How to Join Merchant Navy?

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It’s a frequently asked question by many people who wish to join “Merchant Navy”. But before going further I suggest you read my previous Blog “What is Merchant Navy?“. So that you’ll get a brief idea about the advantages and disadvantages of joining the merchant navy, what are different departments in the “merchant navy”, What kind of job do each department performs… Now coming to the actual topic, “How to Join Merchant Navy”?.
                    There are various ways to join the merchant navy. Based on your qualification, financial condition, and interest you can choose anyone. As I mentioned in the previous blog, there are two major departments in the merchant navy,
  1. Deck Department.
  2. Engine Department.
Apart from these two major departments, there are Electrical, Crew, and Catering departments work onboard. To get a clear picture of all this, have a look at the table of people working onboard,

Engine Department

 Deck Department

 Catering Department

 Chief Engineer


 Chief Cook

 Second Engineer

 Chief Officer


 Third Engineer

 Second Officer


 Fourth Engineer

 Third Officer



 Deck Cadet


 Junior ETO



 Engine Cadet

 Ab(Able Boby)(2 or 3)



 OS(Ordinary Seaman)


 Greaser/Oiler(2 or 3)






                                Few of the ranks in the above table may change depending upon your type and size of the ship. 
First I’ll explain the different ways to join major departments, i.e., the Engine and Deck Department.
Engine Department:

There are three ways to join the Engine Department,
  1. Course Name: B.Tech in Marine Engineering 
    • Duration: 4 years.
    • Eligibility: 
      • At least 60 % in 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry, Maths Combination.
      • At least 50% in English either 10th or 12th.
    • Age Limit: Minimum 17 years.
  2. Course Name: GME(Graduate Marine Engineers)
    • Duration: 1 year.
    • Eligibility: B.E/B.Tech in Mechanical/Marine/Automobile Engineering with at least 60% aggregate.
    • Age Limit: Max 28 years. 
  3. Course Name: DME(Diploma in Marine Engineering)
    • Duration: 2 years.
    • Eligibility: Diploma in Mechanical/Automobile Engineering with at least 60% aggregate.
    • Age limit: Max 28 years.  

Deck Department:

There are two ways to join the Deck department,
  1. Course Name: BSc in Nautical Science
    • Duration: 3 years.
    • Eligibility: 
      • At least 60 % in 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry, Maths Combination.
      • At least 50% in English either 10th or 12th.
  2. Course Name: DNS(Diploma in Nautical Science)
    • Duration: 1 year.
    • Eligibility: 
      • At least 60 % in 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry, Maths Combination.           


      • B.Sc in Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry or B.Sc Electronics with Physics as individual subject in one of the years with an average not less than 55% of marks in the final year                                                                (OR)                 
      • B.E./B. Tech from IIT or the college recognized by AICTE with an average of not less than 50% of aggregate in the final year
      • And Minimum 50% marks in Engish either 10th or 12th.
Electrical Department:
  • Course Name: ETO
  • Duration: 4 months.
  • Eligibility: B.E or in Electrical Engineering with an aggregate of not less than 50%.

For all of the above courses except GME and ETO, there are two ways to approach the colleges. Either through CET(common entrance test) conducted by IMU(Indian Maritime University) or by approaching the colleges directly. Similar to other general courses, you’ll get a discount on fees and seat in good college if you clear the CET. It follows counseling and many other procedures. For more details and notification about CET, please visit ( IMU website). 

                                                   For GME and ETO you have to approach the colleges directly. Dgshipping permits limited colleges to offer the courses mentioned above. For more details about the colleges which are offering all of the above courses, please visit (dgshipping website).

These are the ways to join Merchant Navy either as an Officer or as an Engineer. These courses obviously do cost a bit high. But for those who can’t afford such amount but still have the dream to work onboard, there are GP Rating Courses. After persuing the courses you’ll get chances to work either with deck or engine side depending upon your interest. I personally suggest this approach for the people who can’t afford their higher education after class 10th, and who don’t want to work for ‘low-pay high-work‘ type jobs. There are options to promote yourself to officer’s or engineer’s rank. You need a bit more experience to qualify for those regulations. 

  1. Course Name: Pre-sea course for General Purpose Rating
    • Course Duration: 6 Months
    • Minimum Academic Qualification: 10th with at least 40% marks. And at least 40% in English
    •  Age limit: Between 17.5 to 25 years.
  2. Course Name: Pre-Sea Course for General Purpose Rating for Fitters/Petty Officers.
    • Course Duration: 6 Month 
    • Minimum Academic Qualification: I.T.I  with minimum 50% marks in final year and at least 40% marks in English Either 10th or 12th.
    • Age limit: Between 17.5 to 25 years.

Medical Fitness: Candidate for admission to marine courses (DG, Shipping-approved courses) are required to produce a certificate of medical fitness by authorities authorized by the Director-General of Shipping.

EyesightCandidates’ vision should be 6/6 (normal) in each eye separately, Medically fit including eyesight and hearing as prescribed in the Merchant Shipping (Medical Examination) Rules, 2000; as amended. Color Blindness not allowed.

The last department I have left to mention is the Catering Department. To join the catering department, you have to do Certification Courses from DG approved colleges. The course duration is of 6 months. You can have a look at colleges providing certification courses for the catering department here. Don’t ignore this department, they do get paid a nice sum. 

In this article, I have given you brief details of all the ways to join the “Merchant Navy”. These are the ways you have to follow if you want to work on board ship. But there are a number of various courses in the “Merchant Navy” if you want to work offshore. But most of the people choose merchant navy to work at sea. So I am not explaining about other courses by which you can work offshore.

In the next blog, I’ll share my views, opinions, and personal experience about the best and safest way to join the “Merchant Navy”. Don’t miss reading the next article, since you’re are spending a huge amount of money on the courses, You must be safe and secure about the probability of getting the job too. Otherwise, you’ll end up searching for the job for a long time.

Read my previous blog here,

What is Merchant navy? Advantages and Disadvantages of Merchant Navy?




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