You can apply for Merchant Navy internship programs by going through the internet and searching for them. Many government and private shipment companies officers internship programs for the Merchant Navy.

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Merchant Navy Life Style, Working Environment & Uniform

Merchant Navy workers live a lifestyle that is significantly different from landlubbers due to the nature of their work. The Merchant Navy job isn't your typical 9-to-5 job. Working as a Merchant Navy professional entails working a four-hour ship twice a day, in addition to overtime.

A contract with a shipping firm is common for navy merchant professionals. Depending on the rank and type of ship, the contract of a Merchant Navy officer can last anywhere from 4 to 9 months.

You will be invited to board the ship from a convenient port along the ship's sailing route after signing a contract with the shipping business. The majority of the time, you will fly to the concerned port to board the vessel (all expenditures are covered by the shipping firm).

Overall, the Merchant Navy lifestyle is lavish but at the same time different from other kinds of jobs. If you are fine with living an adventurous life as a Merchant Navy, it is the best-suited option for you as a career. 

Merchant Navy Uniform

The Merchant Navy uniform is, without a doubt, a source of great pride, and maritime personnel is required to keep it up to date and tidy at all times. Officers in the Merchant Navy often wear a white shirt and black pants, with epaulets depending on the ship's rank. During cold weather, the outfit is worn with black formal shoes and a pullover or hoodie. The P-cap is a black hood with a white top that has an anchor symbol on it.

When working on ships, however, the crew typically wears a boiler suit as well as personal protection equipment (PPE). Personal protection equipment (PPE) will vary depending on the type of ship and the sort of job to be done. Officers are required to wear the uniform when on the bridge, in the mess room, or when the captain requests it.

We hope you find this article on the Merchant Navy helpful and informative. Stay tuned to CollegeDekho to get more details. 

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FAQs about Merchant Navy

What is a Merchant Navy?

A Merchant Navy officer is a person who works in a shipment company and overlooks the imports and exports of goods by being a part of a shipping journey, His responsibilities include looking after the cargo shipments, leading the shipment journey, and taking effective decisions, checking weather conditions, etc.

What is Merchant Navy qualifications?

Candidates should have passed class 12 with physics, chemistry, and mathematics with a minimum of 60% marks. Candidates can also complete a bachelor's degree like B Tech in marine engineering, and BBA in shipping and join the Merchant Navy.

Can I do Merchant Navy after class 10th?

Yes, you can join the Merchant Navy after passing class 10th with physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics and completing a required diploma program like the Pre-sea Nautical diploma program.

Is Merchant Navy a good career?

Yes, Merchant Navy is a good career option as you get handsome salary packages and a lifestyle that involves traveling through different countries. 


How do I join Merchant Navy?

You should pass class 12th with physics, chemistry, and mathematics as compulsory subjects with a minimum of 60% marks and be unmarried at the time of joining.

What is the age limit for a Merchant Navy?

The Merchant Navy age limit is from 17 years to 25 years.

Can a girl become Merchant Navy?

Yes, girls can also become Merchant Navy.

Does Merchant Navy get pension?

No, currently there is no pension scheme for the Merchant Navy.

Who are the top recruiters of the Merchant Navy?

Some of the top recruiters who hire the candidates concluding the Merchant Navy course have been listed in the following pointers:
The Shipping Corporation of India Ltd
Essar Shipping Ltd,
The Great Eastern Shipping Companies
Bharati Shipyard, Mercator Ltd
Gujarat Pipavav, Evergreen Marine Corporation

What are the required skill sets in order to succeed in a career in Merchant Navy?

Candidates who want to succeed in a merchant navy course will have to excel in skill sets that include the willingness to take up short-term courses, ready for any emergency, mental strength to fight homesickness, energetic personality, desire to travel, adventure, and adapting to sea life.

What are the medical fitness requirements in the merchant navy?

General medical fitness requirements in the merchant navy are (a) They must have normal vision (6/6) in each eye separately, (b) The candidates must be medically fit including hearing and eyesight, (c ) It is required that the aspirant produce a certificate for medical fitness by authorized authorities.

What are the job profiles offered to the candidates concluding merchant navy?

The job profiles offered to the candidates completing merchant navy course are Deck officer (navigation officer), Electro-technical officer (ETO), Engineer, Ratings, Catering & hospitality crew (pursers, stewards, chef, housekeeper, etc.)

What is the lowest salary in Merchant Navy?

The lowest salary in merchant navy is around INR 25,000 to INR 60,000.

Is Merchant Navy exam difficult?

The difficulty level of exams for the Merchant Navy depends on the position and job role for which one is applying. For entry-level positions, the exams are generally based on the 10+2 curriculum and may test the candidates' knowledge. However, for officer-level positions, the exams are more specialized and may test the candidates' knowledge of marine engineering, navigation, and related fields.

What does the Merchant Navy do?

The Merchant Navy is responsible for transporting goods and cargo via commercial ships. The Merchant Navy is also responsible for maintaining and operating the ships, ensuring their safety and efficiency, and complying with national and international regulations.

What is the qualification for Merchant Navy?

The qualification for Merchant Navy varies depending on the position or job role within the industry. Generally, for entry-level positions, candidates must have completed their 10+2 education with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics as compulsory subjects. They must also meet the age and health requirements set by the industry.

What is Merchant Navy salary?

The merchant navy salary at starting level is INR 4.50 - 5.50 LPA and for an experienced person is  INR 37 LPA.

Is Merchant Navy A rich job?

Yes, the merchant navy is a rich job as it offers handsome salary packages, numerous career options, and opportunities to travel the world.

What is a qualification for Merchant Navy?

A candidate must have completed a Class 10+2 or equivalent examination from a recognized board with physics, chemistry, and math with an aggregate score of 50% or above.

What is Merchant Navy salary in India?

The average merchant navy salary in India for freshers is around INR 4.5 LPA to INR 5.5 LPA. Once candidates gain experience the average merchant navy salary can hike up to INR 37 LPA or even more.

What does the Merchant Navy do?

The merchant navy job is to move products from one location to another. It is the most important component of the global economy. Ships deliver more than 90% of all products throughout the world.


Is Merchant Navy a government job or a private job?

The merchant navy is both a government and private sector employment. If you work for the Shipping Corporation of India, then you are a government employee. Aside from SCI, the vast majority of other enterprises in this industry are privately held like Great Eastern Shipping, Essar, etc. 


What is the Merchant Navy course?

There are various bachelor's and master's courses for the merchant navy. You can pursue an undergraduate degree after Class 10+2 like B.Tech Marine Engineering, B.Tech Ship Building, B.E. Mechanical Engineering, BBA Shipping, etc. 


Is the Merchant Navy course difficult to pursue?

Candidates must pass particular examinations in order to receive sponsorship and clear pre-sea training. When compared to other fields' tests, the difficulty level is quite low. After starting onboard training, sailors must receive certifications in watchkeeping, COC, and so forth.


Is Merchant Navy a temporary job?

The merchant navy job is neither permanent nor temporary, as the majority of shipping businesses operate on a contract basis. However, your job type depends on your employer's contract and conditions. 


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Related Questions


Biswajit Chakra, Student / Alumni

-Answered on Oct-05-2023
Hello Sir/Madam can you please explain what is Electro-Technical Officer Course

Ashfak maksud Miya shaikh, Student / Alumni

-Answered on May-17-2023
Gp rating

Diksha Sharma, Student / Alumni

-Answered on Feb-22-2021

Dear Student,

The age limit for joining the merchant navy after completing B.Tech Mechanical is 28 years. You can also read the following articles to learn more:

Merchant Navy Course Details

How to Become a Chief Officer in Merchant Navy: Eligibility, Job Roles, Salary, Top Colleges

You can also fill the Common Application Form on our website for admission-related assistance. You can also reach us through our IVRS Number - 1800-572-9877.

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