Merchant Navy - Course Overview

Duration: 4.5 yrs | Mode: Regular| Avg. Fees: 10,00,000 / Year


About Merchant Navy

Merchant Navy can be the best field for those candidates who want to earn big and traveling through oceans for months does not bother you. Merchant navy is a fleet of ships that is responsible for transporting heavy goods from one country to another. It is one of the essential parts of international trade as most of the import and export is done through ships.

A career in Merchant Navy can be most beneficial if you are looking for lucrative jobs. This field can be joined through different courses depending on the preference of the candidate. There are three modes of entry into the field varying depending on the courses that one seeks. Candidates can join Merchant Navy at any level starting after class 10 to graduation.

Fields in Merchant Navy:

  • B.Tech Marine Engineering
  • B.Sc Nautical Science
  • B.Tech Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering
  • B.Tech Harbour & Ocean Engineering
  • B.Tech Ship Building
  • Marine Catering
  • Electro Technical Officer Course

Merchant Navy Eligiblity Criteria

  • Minimum Qualification Required: 10+2 (Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry)
  • Minimum Marks Required: 55% to 70% (varies from college to college)

Merchant Navy Admission Process:

Entry to different programmes leading to a career in merchant navy is done mostly on the basis of entrance exams. However, there are other procedures for different entry levels. Check details below:

1. Admission through Entrance Exams and Merit:

If you want to apply for technical courses for entering Merchant Navy, then you will have to appear for entrance exams. Exams are conducted for admission to marine engineering programmes after class 12. Following are some popular exams:

  • JEE Advanced
  • MERI Entrance Exam

However, there are a few colleges that also take students on the basis of marks secured in class 12.

2. Sponsorship Based Entry:

  • Entry is also possible if you apply to either of the popular maritime institutes for maritime programmes. You can apply for sponsorships at the institutes started by shipping companies to train potential candidates for the merchant navy.
  • The sponsorship to go on a ship will be provided to you by the company through which you apply only if you have completed a course at their institute. You can also apply for multiple sponsorships at different companies.

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

  • Direct Admission can also be taken 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:
  • After completing the first year of engineering from electrical or mechanical branch with minimum 60% and
  • Pursuing a diploma in electrical, mechanical, marine or ship-building engineering with minimum 60% aggregate marks

Merchant Navy Syllabus

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



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.

Popular Specializations of Merchant Navy

Career Options and Job Prospects

Merchant Navy is one of the most high 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.

Usually, Naval Officers are paid six figure packages. Candidates can apply for these posts by clearing the competency programmes conducted by the Government of India. Following is the salary scope after pursuing a career in merchant navy:



Field Requisite

Average Salary (approx.)

G P Rating

Class 10

4 + 2 months of pre-sea course

Rs. 25,000 to 60,000 per month

Trainee Cadet

Class 12 along with pre-sea Nautical Diploma

1 year pre-sea course

Rs. 25,000 to 85,000 per month

Deck Cadet

Class 12 along with pre-sea Nautical Diploma

18 months of service at sea as deck cadet

Rs. 25,000 to 85,000 per month

3rd Officer/ 2ndOfficer

2nd Mate (FG) Certificate of Competency

18 months of service at sea as 2nd or 3rdofficer

Rs. 1,50,000 to 3,00,000 per month

Chief Officer

1st Mate (FG) Certificate of Competency

18 months of service at sea as chief officer

Rs. 4,00,000 to 6,00,000 per month


Master (FG) Certificate of Competency

4 to 5 years of experience in the industry

Rs. 8,65,000 to 20,00,000 per month


Sailors serving in 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 an early retirement from the job or on completion of the contract.