About Merchant Navy

A Merchant Navy or Merchant Marine is the fleet of merchant vessels that are registered in any country and deals with transporting cargo and passengers by sea. There are different positions that an aspirant can apply for in this particular field depending on his/her qualification.

Merchant Navy is an exciting & adventurous career option. This profession will take you to around the world by sea on huge ships and sailing vessels. Maritime studies programmes prepare students for a variety of careers in the civilian maritime industrial and service sectors.

The role of a Merchant Navy officer is constant- construction, operations and maintenance of the engine room being the main obligations. There are many opportunities in both the private and government sectors for graduates. After finishing their studies, they work on cargo ships, container ships or oil and gas tankers.

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Top Colleges

There are many top colleges across the globe which offers this course. We have come up with a comprehensive table of the best countries and colleges along with the study duration and annual fees.

Following are some of the countries which have the best universities for Merchant Navy:


United States Coast Guard Academy | United States Naval Academy | University of Michigan


University of Strathclyde | Newcastle University | Cornwall’s College of the Ocean


TS Chanakya-Mumbai | Marine Engineering Research Institute- Kolkata | Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)

Note: Different countries have their own Merchant Navy rules and academies so it becomes necessary to enrol in the appropriate academy as required by the nation’s merchant marine laws to get the required qualifications.

Career Prospects

The career prospects of a Merchant Navy aspirant are vast. After having sailed in the ships starting as a trainee, and going up the hierarchy slowly, young officers can hope to become captain or chief engineers, depending upon selection of the branch. The officers can also opt for shore assignments as port pilots, surveyors, lecturers, safety auditors, shipping company management professional, technical shipping management organisations, and slowly rise up to secure top management positions, or can even show entrepreneurial skills to become a ship owner.

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Jobs & Salary

The ship companies which hire individuals are categorised into passenger ships - which carry passengers, cargo ships - which carries cargo in solid, liquid and gaseous forms and specialised ships which carry sensitive materials. Merchant Navy is one of the most promising and rewarding field. Merchant Navy officer’s income mostly depends upon their qualifications, experience and organisation.

Pros & Cons

Following are the advantages of being a Merchant Navy officer:

  • Time off is measured in weeks and months - not just days
  • Your days would be challenging and rewarding
  • You can quickly gain responsibility and a salary to match your seniority
  • There is a lifetime of personal development opportunities

Following are the disadvantages if being a Merchant Navy officer:

  • Though highly paid, the work is very demanding
  • You always have to stay physically fit to take the kind of physical and emotional stress related to the job.

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