How To Join The Merchant Navy In India

Merchant Navy In India - Merchant Navy Info

The Merchant Navy offers exciting career opportunities around the world, including maritime training, maritime research, ship management, and shipbuilding. From navigating vast oceans to managing complex logistics, ship management is critical to global trade and transportation.

Candidates seeking a career in this field must meet specific qualification requirements to begin a fulfilling career in the Merchant Navy. Merchant Navy eligibility criteria include factors such as age, education, physical fitness, and medical certificates.

This article will tell you all about how to join the merchant navy after the 10th, the merchant navy salary after the 12th, and various other considerations.

Merchant Navy 

Before understanding the Merchant Navy qualifications, it is important to note that candidates may be required to pass an entrance exam to become a Merchant Navy Officer. These are required to assess a candidate’s suitability for internship programs and diplomas. A rigorous selection process ensures that only qualified personnel are allowed to participate in maritime training programs and maritime research.

Eligibility Criteria

To join the Merchant Navy, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. These are important steps you must complete to qualify for training and ultimately build a rewarding career at sea.

Educational Qualification

Must have completed  10+2 Education (Grade 12) in the compulsory subjects Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Generally, an overall score of at least 60% is required.

Physical Fitness 

Physical fitness plays an important role in determining suitability for the Merchant Navy. Naval officers in merchant ships must have good eyesight and hearing to ensure the safety of their ships’ operations. Therefore, candidates are required to undergo a medical examination to assess their physical abilities.

Age Limits and Nationality Requirements

Age limits for joining the Merchant Navy vary by rank and position within the branch. Generally, to meet the eligibility criteria for the Merchant Navy, an Indian individual must be between the ages of 17 and 25. The upper age limit for joining the Merchant Navy as a deck officer or Navy engineer is 28 years. For officer positions such as deck officer and engineer officer, the upper age limit is usually around 25 to 30 years. Higher age limits, typically up to 35 years, may apply to ranks or non-executive positions.

The Merchant Navy offers numerous professional development opportunities that allow individuals to advance from training positions to higher ranks based on their performance, experience, and qualifications.

Plan Your Path:

Once you meet the qualification criteria, the next step is to decide on a career path within the Merchant Navy. There are two main options: 


Responsible for the ship’s navigation, operations, and general safety. Deck officers are responsible for operating ships, maintaining navigational equipment, and ensuring safe navigation in a variety of environments.

Technical Officer: 

Supervises the ship’s engines and propulsion systems. Their duties include maintaining engines, boilers, and other technical systems, ensuring smooth operation, and solving technical problems that may arise. Both paths offer rewarding careers with unique challenges and opportunities. Consider your interests, skills, and career aspirations when making this choice.

Entering the Academy: Entrance Exams and Training Institutes

To join the Indian Merchant Navy, you need to follow some steps. Complete 10+2 education with core subjects in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Take entrance exams like IMU CET and All India Merchant Navy Entrance Test (AIMNET) or seek sponsorship from a shipping company.

Clear Medical Examination By A Certified Physician

These steps are essential and will help you start your career in the Merchant Navy and will tell you the Merchant Navy salary. Once you have completed your training, you can take the entrance exams listed above or find out about funding opportunities from shipping companies. Additionally, you may consider enrolling in a Navy institute or academy to further your career in the shipping industry. These institutions, including the Indian Naval Academy (INA) and the International Maritime Institute (IMI), provide specialized training and education to aspiring seafarers.

Another option to consider is to look for opportunities with the Indian National Navy Registry (INR), which offers a variety of programs and certifications to advance your qualifications in this field. These exams and sponsorships serve as an introduction to the Merchant Navy. It is mandatory to pass a medical examination by a qualified physician before participating. These tests ensure that you meet the physical fitness requirements for working at sea.

Choosing a DGS-approved Navy Training Institute

Delhi Maritime Academy, New Delhi:

Offers degrees in Navy Science (DNS), a Bachelor of Navy Engineering, a Diploma in  Naval Architecture Technology, and more.

Tolani Navy Institute, Pune: 

Offers courses such as Bachelor of Navy Engineering, Bachelor of Maritime Science, Diploma of Maritime Science (DNS), and Electrical Engineering Officer (ETO).

Institute of Navy Studies, Goa: 

Offers Graduate School of Marine Engineering (GME), Diploma in Marine Engineering (DME) and other courses 

Samundra  Navy Institute, Lonavala:  

Diploma of Navy Science (DNS),  Marine Engineering B.Tech, Graduate School of Marine Engineering (GME)), Electrical Engineering Officer (ETO) 

Anglo Eastern Navy Academy, Karjat: 

Diploma in Navy Science (DNS), Graduate Marine Engineering (GME), and Electrical Engineering. We offer Officer (ETO) courses. 

Secure Sponsorship (Optional): 

Securing sponsorship from a shipping company is not absolutely necessary, but it does have some benefits. Sponsorship typically involves a company paying a portion of your training costs in exchange for working for the company for a period of time after graduation.

Gain Practical Experience: Seaboard Training and Proficiency 

Tests After completing  Seaboard Readiness Training, you will gain practical experience at sea. To become a cadet, you complete mandatory training onboard the ship. This important stage allows you to apply your theoretical knowledge in a real-life environment under the guidance of an experienced police officer.


The duration of onboard training varies depending on the path selected and the specific training program. Usually 12 to 18 months.


During this period, you will be assigned various tasks and responsibilities related to your chosen career path. This includes assisting with watchkeeping and maintenance tasks, as well as gaining hands-on experience in various processes on the ship.

Earn your Award: 

Proficiency Tests and Certifications Upon successful completion of your merchant navy Training, you will be eligible to take a competency test conducted by the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS). These exams assess your knowledge, skills, and overall ability in your chosen field.

Exam Format:  

The format of the exam may vary but typically includes a written exam, an oral exam, and a practical assessment.


After passing the exam, you will receive a Certificate of Competency (COC). This qualification is required to work as a certified merchant Navy.

Plan Your Course: Career Advancement and Opportunities 

The  Merchant Navy offers a rewarding and diverse career path with opportunities for continuous learning and advancement. Here’s an overview of what you can expect: 

Junior Officer: 

As a junior officer (third or fourth officer), you gain further experience under the guidance of a senior officer and gradually take on greater responsibility.

Senior Officer: 

Experience and additional qualifications allow you to advance to a senior officer position (Second Officer, Principal Officer) in your chosen field.

Master (Captain) or Chief Engineer: 

Through dedication, experience, and passing additional examinations, you can reach the pinnacle of your career as a Master (Captain) for Deck Officers or Chief Engineer for Facilities Officers and complete your duties. Able to assume leadership and responsibility. 

Skills Required to Join the Merchant Navy 

Certain skills are essential to qualify for a career in the Merchant Navy. Key skills that aspiring candidates should have are: 

Strong Communication Skills: 

Effective communication is critical when working with a diverse crew onboard a ship. The ability to clearly communicate information and understand the instructions of others ensures smooth operations and promotes teamwork.

Problem Solving Skills: 

Unexpected situations can arise when traveling. It is important to think quickly and find solutions. Candidates with strong problem-solving skills will be able to efficiently meet challenges and ensure the safety and efficiency of the vessel.

Leadership Skills

Strong leadership skills are very useful in emergency situations and when leading a team. People who can take responsibility, make decisions under pressure, and lead others effectively contribute to a well-functioning crew.

Gaining hands-on experience through a maritime training program also develops the necessary skills. Through practical work on board ships, you will be able to apply your theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios and further develop your expertise.

Challenges and Rewards 

A career in the Merchant Indian Navy is not for the faint of heart. Requires long hours, physical labor, and the ability to adapt to a constantly changing environment. The job can be physically taxing, requiring long periods of time away from family and friends. But rewards are just as important. Experience the thrill of traveling the world and visiting new ports and cultures. You’ll gain valuable life skills, develop a strong work ethic, and build a rewarding career. The sense of camaraderie and responsibility you share with your crew fosters a unique bond and sense of accomplishment.

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