Home » Steward


Home / Careers / Catering Staff / Steward

Things You Should Know About Steward

Steward play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation of vessels at sea. They are responsible for maintaining cleanliness in living quarters, serving meals to crew members and passengers, and providing essential support to the ship’s operations. With their attention to detail and dedication, stewards contribute significantly to the well-being and comfort of everyone on board. Their work goes beyond just serving meals; it encompasses creating a welcoming environment that fosters camaraderie among the crew and passengers alike. Stewards in the Merchant Navy truly embody professionalism and hospitality, making them an indispensable part of maritime operations.

Becoming a steward in the merchant navy could help make that dream a reality. But before you sign on, there’s a few things you should know about life as a steward at sea. Sure, you’ll get to voyage to exotic ports and wake up to a new view every morning. But shipboard life comes with unique challenges too. Long hours, cramped quarters, and months away from land are par for the course. 

As a steward, you’ll work hard to keep the ship tidy and the crew well-fed. The job requires stamina and adaptability. If you’re up for an adventure and don’t mind hard work, read on to learn more about what it takes to become a steward in the merchant navy

Overview of the Steward Role in Merchant Navy

Cleaning and Housekeeping

As a steward, maintaining high standards of cleanliness is your top priority. You’ll be responsible for cleaning cabins, bathrooms, hallways, and common areas. This includes tasks like sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing toilets, sinks, showers, and more. Keeping the ship spic and span at all times is essential.

Serving Meals

You’ll assist the ship’s cook in preparing and serving meals for the crew. This means helping set tables, serving food, pouring drinks, and clearing plates. You need to ensure that all crew members receive their meals on time and provide friendly service with a smile.

Handling Supplies

Stewards are also responsible for managing and distributing supplies like linens, toiletries, cleaning products, and food items. You’ll keep inventory of what’s needed and place orders to restock. It’s important to properly store all supplies to avoid spoilage or waste.

Additional Duties

There may also be other duties like assisting passengers, accepting deliveries when in port, or helping out in the bar. No two days are the same, so you need to remain flexible. The life of a steward keeps you on your toes with a variety of tasks, but for the right person, it can be an exciting career sailing the seas.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities of a Steward in Merchant Navy

Cleaning and Housekeeping

As a steward, keeping things spick and span is a big part of the job. You’ll be responsible for cleaning cabins, bathrooms, hallways, and common areas. Daily cleaning includes sweeping, mopping, dusting, changing linens, and ensuring everything is fresh and sanitary for passengers and crew.

Serving Meals

A major duty is helping prepare and serve meals in the dining area and cabins. This involves setting up the dining room, plating and garnishing food, serving meals to passengers and crew, and clearing away dishes and cutlery after meals have concluded. You may also assist the chef in preparing, cooking and portioning the food. Providing excellent customer service and ensuring everyone’s needs are met during mealtimes is essential.

Additional Tasks

Stewards also run errands, deliver items to cabins upon request, assist passengers with luggage, and monitor for any issues that require attention. When not actively serving, cleaning or assisting passengers, a steward’s time may be spent doing laundry, polishing silverware, restocking bars, and performing other tasks to keep the ship in working order.

The role of a steward is demanding yet rewarding. While long days and a variety of duties keep you on your feet, traveling the seas and ensuring smooth sailing for passengers and crew can lead to an exciting career at sea. The key is maintaining a cheerful disposition and dedication to service. If you have what it takes, a career as a steward in the Merchant Navy may be perfect for you!


Skills and Qualities Needed to Be a Successful Steward in Merchant Navy

Strong Communication Skills

As a steward, you’ll be interacting with crew and passengers daily. Developing good communication skills, like active listening, speaking clearly, and patience will serve you well. You need to be comfortable starting friendly conversations, explaining meal options, and addressing complaints or special requests.


Life at sea can be unpredictable. You’ll need to adapt to changing schedules, accommodating passengers’ needs, and ensuring high standards of service. Stewards who can think on their feet and adjust to different demands or circumstances will excel in this role.

Physically Fit

The job requires a lot of physical activity like cleaning cabins, setting tables, serving meals, and washing dishes. Stewards should be physically fit and able to stand, walk, lift, and bend for long periods. You may also experience rough seas, so having sea legs and not getting seasick easily is important.


Stewards work closely with other crew like cooks, bartenders, and housekeepers. Developing good teamwork skills and the ability to collaborate with others are essential. Helping each other ensure all tasks get completed and passengers are well cared for leads to smooth operations and a positive experience for all.

Strong Work Ethic

The hours can be long, and the work is labor-intensive. Successful stewards have a strong work ethic, take pride in their work, and don’t mind putting in extra effort to get the job done. Maintaining high standards of service and cleanliness at all times is key. If you’re willing to do what it takes to keep passengers and crew happy, you’ll excel as a steward.

In summary, good communication, adaptability, physical fitness, teamwork, and a strong work ethic are all qualities that will help you become an accomplished steward in the Merchant Navy. Develop and strengthen these skills, and you’ll be providing excellent service at sea in no time!

Skills and Qualifications Needed To Become A Steward in Navy


  • Age: Minimum age requirement varies depending on the country and training institution, but it typically falls between 17 and 25 years old.
  • Education: Formal education requirements are generally minimal. However, completing high school is recommended for better career prospects.
  • Medical Fitness: You will need to pass a medical examination to ensure you are physically and mentally fit for the demands of seafaring life.
  • Basic Skills: Strong communication, interpersonal, and teamwork skills are essential. Additionally, basic computer literacy is often beneficial.


  • Training: While formal education may not be mandatory, undergoing specific training programs is crucial. These programs equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge for steward duties, including:
    • Food hygiene and safety
    • Housekeeping and laundry
    • Customer service and hospitality
    • Firefighting and safety procedures
    • Basic first aid
  • Certification: Upon successful completion of the training program, you will receive a certificate recognized by the maritime authorities in your country. This certificate is essential for securing employment as a steward.
  • STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) Convention: Familiarity with the STCW convention and its regulations is recommended, as it sets the international standards for training and certification of seafarers.

Additional Tips:

  • Experience: While not always mandatory, gaining experience in hospitality or customer service roles can be advantageous when applying for steward positions.
  • Physical Fitness: Maintaining good physical fitness is important for handling the physical demands of the job, which may involve carrying heavy objects and working long hours.
  • Patience and Adaptability: Seafaring life can be challenging and requires individuals to be adaptable, patient, and able to work effectively in a diverse and sometimes demanding environment.

Remember, the specific requirements and processes may vary depending on your location and chosen training provider. It’s crucial to conduct thorough research and choose a reputable training program that meets the standards set by your country’s maritime authorities.

While it’s not always glamorous, it’s a unique opportunity to see the world and get paid for it. The long hours and time away from home aren’t for everyone, but if you’re up for an adventure on the high seas, it could be the perfect career.

Just make sure you’re ready to work hard and be part of a tight-knit team. With the right attitude and some sea legs, you’ll get to visit amazing places and collect stories and memories that will last a lifetime. The merchant marine isn’t for the faint of heart, but for those seeking a life less ordinary, it offers rewards unlike any other. So if the call of the ocean is strong, it may be time to don your apron and set sail.

Subscribe to Merchant Navy Info Daily Newsletter

Scroll to Top