How Do I Become a Seafarer In Singapore?

In Singapore, the maritime seafarer industry is full of luster. In turn, people are attracted to a career in the maritime industry. Singapore has one of the busiest ports in the world. This is why it offers promising opportunities for aspiring professionals. Plus, it also offers a life of adventure and international travel. A dynamic work environment is also on the table.

It is not an easy path of life to take. It requires a certain amount of determination and dedication. This is why you must have a clear understanding of what steps are needed to make it in the industry. You are going to need a sense of direction to be able to navigate the intricate waters of the maritime industry. 

Understanding the role of a seafarer:

Before one begins to even consider a career in the merchant navy, it is important to understand the dynamics of the industry. The first thing to note is that seafarers are officially called mariners or even sailors. They play an important role in helping transport goods and passengers all over the world. 

There are a multitude of vessels that come under their area of expertise. They operate numerous vessels ranging from cargo ships and tankers to cruise liners and offshore platforms. A career in the maritime industry is multifaceted. Which means that it requires a very diverse skill set. Everything from navigation, and maritime safety to engineering. 

Prerequisites and qualifications:

It’s not just fun and games when seafarer try to join the merchant navy. You have to have a certain set of qualifications to be able to join the industry successfully. Alongside general qualifications, there are job-specific requirements as well. Different roles in the industry require different pre-requisite skills.

Educational qualifications:

If you’re chasing after an entry-level position in the maritime industry, you really don’t need much in this department. A high school diploma should suit you just fine. However, it’s worth noting that you’ll be starting from rock bottom. If candidates want to achieve officer-level positions, they’re probably going to have to complete a degree program in maritime studies.

Physical requirements: 

It’s also worth noting that you can’t just be all brains and no brawns. You need to have a certain physique to be able to make the cut in this industry. Life at sea can be very physically demanding. This is why all candidates are screened and have to undergo several physical examinations. This separates the cream of the crop from the rest.

Age requirements:

This one is a no-brainer. As with every seafarer job out there, there are minimum age requirements to be able to join the industry. When it comes to the merchant navy, you’re going to have to be at least 17 or 18 years old. The age requirements vary between positions, though this is a minimum requirement for entering the industry itself. 

Language proficiency:

When it comes to language proficiency, there are seafarer certain requirements that candidates are going to have to fulfill. Having a certain level of mastery over the English language is vital. You can’t just treat it like a fluke either. Candidates often have to prove their level of proficiency via standardized tests. These tests include the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Training and Certification:

Now that you’ve understood the general requirements, it’s time to move on to training and certification. This is a whole new beast. There are different institutions that provide you with different avenues to join the industry. All in all, it’s imperative that you go through with these as these will help you kickstart your career in the merchant navy. 

Maritime Education Institutes:

Indonesia has no shortage of maritime education institutes. If you’re looking for a place to learn the ropes, they have you covered. These institutes offer a plethora of courses that train you for almost every job prospect in the merchant navy. These courses are specifically tailored to meet the needs of aspiring seafarers. 

These institutes provide all manner of knowledge and training. Whether you’re looking for practical training or theoretical knowledge, these institutes will have your back. It’s all about doing your research and selecting the right courses and institutes. As long as you do your homework, you should be well on your way to a successful career in the merchant navy.

Basic safety training:

Basic safety training is essential for a career in the merchant navy. While on the sea, there are a plethora of problems that you might end up facing. Everything from being stranded at sea to putting out fires on your vessels. This training will ensure that you know exactly what to do if you’re ever faced by such a situation.

STCW certification:

This stands for the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping. This convention sets the standards for all international trade in the maritime industry. It’s mandatory for all aspiring candidates to obtain a certification. It allows them to be trained under the policies required for them to follow in the merchant navy.

Cadetship programs:

These programs are offered by a lot of shipping companies. If you’re an aspiring officer and are in need of guidance, searching for such a program will be your best bet. This will provide you with some structured training and a way forward. It also provides you with some much-needed mentorship and sea-going experience.


As you can tell, joining the merchant navy in Singapore is a worthwhile career to pursue. However, as we’ve already mentioned, it’s not as easy as you might think. Still, as long as you follow the guidelines mentioned above, you should be set to become the next big thing in the merchant navy.

You’ll need to undergo rigorous training, but it’ll all be worth it in the long run. The merchant navy can set you up for a long and successful career. Singapore is constantly working on strengthening its maritime sector. As history suggests, the merchant navy has always been and will always be a cornerstone of the nation’s heritage.

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