Merchant Navy

Merchant Navy Courses: Eligibility Criteria, Entrance Examinations, Courses, Top Colleges & Job Profile

Last Modified on : 22 May 2024

A career in the Merchant Navy will give you an opportunity to travel the world while living adventurous sea life. The merchant navy is completely different from the Navy in terms of its operations. Unlike the Navy, Merchant Navy offers commercial services and is regarded as the backbone of international trade. A career in the merchant navy is rewarding in monetary terms and offers maximum job satisfaction. Here are all the necessary details required to join the glamorous career in the merchant navy including what is merchant navy is all about and its salary criteria.

What is Merchant Navy?

The merchant navy is a professional term used for the commercial sector of the marine industry. Although the merchant navy has no participation in military service, the marine department is used to transport heavy goods from one country to another through cargo ships, tankers, and cruise liners.

Job departments that come under the Merchant Navy field are the deck department/ navigation, engineering department, electro-technical department, and stewards department/ hospitality. When joining the merchant navy job profile, it is important to have a basic understanding of each department and its core responsibilities.

Merchant Navy Courses

Admission in merchant navy courses is done through an entrance exam followed by a screening test and main written exam. Candidates who clear the exam are called for an interview and medical test. The merchant navy courses can be divided into two categories:

Merchant Navy Courses After 12th

To Join As a Deck Officer

  • B.Sc. Nautical Science
  • Diploma in Nautical Science (Leads to a BSc Nautical Science)

To Join As an Engineer

  • B.E. Petroleum Engineering
  • B.E. Marine Engineering
  • B.E. Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering
  • B.E. Harbour & Ocean Engineering
  • B.E. Mechanical Engineering
  • B.E. Civil Engineering
  • B.Sc. Marine Catering
  • B.E. Electrical & Electronics Engineering
  • Electro-Technical Officer Course

Merchant Navy Courses After 10th

  • Near Coastal Voyage (NCV)
  • Commercial Diving
  • Diploma in Nautical Science (DNS)
  • G.P. Rating

How to Join Merchant Navy?

In order to join the merchant navy, you need to fulfil all the basic eligibility criteria set by the officials. The Merchant Navy India offers a wide range of opportunities to potential candidates, which will help them to make a successful career in the mercantile navy. You can join as an electro technician (ETO), engineering cadetships, deck officer, and in the catering department.

Once you complete the basic Merchant Navy course, you can get a job in this field for several posts including – taking cargo ships, tankers, refrigerator ships, barge carrying ships, container ships, bulk carriers and passenger ships into consideration, etc.

However, if you want to get into these jobs, make sure to meet and fulfil all the eligibility criteria of Merchant Navy India in terms of educational qualification, physical fitness and other requirements.

Merchant Navy 2022 Pattern & Syllabus

Syllabus for Merchant Navy

Check the list of the most popular subjects:

Mechanics of Fluids

Voyage Planning and Collision Prevention

Marine Electrical Technology

Nautical Physics and Electronics Paper

Electrical Machines

Ship Operation Technology

Marine Auxiliary Machine

Principles of Navigation

Marine IC Engineering

Shipping Management

Marine Boiler and System Engineering

Maritime Law

Naval Architecture

Cargo Machine and Marine Communication

Marine Heat Engines and Air Conditioning

Marine Machines and System Design

Environmental Science

STCW and Ship Fire Prevention

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The exam contains a multiple-choice question pattern spanning subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, English, General Knowledge and Reasoning.

Training Session:

After completing the respective courses in the merchant navy, it is mandatory for all the candidates to undergo pre-sea training conducted by the Maritime Training Institute. Be it marine engineering or simply a maritime catering programme, all candidates have to undergo this training before they start working as interns on the ship. The duration of the training can be varying from six months to one year depending on the programme that the candidate has pursued.

Merchant Navy 2022 Eligibility

Since the Merchant Navy courses are offered under undergraduate, postgraduate, diploma, and certificate levels, the criteria of eligibility vary for different courses.

Basic Eligibility Condition –

  • The student must be an Indian citizen.
  • Passing the medical fitness test for sea services as per the standard norms is mandatory.
  • The candidate’s eyesight should be 6/6 with no colour blindness.

Eligibility Criteria for Merchant Navy Bachelor Course (Class 12th Passed) -

  • Must have qualified class 12th with science stream including Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics as the main subject.
  • The minimum qualification eligibility is a 10+2 or equivalent exam with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. There are some courses offered which can also be pursued after the 10th.
  • The interested candidates should have held the Class 12thcertificate (Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics).
  • They must be unmarried and hold Indian citizenship.
  • The candidates should be in between 17 years (minimum) and 25 years (maximum).
  • If the candidates belong to SC/ ST, there will be 5 years of 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 Criteria for Merchant Navy Postgraduate Courses (Bachelor Degree Holder) -

  • For Merchant Navy PG courses, the age limit criteria for MBA courses is 25 years whereas, for GME the upper age limit is 28 years.
  • For MBA Courses: The aspirant must have done their bachelors from a recognized university are considered eligible.
  • For GME Courses: They should have a BE degree in Mechanical Engineering or Naval Architecture.

Eligibility Criteria for Merchant Navy Diploma Courses –

  • Candidates must be not over the age group of 25 to 28 years old.
  • For One-Year Diploma Course: Applicants must have passed their class 12th with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics  and English (compulsory)
  • For Two-Year Diploma Course: The candidates must have passed a Diploma in Marine Engineering/ Electronics Engineering/ Electrical Engineering/ Mechanical Engineering/ Shipbuilding Engineering with at least 50 per cent marks.

Eligibility Criteria for Merchant Navy Certificate Courses (Class 10th Passed) –

  • The candidate must be belonging to the age group of 17.5 (minimum) to 25 years old (maximum).
  • Also, they must ensure that they scored at least 40% marks in class 10 with Science, English and Maths as main subjects.

Physical Fitness Requirement –

Candidates, who want to join Merchant Navy, must ensure after fulfilling the eligibility and age limit criteria, candidates can also fulfil the medical fitness requirement as stated below:

  • A candidate must have to be physical best to get into a Merchant Navy course.
  • They must fulfil all the medical criteria and produce a certificate for medical fitness by authorized authorities.
  • Those who fail to provide the said certificate will not be entertained for the job profile.

Merchant Navy Admission Process

Candidates can apply for the Merchant Navy courses only on the basis of scores achieved in the entrance exams. Check the list of eligible entrance exams conducted to offer admission in the Merchant Navy courses. However, there are other procedures for different entry levels. Check details below:

Admission Through Entrance Exams

There are various entrance exams held to offer admission into the Merchant Navy course. Majorly these entrance exams are conducted for admission to marine engineering programmes after passing class 12th. Check out the complete list of entrance exams as follows:

Merchant Navy Entrance Exams

All India Merchant Navy Entrance Test (AIMNET)

This exam is conducted by AIMNET Examination Board, which is further managed by Offshore Shipping Academy. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs approves this academy, Government of India. The entrance exam is conducted for admission into B.Sc. Nautical Science, B.Tech Naval Architecture, Diploma of Applied Science (deck watchkeeper) by AMSA, G.P. Ratings, B.Tech Marine and MBA (Shipping and Logistic Management).

Indian Maritime University Common Entrance Test (IMU CET)

The Indian Maritime University conducts IMUCET for admission into undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Marine. It takes place in May, while the registration process begins at the end of March. Only unmarried candidates are eligible to appear in the exam.

JEE Advanced

A majority of students want to apply for technical courses for entering the Merchant Navy. At this stage, they need to appear for the entrance exams like JEE advanced, which is conducted in the month of June to July every this. This year, the JEE advanced is going to be conducted in the month of September 2020, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in India. One must note that the JEE advanced can be eligible to appear only if the student successfully qualified for the JEE Main entrance test.

Other entrance exams, which students can enrol for after completing class 12th are the MERI Entrance Exam and the TMISAT entrance test, conducted in the month of May every year.

Eligibility Requirement to apply for these exams:

  • 10th for GP Rating Course.
  • For Deck cadet and Engine cadet: Class 12th with PCM completed with 60%.
  • Must belong to India.
  • Completed class 12th with science stream including the subjects of Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.

Admission Through Sponsorship Based

Through sponsorship based programs, entries to the popular maritime institutes and their programs are also possible. All you need to do is:

  • Interested applicants can apply for sponsorships at the institutes started by shipping companies to train potential candidates for the merchant navy.
  • The sponsorship to go on a ship will be provided to you by the company through which you apply only if you have completed a course at their institute.
  • You can also apply for multiple sponsorships at different companies.

Admission Through Lateral Entry

Another ideal option to get entry into the popular maritime institutes is through lateral entry, which means directly into the 2nd year of the Marine engineering program.

  • Students can also take Direct Admission into the second year of marine engineering programmes approved by the Directorate General of Shipping.
  • There are two ways of securing LE seats in Marine Engineering programmes:
    • Either after completing the first year of engineering from an electrical or mechanical branch with a minimum of 60% or
    • Pursuing a diploma in electrical, mechanical, marine or ship-building engineering with a minimum of 60% aggregate marks

Merchant Navy 2022 Application Process

Candidates can successfully enrol under the Merchant navy course only through these above-mentioned entrance tests. The application process for these exams can be done via online mode. Along with the application form, you would also require to submit important documents as under:

Candidates who meet up all the eligibility requirements can apply for the course. All they require is to submit the completed application form along with the following documents –

  • Copy of Birth Certificated
  • Copy of Passing Certificated of 10th/12th/Graduate and Diploma.
  • Copy of Medical Certificated
  • Two Passport Sized Photograph
  • Copy of Mark Sheet of Last Qualified Exam
  • 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. Offline copies of documents should be attested by Notary or Government employee.

Selection Process

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 2022 Other Details

Top Merchant Navy Colleges

  • Indian Maritime University, Chennai
  • Tolani Maritime Institute, Pune
  • Marine Engineering Research Institute (MERI), Calcutta and Mumbai
  • International Maritime Institute, Greater Noida
  • Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies, Mumbai
  • B.P. Marine Academy, Navi Mumbai
  • Training Ship Chanakya, Navi Mumbai
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri College of Advanced Maritime Studies and Research, Mumbai
  • Euro Tech Maritime Academy, Pazhanganadu

Job Prospects and Career Options Available

Merchant navy fleets consist of container ships, cargo ships, tankers, bulk carriers, barge carrying vessels, passenger ships, refrigerators ships, roll-on/roll-off ships. With so many job opportunities, Merchant Navy can undoubtedly save a thousand souls from staying jobless.

Some companies which run merchant ships include Wallem Ship Management of Hong Kong, Chevron and Mobil of USA, Denholm of UK, Bibby Ship Management, K-Line, d’Amico, etc. Shipping Corporation of India, Essar, Chowgule Shipping and Great Eastern Shipping are some of the popular Indian shipping companies. You can search for vacancies in these companies.

Merchant Navy Job Profile

  • Deck officer (navigation officer)
  • GP Rating
  • Captain
  • Electro-technical officer (ETO)
  • Engineer
  • Ratings - Ratings are skilled seafarers who help all the officers with daily tasks
  • Catering & hospitality crew (pursers, stewards, chef, housekeeper etc.)

Salary of Merchant Navy Officers

Merchant Navy, one of the uppermost paying jobs in India as well as abroad. In the Merchant Navy, the salary can range from ₹12000 to ₹ 08 lakhs per month though the pay structure differs from company to company, city to city, and other additional factors. All crew members and officers are given free meals on board and senior officers can take along their wives for the voyage.

Here’s a quick look into the salary that you can get if you are pursuing a career in Merchant Navy in India.

Job Profile

Academic Background

Requisite Experience

Average Salary


Master (FG) Certificate of Competency

4 to 5 years of experience in the industry

₹ 8,65,000 to 20,00,000 per month

Trainee Cadet

Class 12 along with pre-sea Nautical Diploma

1-year pre-sea course

₹ 25,000 to 85,000 per month

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

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

Deck Cadet

Class 12 along with pre-sea Nautical Diploma

18 months of service at sea as a deck cadet

₹ 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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Note: Sailors shortlisting in merchant navy get tax free salaries, if, they spend 183 days of a year in international waters else the salary is taxable as per the laws of the Indian Government.

How to Prepare for Merchant Navy?

Students who are willing to join the Merchant Navy, make sure to consider these certain things while preparing for the entrance exam.

  • Make notes of all the important formulae and revise them.
  • Some numerical problems will require reading charts, tables, and graphs. Make sure you know the right technique for doing so. Practice it.
  • Questions belonging to Physics and Mathematics get maximum weightage. Understand these concepts clearly and practice as many questions as you can.
  • Make sure to prepare well all the topics.
  • Practice previous years question paper as much as you can, as this is the best way to score well. 

Useful Tips for Enhancing Merchant Navy Preparation During Lockdown

This year, every exam has been postponed and cancelled due to the record-breaking cases of COVID-19 in India. This will lead to a lot of trouble in the education industry, as all the state and national level exams have been delayed already. However, you got extra time for enhancing their preparation. Here are some tips to follow:

  1. In case you have left any difficult topic from the syllabus, catch up on it now. Also, you can get more grip on the weak sections.
  2. Keep revising the syllabus. Don’t lose touch with your studies. You can even make a study plan and follow it regularly.
  3. Keep practising last years’ questions papers.
  4. Appear for Mock tests and analyse your performance.
  5. Keep an eye on the official website for any updates.

Guide to Follow to Crack Merchant Navy Entrance Exam

The above-guided tips are to be considered while preparing for the exam, here are more tips to prepare for the complete exam:

Know the Syllabus and Pattern: The first thing to do while starting the preparation for the exam is to get familiar with the exam pattern and syllabus.

Make a Time-Table: Make a time-table and allot time for each subject. Prepare a timetable which you can follow daily. Include breaks in-between the study sessions.

Short-Notes: Make notes while studying the topics. The notes come in handy during the revision. You can go through these notes when any doubt arises on any topic. These short notes are also handy during the last-minute preparation.

Practice Previous Years Question Papers: Practicing previous years questions papers is one of the common things you will get from previous years’ qualifiers. Practice as many papers as you can. Practising the previous years’ papers will help you in understanding the pattern and identifying the important topics.

Best Books for Merchant Navy -

Here are some of the most recommended books for Merchant Navy India preparation. These books are suggested by subject experts and previous qualifiers. You can click on the book name to reach the purchase link for the book.

Merchant Navy FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. What is the Merchant Navy?

Merchant Navy includes ships that carry goods and people through the sea route. Merchant navy fleets carry Fuel, building materials, fruits, vegetables and all other imported items.

Q. How to join Merchant Navy?

In order to join the merchant navy, you need to fulfil all the basic eligibility criteria set by the officials and appear for the major entrance exams conducted to grant admission in Merchant Navy courses.

Q. How to join Merchant Navy after 10th?

Those who want to join the merchant navy after the 10th need to appear for the entrance exam and complete the eligibility norms as mentioned above.

Q. What are the advantages of joining the Merchant Navy?

A career in Merchant Navy offers:

  • High income (Tax-Free)
  • Quick promotions
  • Free accommodation and food while onboard
  • Long vacations
  • Travel experience

Q. What is the best time to join, after the 12th or after graduation?

The merchant navy programme itself is a graduation degree. Once a candidate completes his training, he is awarded a B.Sc. degree in Nautical Science by IMU. So, the best option would be to join the course after the 12th class. However, you can also join after graduation.

Q. Can I get financial assistance/loan for the course?

Yes, you can get loans for completing a merchant navy course. Once you get selected, you can enquire about the institute you wish to join about the financial assistance options available.

Q. What is the salary of the second officer in the Merchant Navy?

A second officer is also known as Chief Officer promptly gets ₹ 2 lakh on a monthly basis.

Q. What qualifications do you need to be in the merchant navy?

A candidate must be an Indian citizenship holder with a strong physique and acceptable educational background. Find the complete eligibility criteria in the Merchant Navy Eligibility section.

Q. What is deck cadet in merchant Navy?

A Deck Cadet is an officer post who has to learn all the basic duties on a ship.

Q. How to join Merchant Navy in India?

In India, you need to clear the entrance exam such as JEE Advanced, IMU CET, TMISAT, etc to get selected for the post.

Q. Are there ashore employment opportunities?

Yes, there are. If you plan to give up your career in the merchant navy after gaining experience, there are plenty of options for Chief Engineers and Captains in marine-related industries.


Neetu Parihar, August 23, 2022

Hi, I read your article about Merchant Navy Courses: Eligibility Criteria, Entrance Examinations, Courses, Top Colleges & Job Profile. You have written a detailed information which can be easily understandable to us. Thanks for your straightforward writing.

jyoti naidu, March 4, 2022

It was a fantastic blog about Merchant Navy

Dev , February 26, 2022

How I can to apply merchant Navy plz send me link sir

Ravi, December 10, 2021

Arts Students can apply this job?

Exams Planner, December 30, 2021

No. Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics are compulsory subjects for Merchant Navy.

Aswani R, August 1, 2020

Is degree need to join merchant navy.

Exams Planner, August 31, 2020

Please check the eligibility section above.

abi, April 21, 2020

i am really intrested in merchant navy will girls get good oppournity nd will i get job soon ...

Exams Planner, May 1, 2020

Yes, girls can get a good opportunity in the Merchant Navy.

Nargis fatma, January 23, 2020

Is merchant navy available for girls. I want to join this navy.

Exams Planner, January 25, 2020

Yes, girls can apply.

Akash Chavan , August 14, 2019

What is the procedure of join merchant navy

Exams Planner, August 27, 2019

Different entrance exams are conducted. You must check out the exams for selection procedure.

Ashika, July 3, 2019

What are the physical qualifications in order to join merchant Navy?

Exams Planner, July 12, 2019

The physical requirements are provided above. Details can be checked in the official notification.

Jasnoor , June 1, 2019

How to join merchant navy after class 12?

Exams Planner, June 12, 2019

You can check out the details here -