how to join merchant navy

How to Join Merchant Navy

Joining the Merchant Navy can be a fulfilling career choice for those who are interested in a life at sea. Here are the steps to follow to join the Merchant Navy:

  1. Determine your eligibility: To join the Merchant Navy, you must be between the ages of 17 and 25 and have completed 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics as core subjects. You must also be physically fit and have good eyesight.
  2. Choose a course: There are several courses available to join the Merchant Navy, including the Bachelor of Science in Nautical Science, Bachelor of Technology in Marine Engineering, and Diploma in Nautical Science. Choose a course that suits your interests and career goals.
  3. Apply to a Maritime Institute: There are several Maritime Institutes in India that offer courses in the Merchant Navy. Some of the top institutes include Tolani Maritime Institute, Mumbai, International Maritime Institute, Delhi, and Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies, Mumbai. Research the institutes and their courses thoroughly before applying.
  4. Pass the entrance exam: Maritime Institutes conduct an entrance exam for admission to their courses. The entrance exam tests your knowledge of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and English. Prepare well for the exam to increase your chances of getting admission.
  5. Clear the medical examination: Candidates for the Merchant Navy must undergo a medical examination to ensure they are fit for a life at sea. The medical examination includes a physical check-up, blood tests, and vision and hearing tests.
  6. Complete the course: Once you have been admitted to a Maritime Institute, you must complete the course successfully. The courses include theoretical and practical training in various aspects of the Merchant Navy.
  7. Get a job: After completing the course, you can apply for jobs in the Merchant Navy. Some of the top employers in the Merchant Navy include shipping companies, oil and gas companies, and ports and harbors.

Have you finally decided to join a career, which will bring you a life full of adventure, where you get to travel all around the globe and work with people of different countries and cultures while earning tax-free income? Merchant Navy has proven to be a career that checks all those boxes. This blog will tell you how you can join the merchant navy and live your life as a seafarer.

How to Join Merchant Navy

Career in Merchant Navy

The merchant navy serves as the backbone of global trade as the majority of world commerce is carried out through sea routes. The professionals that work onboard these merchant’s vessels are known as seafarers or mariners. They are the workforce that upholds the responsibility of the whole ship. 

The professionals serving onboard are mariners who belong to the rank of officers or ratings. They join ships either through the deck department, engine department, or saloon department (catering). If you too want to become a part of this proud seafaring community, keep reading the blog to know HOW.

How to Join?

merchant navy colleges
courses to join merchant navy

There are multiple ways of joining the merchant navy, depending upon whether you are a student who has completed their class 10th, 12th, or is already a graduate.

Students need to complete a ship-training course to join the ship. The admissions take place through an entrance examination and a screening test. There are some basic medical requirements that one has to fulfill before one can join the course. Following are the courses one can opt for depending upon their educational qualification. 

Join Merchant Navy as an Officer

Join the Deck Side-

navigation bridge
deck officer in merchant navy

After completing class 12th with Physics, Chemistry, and Maths along with English, interested aspirants can appear for The Indian Maritime University Common Entrance Test (IMU CET). The exam is conducted every year in the month of May or maybe December. Read our blog to know how to prepare for IMUCET- blog

Join the Engine Side-

engine room
join merchant navy through the engine side

1. Marine Engineer:

One can become a marine engineer by pursuing a degree course in Marine Engineering.

  • After clearing class 12th with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics one can opt for a marine engineering degree from one of the DG Shipping-approved marine training institutes in India.
  • You can also do B.E/B. Tech. in Marine Engineering after doing mechanical engineering or equivalent and joining through lateral entry.
  • Those who have already completed their B.Tech in mechanical engineering can further join the merchant navy through Graduate Marine Engineering which is a 1-year course.
  • Another option is to do a Diploma in Marine Engineering (DME). Check eligibility here.

2. Electro-Technical Officer (ETO):

To become an Electro-Technical Officer (ETO), you have to do a 17-week mandatory pre-sea training course for ETO on merchant ships along with 8 months of onboard training. Check eligibility here- ETO.

Join Merchant Navy as a Rating-

join as a gp rating in merchant navy

After completing class 10th with English, Science, and Mathematics or 12th in any stream one can enroll in a General Purpose Rating Course. Once a candidate is eligible, he/she can appear for Common Entrance Test (CET), after which they will be able to select their desired college based on their rank. A few universities invite candidates to appear for an online test and an interview. Thereafter, clearing it one can join the engine department as an Engine Rating through a pre-sea GP Rating course for Fitters/Welders.

Eligibility- The aspirant should pass a two-year Industrial Training Institutes course certified by DVET (Department of Vocational Education and Training) / NCVT (National Council of Vocational Training) as a Fitter / Machinist / Mechanic / Welder / Turner with a least 40 percent total mark in the final year of ITI and a minimum 40 percent in English in 10th / 12th.

Merchant Navy Medical Test-

The candidates must be physically and medically fit to finally be able to clear the medical examination and become a part of the maritime workforce. Following are a few tests that are included in the medicals, along with the basic requirements.

  • The BMI of the candidate should be in the optimum range (more than 18 and less than 25). 
  • Blood tests and carried out to measure blood count, hemoglobin, cholesterol, kidney functions, liver functions, etc.
  • To make sure the candidate is physically fit a few other tests like Ultrasound, x-ray, ECG, etc are done.
  • Physical conditions like knock knees, fractures, and prostheses do not pose an issue until the physical capabilities of the individual do not get hampered. 
  • The blood pressure of a new-joiner should be below 150/90, without medicines.
  • All freshers need to be non-diabetic, in order to pass the medical test.
  • If a candidate suffers from asthma, he/she can still join, if the condition is manageable without the intake of medicines.

Detailed information will be provided by the medical practitioner for each test and relaxation if any. 

Eyesight for Merchant Navy-

merchant navy eyesight
Eye examination to be carried out by a DG Shipping-approved doctor
  • Deck Department: The requirement is 6/6 in the better eye and 6/9 in the other eye.
  • Engine Department: Vision distance 6 /12 in each eye; or 6/ 9 in the better eye or 6/18 in the other eye.
  • Catering Department:  6/18 in each eye; or 6/12 in the better eye and 6/24 in the other eye.

Ishihara test chart tests the normal color vision of a person. Color blindness is not allowed.

Ishihara Test
Ishihara Test

Merchant navy might look like a very glamorous career option from the outside, but it can be very physically and mentally challenging. That is why each candidate should conduct detailed research about life at sea, before joining. Merchant Navy is unlike a normal desk job where you return home after each day’s shift. Only if you are genuinely interested and can stay in this profession for a long-time, only then you should select it as your career. If you are someone who is ready for the challenge, the merchant navy can be a great career choice that can bring you immense success.

The most important point to keep in mind when joining merchant marine services is to stay clear of fraud agents and universities. There are only a few universities that we at Merchant Navy Decoded suggest, you can find the college details for each course in their respective blogs, linked throughout the blog.

All the best! See you onboard!

If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun.

A.P.J Abdul Kalam

If you want to know about IMUCET and how to join the Merchant navy, you can contact.

JMDi Academy

Contact no:                           +919051206790, +917417085906
JMDi Academy’s Result
IMUCET Decoded Telegram Group

Disclaimer :- The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Merchant Navy Decoded. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided and disclaim any responsibility for it. Data and visuals used are sourced from publicly available information and may not be authenticated by any regulatory body. Reviews and comments appearing on our blogs represent the opinions of individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of Merchant Navy Decoded. We are not responsible for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on these reviews or comments.

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Naman khanotiya


Naman khanotiya

Naman khanotiya


Dear Sir/madam,

my name is Arun sreedharan. accomplished and reliab cooking with over 2 years experience and skills gained from commis chef (junior chef) in Hotel airlink castle cochin kerala

I hold INDIAN COC and Orientation courses for catering personnel (occp) and indian CDC.

Bsc hotel management and tourism

Any vacancy for my rank Gs

Thanks and regards

Arun sreedharan

mobile number +91 7560803209

Email id

Praneet Mehta

Hi Arun, hope you doing well.
We are really sorry to inform you that as of now, we do not deal with any vacancy queries.

-Team merchant navy decoded

Sashi kanth

I want to join in merchant navy I love merchant navy I completed my inter and I usually trying to join in merchant navy
But i don’t know how to join in merchant navy im waiting for your official link to apply for merchant navy
I usually waiting fir to join the merchant navy
Love the merchant navy

Praneet Mehta

Please contact – 9051206790

Chauhan Vivek

Can I join merchant Navy with 12th commerce

Praneet Mehta

Yes Vivek, to know how to join the merchant navy from a commerce background, read this blog.

– Team merchant navy decoded

Chauhan Vivek

Can I join merchant Navy with commerce stream

Praneet Mehta

Yes Vivek, to know how to join the merchant navy from a commerce background, read this blog.

– Team merchant navy decoded


I’ve done my 10th and completed diploma in electrical of 3yrs course how can i join in merchant Navy..? What should I do next

Praneet Mehta

Hi shiva, you can join merchant navy by doing ETO course.
Kindly check the eligibilty criteria for ETO here.

– Team Merchant Navy Decoded

[…] How to Join Merchant Navy […]

[…] How to Join Merchant Navy? […]

Raman Raj

Hello sir
I have done M.Sc in Physics and I am 25 years 8 month now. Can I am eligible for any course?

Aman Manwal

Hi Raman, unfortunately, you age already above the age limit. However you can go for GP Rating, but we don’t suggest you to go for it. If you want more guidance about the GP Rating then you can check out our free GP Rating Guidance Series/. For personalized guidance you can call us at 7417349336.