How to Get a Job In the Merchant Navy

If you feel the water calling you, a job in the merchant navy might be a good choice for you. A professional role in the Merchant Navy means contributing to the backbone of global trade.

The possibility of high remuneration and an opportunity to travel around the world makes a career in the merchant navy attractive. However, as with any other profession, there are a few drawbacks attached to this as well.


The major one is having to stay away from your family for long periods of time. But before getting deep into career options in the merchant navy, let’s get into the basics of what the merchant navy is all about.

How To Get A Job In The Merchant Navy

What Is a Merchant Navy?

A merchant navy is very different from the navy as it offers commercial services, whereas the navy is largely involved in the defense of the nation. It is a fleet of ships that is responsible for the import and export of goods from one country to another.


Merchant ships employ a large number of workers to carry and deliver goods from country to country. The officers have to work on different kinds of seagoing vessels. These vary from cruise liners and cargo ships to tankers and bulk carriers to barge-carrying ships.

A career in the merchant navy is a good choice for people who are travel junkies. It offers you the opportunity to visit new and exotic places around the globe. The careers in the merchant navy are not only monetarily satisfying but also quite challenging.

What Are the Jobs In a Merchant Navy?

A merchant navy offers jobs in two categories: the Deck Department and the Engine Department. For those who are initially joining the merchant navy, there is always a great confusion regarding the departments on the ship and which one to choose.


In the deck department, you can work as a Captain, First officer, Second officer, Third officer, and Cadet. Similarly, Chief Engineer, Second Engineer, Third Engineer, and Fourth Engineer are the posts you can get in the Engine Department.

There are also administration jobs for merchant navies, but those depend on the individual ship and country.

Which Kind of Job Is Better?

There is no specific answer to which one is better because each person and department contributes to the overall smooth functioning of the ship. The career you choose with a merchant navy depends on your skills.

It also depends on what your goal is and how you see your career progressing. Getting the right merchant navy job depends on your education and experience on land as well as if you’ve had any work experience on the water.

Eligibility Criteria to Get Into the Merchant Navy

The basic criteria to join the merchant navy is completing intermediate Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. This also requires you completing a minimum level of education in those fields, and that minimal level depends on your country.

After the completion of the basic educational qualification, interested candidates can appear in the entrance exams like All India Merchant Navy Entrance Test in India, Competency Exams in Australia followed by a screening test and a main written exam.

Various institutions offer numerous courses related to the merchant navy. Such as Nautical Engineering, Marine Engineering, Harbor and Ocean Engineering, etc. Applications can be submitted online along with a brief summary of 100 words of why you want to work in the merchant navy.

How To Get A Job In The Merchant Navy

Salaries and Benefits You Can Expect in the Merchant Navy

You will get paid pretty well since working on a merchant navy can be considered a difficult and stressful job. The biggest advantage of working in the merchant navy is that you can earn a tax-free salary. The salary in the merchant navy can range from anywhere between USD 2000 to USD 125,000.

However, the remuneration varies greatly from one company to the other. The variation also occurs due to the geographical location, the export-import needs, seniority, among other reasons.

Jobs In the Merchant Navy Conclusion

One of the most unique things about applicants that apply to a merchant navy is that it’s not just about the pay. For many it’s about the adventure along the way. If staring at unending waters for days at a time sounds like fun, a merchant navy career might be your thing.