How to join merchant navy?

Want to know how to join merchant navy? Maritime international trade is about carrying cargo to various countries. With EXIM (Export Import) on the rise with globalization, globally merchant navy career opportunities are on the rise for young men and women to join shipping industry.

How to join merchant navy

What are the Career Opportunities for you in Merchant Navy?

India has 15th rank in the world and supplies nearly 12.8% of officers and has 14.5% of rating in the seafaring community. Finding a career in merchant navy is attractive and if you are travel savvy, you enjoy visiting exotic places around the world.

As you know, India highlights the completion of 12th standard.  Taking up a professional course or continue further studies highly depends after you pass 12th. Pursuing education for your dream job that pays a handsome package is a priority goal for you.  While some prefer to be entrepreneurs, others choose MBA, medicine, software engineering and many other professional courses.

Joining Merchant Navy remains as an attractive career line since, it offers not only good remuneration, but also respect and dignity. Handling major responsibilities of operating a gigantic and billion-dollar ship with cargo, you know how significant manpower surveillance of the ship and cargo in Navy.

If you seek the advice of former Merchant Navy, you will understand better about navy profession with their experience and dignity they have achieved.  Most importantly, Merchant Navy is a very popular career choice in India and those who wish to join maritime industry, there are several stages for clearing to become a part of merchant navy.

Eligibility for 10+2

  • Studies in physics, chemistry and mathematics
  • Must be unmarried men and women
  • Unobstructed vision recommended. Spectacles with + or – 2.5 permitted
  • Appear for an entrance test followed by a screening test and written examination
  • After passing the test, attend an interview and a medical test
  • Acquire certification in ship training course

Additionally, you are eligible to pursue the following Merchant Navy courses:

  • 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 Civil Engineering
  • B.E. Electrical & Electronics Engineering
  • B.Sc. Marine catering
  • Electro Technical officer

Position-wise Merchant Navy courses to take up after 12th

  • If you to wish to join as a Deck officer – you need B.Sc. Nautical science (3 years) and Diploma in Nautical Science.
  • If you wish to join as an Engineer, you need to pursue a 4-year degree in BE/B Tech  marine engineering
  • To join as a Rating after class X or XII, you need to pursue a 6-month course in Pre-Sea GP Rating
  • To join catering department after class X or XII, you need to complete B.Sc. Marine catering (3 years)

How to check Eligibility?

To join Merchant Navy, your age is required to be between 17-25 to get permission to appear for Merchant Navy examination. For schedule castes, there is a relaxation of 5 years. Physical fitness being a must to join Merchant Navy, you need to acquire a fitness certificate from medical professional who is in practice. Any physical disability disqualifies entry into Navy. Another perfect requirement is eyesight. Colour blindness is not permitted. Vision need to be clear and preferably 6/12 in each eye or 6/9 in better eye and 6/18 in other eye for distant vision unaided.

There is no restriction for any genders whereas male or female, you can join Navy. It is also recommended that candidates need to be unmarried at the time of joining the course.

Tests to write for Merchant Navy Eligibility:

  • IMU CET: Exam is conducted by Indian Maritime University
  • Entrance Exams: While many private colleges offer Marine courses, and conduct their own entrance exam, other entrance exams are – TMISAT, JEE Advanced, WBJEE, CUSAT CAT

Institutes offering Merchant Navy courses:

  • There are seven institutes for seeking admission in Merchant Navy courses:
  • Marine Engineering and Research Institute, MERI Kolkata
  • Marine Engineering and Research Institute, MERI Mumbai
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri College of Advanced Maritime Studies and Research, Mumbai
  • T.S. Chanakya, Mumbai
  • Indian Institute of Port Management, Kolkata
  • Indian Maritime University – Visakhapatnam Campus

Job Prospects in Merchant Navy

Beginning from the job of deck cadet while getting trained in private institutes, Merchant navy fleet has a vast range of jobs in cargo ships, container ships, tankers, bulk carriers, passenger ships, refrigerator ships and barge ships. You can also get placed as Deck officer, Engineer and Electro-technical officer.

Both in overseas and India, there are many jobs to work in various departments of ship – the deck, the engine and the service department.

Salary benefits

The salary in Merchant Navy begins from Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 8 lakhs per month and the pay structure depends on the company. With free meals on board a junior engineer gets Rs. 30,000 per month with free boarding and lodging while working on the vessel. The pay gets higher for the senior positions.


As a rewarding career, joining Navy is a fantastic opportunity. Specifically, for those who are physically fit, clearing Navy entrance examination is an easy track. As you put up work experience, there are more chances for upgrading your employment till the time of retirement.


  1. When is the time to appear for Merchant Navy Exam?
  • It is important to visit IMU or TMISAT, JEE Advanced, WBJEE, CUSAT CAT respective websites and check notifications for entrance exam. Mostly notifications are also published online. Submit your application and get hall ticket to appear for the exam on a respective date and time.

1. What is the duration of test and type of questions in test?

One hour of psychometric paper and 2 hours of written test.  In the test, questions relevant to 10+2 maths, physics, chemistry and aptitude + general knowledge. Questions would be in multiple choice and good English is necessary to pass psychometric test.

2. What is the selection process after passing the entrance test?

You need to attend an interview that would be conducted in any of the metro cities, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and after clearing interview, you would have to pass the medical test.  Thereupon you would be declared as deck cadet.