Hi, I am your admission assistant! Have any Questions? Connect with me.
join merchant navy

How to Join Merchant Navy? A Step-by-Step Guide

Want to Join Merchant Navy ? Contact us today! +91 8368031394

Joining the Merchant Navy is a decision that can open up a world of opportunities, adventure, and fulfillment. If you’ve ever dreamt of sailing the high seas, exploring new horizons, and being part of a global industry that drives international trade and commerce, then a career in the Merchant Navy might be the perfect fit for you. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to join the Merchant Navy, from understanding the industry to embarking on your first voyage.

Understanding Merchant Navy

Before delving into the specifics of how to join the Merchant Navy, let’s take a moment to understand what it entails. 

join merchant navy
Image Credit

The Merchant Navy is essentially a commercial fleet of ships that transports goods, commodities, and passengers across the world’s oceans. It’s a crucial component of global trade, facilitating the movement of goods between countries and continents. 

Unlike the military navy, which is primarily focused on defense and security, the Merchant Navy is driven by commercial interests and operates under civilian jurisdiction.

Research and Exploration

join merchant navy

The first step on your journey to joining the Merchant Navy is to conduct thorough research and exploration. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the various career paths and opportunities available within the industry. 

From deck officers to engineering officers, ratings, and catering staff, there’s a diverse range of roles to choose from. Consider your interests, strengths, and career goals as you explore the possibilities.

Researching the requirements and qualifications for your chosen role is also important. Most positions in the Merchant Navy require specific educational qualifications, such as a diploma or degree in maritime studies, or related fields. Additionally, certain certifications and licenses may be necessary, depending on the role and the country in which you intend to work.

Eligibility, Requirements & Qualifications

join mechant navy
Image by upklyak on Freepik

Candidates may need to take admission exams in order to enroll in a Merchant Navy course, so it is important to understand eligibility before applying. 

These are necessary to evaluate a candidate’s suitability for the diploma and internship program. The rigorous selection processes ensure that only competent individuals are admitted into maritime training programs and maritime studies. 

Here are the key requirements and qualifications for candidates seeking a career in the merchant navy:


To be eligible for the Merchant Navy, aspirants must have finished their education in the tenth or twelveth grade. 

A strong educational foundation is important as it equips individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills required in maritime training. 

Physical Fitness

  • A candidate’s physical condition is a major factor in determining their eligibility for the merchant navy.
  • Marine officers in the merchant navy must have good vision and hearing in order to maintain security during shipping operations.

Therefore, in order to evaluate their physical capabilities, candidates must go through medical exams.

Age Limits and Nationality Requirements

The minimum age to enlist in the Merchant Navy varies according to rank and industry position. 

To be eligible for the merchant navy in India, a person must typically be between the ages of 17 and 25. As a deck officer or marine engineer, the maximum age to enlist in the Merchant Navy is 28 years old. The age limit for ratings or non-officer positions may be higher, typically up to 35 years old.

There are many career growth opportunities in the Merchant Navy, where people can advance from trainee positions to higher ranks depending on their performance, experience, and qualifications.

Skills Required

To qualify for a career in the Merchant Navy, certain skills are indispensable. Here are the essential abilities aspiring candidates should possess:

join merchant navy
Image by macrovector on Freepik
  1. Communication skills: Being able to communicate effectively is really important. You’ll be working with lots of different people from all over the world, so you need to be able to talk to them and understand what they’re saying. Whether it’s giving instructions or getting help, good communication makes everything easier.
  2. Problem-Solving: Sometimes things don’t go as planned when you’re at sea. It could be bad weather, mechanical issues, or other unexpected problems. You need to be able to think quickly and come up with solutions to keep the ship safe and everyone on board okay
  1. Leadership: There will be times when you need to take charge and make decisions, especially in emergencies. Being a good leader means you can guide others, make tough choices, and keep everyone calm and focused on what needs to be done. It’s all about working together as a team to overcome challenges and keep the ship running smoothly.
  2. Resourcefulness and Adaptability: It’s important to be resourceful and adaptable, especially when things change unexpectedly. On a ship, resources can be limited, so being able to improvise and adjust is really important.
  1. Stress Management and Resilience: Living with a diverse group of people in a small space for a long time can be stressful. It’s important to be emotionally strong and able to handle stress well.

Steps to Join Merchant Navy

Image by freepik

Are you intrigued by life on the open sea and seeking a thrilling yet responsible career? Joining the merchant navy might be the adventure you’re looking for. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to kickstart your journey.

Step 1: Choose your path:

  • Deck Cadets/Ratings: Tasked with navigating the ship and ensuring its safety. Requires a Bachelor of Science in Nautical Science or a Diploma in Nautical Science (DNS) for cadets and G.P rating course for ratings.
  • Engine Cadets(TME)/ Ratings: Responsible for managing and operating the ship’s machinery. Requires a Bachelor of Engineering in Marine Engineering or a Diploma in Marine Engineering for engine cadets (TME) and G.P rating course for ratings.

Step 2: Meet the eligibility criteria:

Educational Qualification:

  • For G.P Rating : Completion of 10th with 45% marks in English subject.
  • For Deck Cadets: Completion of 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics (PCM) and a minimum aggregate of 60%.
  • For Engine Cadets: A Diploma in a relevant engineering field with a minimum aggregate of 50%.
  • Physical Fitness: Must pass a rigorous medical examination covering aspects like eyesight, hearing, and color vision.
  • Age Limit: Typically between 17 and 25 years, though this may vary based on the course and institute.

Step 3: Clear the entrance exams

IMU CET: Indian Maritime University Common Entrance Test (mandatory for government training institutes).

AIMNET: All India Merchant Navy Entrance Test (accepted by many private institutes).

Shipping company-sponsored exams: Some companies hold their own entrance exams for direct cadet recruitment.

Step 4: Undergo pre-sea training

  • Enroll in a DG Shipping-approved Maritime Training Institute (MTI) for a one-year pre-sea training program.
  • This program covers theoretical and practical training in navigation, machinery operation, safety protocols, and more.
  • You’ll also obtain your STCW (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping) certificates, essential for seafaring.

Step 5: Gain seafaring experience

  • Join a shipping company as a cadet and acquire hands-on experience at sea under the guidance of senior officers.
  • Depending on your chosen specialization, you’ll progress through various ranks such as Deck Cadet, Officer Trainee, Third Officer, Second Officer, etc.
  • Each rank advancement requires passing competency exams administered by DG Shipping.


Joining the Merchant Navy is a decision that can shape your future and open up a world of possibilities. 

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can embark on a rewarding and fulfilling career in one of the world’s oldest and most respected professions. 

The Merchant Navy has something to offer everyone, whether your attraction is the thrill of life at sea, the chance to see the world, or the chance to significantly impact world trade.

Get in touch with us right now to find out more about how you can join the Merchant Navy if you are prepared to start your voyage into the world of nautical exploration. 

Our team of experienced professionals is here to guide you through the process and help you navigate the waters of your future career. Don’t wait any longer – the adventure of a lifetime awaits! Start your Maritime Career Today! Contact us at: +91 8368031394 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top