Merchant Navy – A Glamourous Industry with lucrative Offers!

The charisma of Merchant Navy lies in its lucrative offers such as handsome salary, adventurous sealife and opportunity to visit different countries. Of course, rewarding and lures youngsters of India to opt for the career in Merchant Navy.

No doubt that Merchant Navy offers a glamorous career for you. But at the same time, it is a dynamic industry because of unpredictable market conditions. So it requires a lot of hard work and constant focus to establish a successful career in the Merchant Navy.

In this article, I tried to answer the most common doubts of beginners about the Merchant Navy. In case of any other doubts, please use the comment section below to get answered.

What is Merchant Navy?

The term Merchant Navy refers to the fleet of merchant ships engaged in commercial activities such as transportation of cargo and passengers via sea routes. It is also referred to as Merchant Marine or Mercantile Marine in some countries.


King George V coined the term Merchant Navy on the British merchant shipping fleets after their distinguished service in the First World War. Following that, the other nations also adopted this term to refer their commercial fleet of merchant ships.

Shipping is referred to as backbone of Global Economy as over 90% of the World’s trade is carried through sea transport.

Sea transport is the most cost-effective way to move the large mass of goods and raw materials around the world. As shipping becomes indispensable to the world, Merchant Navy plays a vital role in this ever-growing global economy.

PROs and CONs of Merchant Navy

Merchant Navy does have disadvantages. As a professional Mariner and from the seafaring background, I may be biased towards this field. Not everyone has the same perspective. So it’s up to you to analyse its pros and cons before you leap.



  • Handsome Pay-packages, with exemption from tax.
  • Opportunity to visit many countries without burning your wallet.
  • Enhances Personality and Professionalism.
  • Pollution-free environment.
  • Free accommodation and food while onboard.
  • Long vacations to spend quality time with family.


  • Lack of proper medical care.
  • Lack of social life.
  • Have to stay away from family for a long time.
  • Life at threat. You are at the mercy of Nature with those rogue waves surrounded.
  • 24/7 on duty. There is nothing like weekends as on land jobs.

There is no such profession without any cons. For me, the most struggling part with Merchant Navy is staying away from family. If you are the type of family sentiment guy, I recommend not to choose your career in Merchant Navy.

What are the different Career Options in Merchant Navy?

Maritime Industry is a major source of income and employment in many countries. It offers a wide range of career options. If you are looking forward to a career in the merchant navy, you need to under the Ship-board organizational structure.


The Captain or Master of the ship is the highest responsible officer, acting on behalf of the ship’s owner. There are three main departments on board ship, functions under the direct command of Master. It requires proper understanding and co-ordination between these departments for the overall smooth functioning of the ship.

  1. Deck department
  2. Engine department
  3. Catering department

Deck Department

The deck department is responsible for the safe navigation, cargo operations, and maintenance of deck, cargo holds, ballast tanks, hull etc. It usually comprises of the following crew members, but subject to change depends on the type and size of the ship.


  • Chief Officer (HOD)
  • Second Officer
  • Third Officer
  • Deck Cadet


  • Bosun
  • Able-Bodied Seaman (A.B)
  • Ordinary Seaman (O.S)
  • Trainee O.S
  • Deck Fitter

Engine Department

The engine department is responsible for the maintenance and operation of all machinery such as the Main engine, Auxilary engines, Boiler etc onboard. Same as deck department, it usually comprises of the following crew members, but subject to change depends on the type and size of the ship.


  • Chief Engineer (HOD)
  • Second Engineer
  • Third Engineer
  • Fourth Engineer
  • Fifth Engineer/Engine Cadet
  • Electrical Officer


  • Engine Fitter
  • Motor Man/Oiler
  • Wiper
  • Trainee Wiper

Catering Department

The catering department is responsible for the preparation of meals, inventory of provisions onboard and general housekeeping.

  • Chief Cook (HOD)
  • Trainee Cook
  • Steward

The Ship-board organizational structure may vary from company to company. However, the basic ranking hierarchy remains the same as explained above.

What are the Salary packages in Merchant Navy?

Merchant Navy is known for its attractive salary packages. However, it is not the same across the industry. It depends on factors such as nationality, company, type of vessel, rank, experience etc. Though I tried to give a rough salary scale based on Indian Seafarers pay range.


Rough Salary Scale for Officers

Deck Cadet (or) Engine Cadet300 – 800
Third officer (or) Fourth Engineer 2000 – 4000
Second officer (or) Third Engineer 3500 – 5000
Chief officer (or) Second Engineer5500 – 11000
Captain (or) Chief engineer 8000 – 15000
Electrical Officer 2500 – 5500

Rough Salary Scale for Ratings

Bosun (or) Fitter1400 – 1800
Able Seaman (or) Oiler1000 – 1400
Ordinary Seaman (or) Wiper600 – 1200
Pumpman1500 – 2500
Chief Cook1500 – 2500
Steward800 – 1400

How to join Merchant Navy?

If you are still with me, probably you intend to establish your career in Merchant Navy. In order to do that, you need to choose the department which I explained earlier in this post. Then you have to complete the relevant course from one of the DG approved colleges.

To get more details on the available courses, joining procedures, and fees structure, please read this in-depth post: How to Join Merchant Navy? – 2019 Updated details! (coming soon).

Last but not Least

You can never cross the Ocean unless you have the courage to loose the sight of the Shore.

Christopher Colombus

I believe not everyone can become a Sailor. It requires a lot of preparation, determination and sacrifice to establish a successful career at sea. I would like to end this post with a famous saying,


Please share your thoughts or suggestions in the comment section below.

1 thought on “Merchant Navy – A Glamourous Industry with lucrative Offers!”

  1. Such a well written blog! It was much east and fun to read and learn about Merchant Navy. You have mentioned the career options but what are the courses or qualification needed regarding joining these various depatments.””
    title=”Merchant Navy Career”>Career Options


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