faster promotions on ship

How to Get Promoted Faster in Merchant Navy

If you are looking for information on what sort of jobs and promotions you can expect in Merchant Navy, then this post is for you.

Merchant Navy is one of the most challenging as well as popular careers. Merchant Navy jobs are in demand, and this post will provide you with all the information you need to increase your chances of a quick promotion onboard ship.

Navigating Officer during his watch hours on the bridge of the ship
Navigating Officer during his watch hours on the bridge of the ship


  • Your total achievements, the amount you are paid, and how quickly you get promoted will greatly be controlled by the level of admiration people have for you and want to help you.
  • Be the sort of individual your senior officers can rely on to take care of the responsibility assigned.
  • Learn and open yourself to challenges and always have clarity in the task that you do.
  • Remember to do small, yet important tasks with honesty and focus. Such as maintaining a TAR book (Training and Record Book), having a pocket diary to record the readings, and making hand notes while working on machinery.

The Plan of Action:

See the thing is, almost everyone gets a promotion, but the things mentioned here will give you an edge over the others. This will enhance your chances to be among the fastest to get a promotion. Apply these and you will see positive results yourself. Following are the strategies and procedures utilized by the most highly-paid and the best individuals in this domain. To get paid more for what they do and get promoted quicker to higher levels and ranks.

Rank distribution of Engine and Deck side of Merchant Navy Officers
Rank distribution of Engine and Deck side of Merchant Navy Officers

1. Evolve Positive Habits

Almost 85% of your accomplishments at work, regardless of how hard-working or talented you are, will be controlled by your attitude and your personality which are reflected by your actions. For example- Time is a powerful tool that can help you onboard ship. Develop a habit of doing things on time, and complete the tasks that you are assigned, which will make a positive impact on your crewmates and seniors.

2. Learn New Things Regularly

Ensure that you completely understand what is expected from you, work on it. Thereafter, get feedback for your work at regular intervals to see if you’ve addressed them. Do your job, let your work speak for you.

Be focused and have a learning mindset, observe and learn from your seniors. Don’t indulge in fun while working, as it is said in the workshop, “work hard in the shop, play hard away from it”. Which means while working, work hard and stay mindful, after that play hard (a lot) outside that premise. Pay attention to criticism.

  • Have a pocket diary to record the readings and make hand notes while working on machinery.
  • These hand notes will help you during your MEO (Marine Engineering /Engineer Officer) exams viva as well as in the written papers. As you will find questions from maintenance and repair at an operational level in the exam.

3. Develop a Learner Mindset

Evolve a Learner Mindset. Improve on your skills to become a notable person in your work life. For that, try to increase the efficiency of your work, do the jobs assigned to you more effectively. This will happen when you do a similar job repeatedly. For example – Taking sounding of tanks. After a certain time, you get more efficient in doing it.

Now, the next step is making less mistakes at your job, taking responsibility, and increasing the efficiency of your work. With experience, your clarity in work increases and you upskill yourself. Your skills will enhance, and you’ll get smarter at your job. Even your seniors will notice it, and you’ll receive positive feedback for it. This should be your objective.

An Engine Cadet Working on his Shift duty.
An Engine Cadet Working on his Shift duty.

4. The TAR Book

TAR book
TAR Book

TAR Book stands for Training and Record book.

It is basically for keeping a record of your sailing activities. It is needed for your onboard training, where the record of your work done is noted. From the time, you start your onboard training, you will perform some specific tasks as per your designation and those tasks will be written down in the TAR Book. After successful completion of these tasks, you will get the signature of your officer on the TAR Book.

When you appear for higher examinations and move further in your career, the TAR book will be used to check your capabilities of completing specific tasks onboard ship.

5. Prove Your Worth

Do you need a Promotion?

Nobody has ever got promoted on ship without proving their worthiness. Success is something one doesn’t get served on a plate with a silver spoon. For example- A Fourth Engineer has to absorb and apply all the technical knowledge to be worthy enough to fit into the Third Engineer’s role and likewise, a Second Engineer has to be entirely in control of the engine room onboard ship. These are the things that will help you get paid for what you’re worthy of. So, developing a reputation for speed and dependability will help you in that. Be the sort of individual your seniors can rely on to take care of the job quickly.

6. Believe in Yourself, Align Your Actions with Your Thoughts

Start believing that you are confident, capable, and deserve to get promoted. First, know all the duties of your current rank, say a TME (Trainee Marine Engineer). Then try and learn the duties of the rank you want to be promoted to i.e. 4th Engineer,  by practicing the mentioned ways.

First, learn what a 4th engineer does, for example- he is responsible for purifiers and compressors. Talk to your 4th Engineer about their job, ask them how they managed to get promoted. Ask them about the challenges they faced and the experience they gained.

It is a fact that almost everyone gets a promotion, but the things mentioned here will give you an edge over the others. Which in turn will enhance your chances to be among the quickest to get promoted onboard.

Apply these and you will see positive results yourself.

7. Get involved

Chief Engineer with the oiler rank onboard
Chief Engineer with the oiler onboard

Get involved in the work of the rank you want to be promoted to. Try to ask more questions and always clarify your doubts. In any healthy conversation, you can voice your suggestions to your immediate seniors within the hierarchy. Normally, it doesn’t have a huge impact, but it makes them consider that you are capable and deserve to get a promotion. Through all these things, trust will be established, which is the the most valuable thing onboard.

Also, every time you are working with new machinery or are handling a new task. Remember to take notes in your pocket diary.

A typical ship has 1-3 main propulsion engines and various sets of auxiliary machinery for a safe, efficient and economic transport of the cargo (oil, livestock, etc. ). Increase your knowledge about them.

Domestic water for drinking, washing and cooking is provided from the freshwater tanks to every individual’s room onboard ship with the help of the respective pipelines and pumps. The pipelines have distinct color codes, which indicate which group the substance of the pipe belongs to and what it is used for.

These are a few things a Person Working Onboard Ship must know.

Engine Cadet Working With 4th Engineer in the Engine Room.
Engine Cadet Working With 4th Engineer in the Engine Room.

8. Developing Healthy Interpersonal Relationships

Developing Healthy Interpersonal Relationships onboard

Attempt all your appointed duties earnestly and know the work environment you are in.

You need to grow at your work and become good at it in order to be an individual who can be trusted with a responsibility, whenever somebody needs to finish something timely. For instance, when your senior officer asks you for any specific document or a specific tool and you give it to him/her instantly, it creates a positive impression in their eyes.

9. Request What You Want

As maritime professionals stay together for a short period of time, unlike employees working in other fields so it would be a good idea to highlight the recent positive outcomes for a better consideration. Talk to your seniors onboard ship about the experiences you had and what you learned from them.

Go to your mentor and take their advice on how to improve yourself in order to become worthy of a promotion.

10. The Tested Plan of Action to Get Promoted Faster

Complete the work that you are assigned and try to do it efficiently. Henceforth, observe the duties of your immediate senior. For example, a 4th Engineer works more on purifiers and compressors. So as a 5th Engineer or a TME, you should make an effort to learn the working and maintenance of these purifiers and compressors. In case you find any issues with the functioning of these machineries then strive to resolve them. Such efforts will not only win the support of your 4th Engineer but will also help in building trust.

During this time, make an attempt to accept alarms, and troubleshoot if any. If your senior is opening any purifier/compressor, help him, and in return, you will learn a lot. Moreover, your efforts will be noticed by your super seniors.

There will be tough times too when you will feel demotivated, stressed, exhausted but remember, ” When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.”

These are the strategies and procedures that’ll help you get promoted quicker and rise to higher ranks.

Are you aware of any other important ways to get a better position onboard ships? If yes, please do share it with others in the comment box.

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