Ultimate Guide to Joining Merchant Navy in India after Class 12th

Last Modified: 17 May 2024

In a country like India where parents not only are concerned but also get indulged more than their children when it comes to picking the best career path, choosing a career in Merchant Navy in India is surely the most sought-after, particularly after class 12th. A merchant navy, also known as a mercantile marine or merchant marine, is the “fleet of merchant vessels that are registered in a specific country.” These vessels transport heavy goods from one country to another, hence the job involves extensive travelling through the oceans.

Apart from its lucrative monetary compensations that often tempt the parents, youths with an adrenaline rush and those wish to get high with the lure of adventure on the high seas can make a career in the Merchant Navy. If you, too, pamper a massive dream and wish to excel in life, all you need to do is to finish your 12th Board exams first and sign up for the Merchant Navy courses after 12th.

What Is Merchant Navy?

As opposed to the Indian Navy, which is largely involved in the defence of the nation, Merchant Navy offers commercial services and allows travelling around the globe. The Merchant Navy, furthermore, is the backbone of international trade, carrying cargo to different countries. Much of the important-export business around the world would come to a grinding halt without the Merchant Navy.

For the people bitten by the travel bug, a career in Merchant Navy will take them around the world, including some of the most exotic places on earth. Besides being quite thrilling and glamorous, it brings massive monetary benefits.

Popular Merchant Navy Courses after 12th

Check out the Merchant Navy courses below that you can pursue after 12th

B.Tech Marine Engineering

B.Tech Harbour & Ocean Engineering

Diploma in Marine Engineering (DME)

B.B.A. Logistics & Supply Chain Management

Marine Engineering under Alternate Training Scheme

M.B.A. Shipping & Logistics Management

MBA Shipping Finance

B.Tech Ship Building

B.Tech Ship Building

B.E. Mechanical Engineering

B.Sc Nautical Science

B.Tech Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering

G.P Rating

Diploma in Nautical Science (DNS)

Higher National Diploma (Marine Engineering)

BBA Shipping

Higher National Diploma (Nautical Science)

B.E Harbour and Ocean Engineering

B.E Marine Engineering

ETO (Electro-Technical Officer)

Electro-Technical Officer Course

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How to Join Merchant Navy – Job Prospects?

Join merchant navy, if you dream of a career at sea that sets you apart and brings tremendous respect. You can join as a deck officer or an engineer or as a Rating (skilled seafarer) or in the catering department. To join the Merchant Navy, you must meet all the eligibility requirements that include your educational qualification, age and more.

Completing the basic Merchant Navy course can get you a job in this field. There are colossal employment options for eligible candidates – taking cargo ships, tankers, refrigerator ships, a barge carrying ships, container ships, bulk carriers and passenger ships into considerations. Let’s take a quick look at the eligibility criteria, Merchant Navy top courses after 12th, physical fitness and other requirements.

Eligibility –

  • The interested candidates should have held the Class 12th certificate (Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics).
  • They must be unmarried (male or female) and hold Indian citizenship.
  • The candidates should be between 17 years (minimum) and 25 years (maximum).
  • If the candidates belong to SC/ ST, there will be 5 years age relaxation (maximum).
  • Normal vision is highly sought-after. However, candidates with glasses (up to 2.5 plus/ minus) may be allowed.
  • Candidates with colour blindness will not be permitted to apply.

Eligibility Requirements for Merchant Navy Diploma Courses –

  • For One-Year Diploma Course: The candidates must have passed 10 + 2 with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics  and English (compulsory)
  • For Two-Year Diploma Course: They must have passed Diploma in Marine Engineering/ Electronics Engineering/ Electrical Engineering/ Mechanical Engineering/ Shipbuilding Engineering with 50 per cent marks (minimum).

Eligibility Requirements for Merchant Navy Bachelor Courses –

  • The candidates must have done Class 12th with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics (compulsory)
  • They should have secured 60% of marks (minimum)

Eligibility Requirements for Merchant Navy Postgraduate Courses –

  • For MBA Courses: The candidates must have done their bachelors from a recognised university.
  • For GME Courses: They should have held a BE degree in Mechanical Engineering/ Naval Architecture

Physical Fitness –

A career at sea also requires tremendous physical ability. You have to be at your physical best to get into a Merchant Navy course. This means you will be asked to provide a certificate fitness from a registered medical practitioner. Those fail to provide the said certificate will not be entertained.

Join Merchant Navy –

Only after completing a ship-training course, employment will be given. Admission of the candidates will be done through an entrance examination, followed by a screening test. There will be a main written examination as well. Only after clearing the test, the candidates will be shortlisted for an interview and a medical test.

Merchant Navy Applying Process

The students who meet all the eligibility requirements can apply for the course. They need to submit the completed application form along with the following documents –

  • Copy of Birth Certificated
  • Copy of Medical Certificated
  • Copy of Passing Certificated of 10th/12th/Graduate and Diploma.
  • Two Passport Sized Photograph
  • Copy of Mark Sheet of Last Qualified Exam (2 Copies Attested)
  • Copy of Passport (if have)
  • Affidavit on ₹ 50/- stamp paper duly typed and attested by the notary.

Note: All documents can either be sent via mail or courier. Copies of documents should be attested by Notary or Government employee.

Field Requisite and Salary of Merchant Navy

One of the highest paying jobs in India, Merchant Navy offers excellent monetary rewards with packages up to ₹ 20,00,000 per month. Here’s a glimpse into the salary that you can get after pursuing a career in Merchant Navy in India.


Educational Qualification

Field Requisite

Average Salary (Approximately)


Master (FG) Certificate of Competency

4 to 5 years of experience in the industry

₹ 8,65,000 to 20,00,000 per month

Chief Officer

1st Mate (FG) Certificate of Competency

18 months of service at sea as chief officer

₹ 4,00,000 to 6,00,000 per month

3rd Officer/ 2ndOfficer

2nd Mate (FG) Certificate of Competency

18 months of service at sea as 2nd or 3rdofficer

₹ 1,50,000 to 3,00,000 per month

Deck Cadet

Class 12 along with pre-sea Nautical Diploma

18 months of service at sea as deck cadet

₹ 25,000 to 85,000 per month

Trainee Cadet

Class 12 along with pre-sea Nautical Diploma

1 year pre-sea course

₹ 25,000 to 85,000 per month

G P Rating

Class 10

4 + 2 months of pre-sea course

₹ 25,000 to 60,000 per month

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5 Essential Things to Consider If You Wish to Join Merchant Navy

You have now gone through various posts, courses, eligibility requirements, salaries, etc. Well, there are a few more things that you need to keep in mind before joining merchant marine.

  1. Huge Monetary Reward and Job Surety: Probably, this is why most aspirants like to join Merchant Navy. Although the average income varies from post to post, the salaries tend to only go upward. However, you need to choose the right job since merchant marine has jobs for chefs, able-bodied seamen, radio officers and captains.
  2. Health and Fitness: Not only do you need to excel in academics, but also you have to be in great physical shape. Certainly, the sea tests you mentally, physically and human endurance, because the naval officers will spend a major portion of the year on the water. Fitness tests are regularly carried out – if any complication arises before boarding the ship, the candidates will be barred from joining. Sight and hearing tests are also conducted at regular intervals.
  3. Be Ready for Almost Negligible Social Life: You have to mentally tough to deal with the time when you are away from your near and dear ones for several months. If you are a social animal, it would be difficult to spend time offshore. Sealife can be quite hard and can take a toll on you if you can’t resist the social temptation. However, the good thing is that modern ships are quite sophisticated and have satellite phones and internet connection. This facility reduces the feeling of loneliness up to a great extent.
  4. Personality and Attitude: How well you get along with others will also decide your attitude and personality. Spending several months on a ship with a handful of people and seeing them over a period can harbour resentment in you. It is good to be friends with all of them. It brings a positive impact on others as well.
  5. Learn New Cultures and Plenty of New Things: You get to travel around the globe that allows you to meet new people and learn about new cultures. This is awesome.

There are many merchant navy institutes in India offering various courses. Enrol into your favourite college, get a degree and embark on a career at sea.


Sandeep singh chib, February 15, 2022

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