Career in Merchant Navy


Merchant navy is a commercial fleet which includes cargo ships, container ships, barge carrying ships, tankers, bulk carriers, refrigerator ships, passenger ships as well as roll off/roll on ships.

The main officers on the ship are Executives, Navigators and Engineers. Engineers take care of the running of the ship and Executive Officers look after all activities on the deck. In terms of functional hierarchy the officers have ‘ratings’ working under their supervision in each of the three major departments i.e. deck, engine room and catering.


The Captain

  • Is the commander of the ship
  • Navigates the ship, sets the course and the speed
  • Maintains orderliness and discipline
  • Ensures safety of passengers, crew and the cargo
  • Commands maneuvering to avoid hazards
  • Checks the location of the ship’s position using navigational aids
  • Acts as the representative of the ship’s owner
  • Assigns organizational duties for ship’s operation, navigation and maintenance with the chief mate

The chief mate

  • Is the captain’s first assistant and is in charge of all cargo planning and deck work
  • Assists in navigation and management on the ship

The second mate

  • Takes charge of mails
  • Is responsible for maintenance of equipment and charts used for navigation

The Third mate

  • Undertakes maintenance of lifeboats and firefighting equipment
  • Is in charge of all signaling equipment
  • Assists with cargo work
  • Is in charge of the navigating bridge by rotation

Engineering officers

  • The ship’s engineers the job demands practical work, and engineers spend most of the day in boiler suits. Junior officers up to the level of third engineer are mainly working with their hands, and to some extent supervising engine room ratings. Even chief engineers spend about a quarter of their time in practical tasks. The chief engineer is assisted by junior officers.

Chief Engineering Officer

  • Has complete responsibility of the ship’s engine room i.e. the main engine, boilers, pumps, hydraulic and fuel systems and the ships electrical generating plant and distribution system
  • Maintains documents of the working of the machinery as well as the repairs carried out
  • Logs fuel consumption and requirements

Second Engineering Officer

  • Maintains lubricating systems, engine room auxiliaries, and electrical equipment’s

Third Engineering Officer

  • In-charge of fuel and water
  • Supervises tank soundings
  • Logs the consumption of fuel and water
  • Monitors the boiler room equipment

Fourth Engineering Officer

  • Operates and maintains engine room auxiliaries

Electrical Officer

  • Maintains and repairs all electrical circuits and motors

Radio officers


  • Operate, maintain, and repair radio and other electronic communications devices
  • Maintain depth recording equipment and electronic navigational aids such as radar and the long range navigation equipment
  • Receive and record time signals, weather reports, position reports and other data

Steward department

  • The chief steward, along with the chief cook, baker and attendants
  • Maintains the crew’s living quarters and prepares meals
  • Maintains inventories of food stuffs, linen, bedding, furniture etc.
  • Oversees maintenance of living rooms and mess halls
  • Merchant navy rating
  • Ratings work on the deck, in the engine room and in catering

Deck ratings

  • Deck ratings job depends on the type of ship
  • They clean, sweep, chip off rust, polish etc.
  • Maintain the ship and operate loading and unloading
  • Prepare and paint the steel work
  • Clean and inspect holds and tanks of the Cargo ship
  • Look-out and work as helmsmen on the bridge
  • When on ports they assist in the mooring of the ship, prepare cargo operations and take on board of stores, as well as in fire and security patrols

Engine room-rating

  • Carry out day-to-day cleaning of the engine room and the routine oiling, greasing and servicing of machinery
  • Help officers to monitor and ensure the safe running of main plant and ancillary equipment
  • Help during repair and maintenance of machinery on board
  • Sometimes work of deck and engine room ratings is done by ‘general purpose’ ratings

Catering rating

  • Clean accommodation areas and public rooms
  • Help in the preparation of food, clean galleys, cooking utensils, and help in the maintenance of fridges, freezers and hygiene in all food preparation and serving areas
  • Serve meals to officers and crew
  • Load and store the ship’s consumable stores

Other professionals on the ship

Pursers and Medical officers are hired directly and their maximum qualifications and suitability are determined by the shipping companies employing them. Pursers are usually B.Com/BA and they need no professional training. They keep accounts on board.


  Pathway 1 Pathway 2
10th Merchant navy courses that you can pursue after 10th include:

·        Near Coastal Voyage (NCV)

·        Diploma in Nautical Science (DNS)

·        Commercial Diving

·        G.P. Rating

Clear Class 10th with Math & Science
Stream Clear class 12th with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics
Bachelors ·        B.Sc. Nautical Science

·        B.E. Marine Engineering

·        B.E. Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering

·        B.E. Petroleum Engineering

·        B.E. Mechanical Engineering

·        B.E. Harbour & Ocean Engineering

·        B.E. Civil Engineering

·        B.E. Electrical & Electronics Engineering

·        B.Sc. Marine Catering

·        Electro Technical Officer Course


  • Genuine interest in a life on the seas
  • Tough physical constitution
  • Practical and resourceful
  • Manual dexterity
  • Good administrative skills
  • Liking for Adventure
  • Strong mental make-up
  • Sporting, adaptive and adjustable
  • Aptitude for Maths and Physics
  • Flexibility
  • Responsible attitude
  • Willingness to be away from home for long periods


Govt. projects biggest in history Sagarmala project developing and enhancing 200 major ports and 2000 other ports in India.

Merchant navy is one of the most ancient job sectors, trading more than 95% percent of world trade. Trading increase the economic growth of any nation. “More a nation trade more superior it becomes “and this is the only reason which made USA superior during world war.

As the population rises, demand of more products increase rapidly. Day by day more ships and vessels are purchased by private sector and government sector in order to increase trading. Hence, there is always demand of merchant navy officers and other crew members. Although foreign companies have started working on automatic ships which requires no crew members on board!! But that’s going to take a lot of years.

But never do merchant navy from any fraud or unrecognized institutes which aren’t DG approved by directorate General of shipping; also see the placement records for last couple of years. I have seen some people destroying their lives by joining unrecognized colleges which made them wait for 5–6 years and haven’t placed them anywhere. Please beware as this field is full of scammers, making fake promises.

Career Consultancy, a premiere venture of Career Group started in the year 1996.
Scan OurQR Codes
Get in touchCCS
Social Links
Organically grow the holistic world view of disruptive innovation via empowerment.
Our locationsWhere to find us?
Get in touchCCS
Social Links
Need Help? Chat with us