How to become Officer or Engineer from G.P. Rating | 2023

Many of us dream, but there’s something special about those who dare to dream with their eyes wide open. 

If you’re reading this blog, you’re one of those dreamers, and today, we’re here to discuss the challenges faced by individuals from a rating background who aspire to become officers. 

Join us as we explore the hurdles on this extraordinary journey.

What is the GP Rating course?

GP Rating personnel assisting in mooring operations
  • It is a 6 Month residential Course
  • G.P. Stands for General Purpose. It means that after completion of the course, you can either join the deck side or the engine Side as a Trainee Seaman or trainee wiper, respectively.
  • Candidates of the G.P Rating course can also be promoted to Officer Ranks after the completion of certain sea-time and clearing competency exams.

In this article, we will strictly restrict ourselves to the challenges faced while transitioning from G.P Rating to Officer levels,

You may read about the course in our other Blogs here: GP RATING – Merchant Navy Decoded

The Road Map(For a Deck Rating)

Roadmap of G.P. Rating to become Officers

Suppose you follow this Exact Same roadmap throughout your journey. Let’s Calculate an estimated amount of time it might take you to become an Officer

DescriptionTime Taken
Sea-time45 months (Roughly 4 years)
Function courses+Modular Courses+ Function ExamsRoughly Around (1-1.5 years)
Waiting Period for 5 voyages20 months (Assumed to be 4 months per voyage)
TotalRoughly 6-7 years!

 Note: This is data based on assumptions and rough estimates. Total time taken may vary due to circumstances. It is also assumed that exams are passed on the first attempt!

Let’s talk about the Challenges!


Before You start your journey, you need to know what hurdles you are going to face. This helps you analyze and watch your steps as you proceed. 

Here are some points to name a few:

1. You need a good amount of money

  • A major factor that comes into play is the fact that most of the G.P. rating candidates prefer to get a UK COC rather than an Indian COC(Certificate of Competency).
  • Let’s See the Basic difference between the two:
Easier to obtain as exams are easierTougher to obtain 
Total Cost – INR 10-15 Lakhs or higher.INR 1-1.5 Lakhs.

Figures may vary based on several factors.

  • These two factors are major and play a vital role in the decision-making process.

2.  Unpaid Waiting Period

  • The cost of obtaining a UK COC is already high. On top of it, the unpaid waiting period may create a hurdle.
  • You need to save well enough to bear the expenses of becoming an officer. That may not always be practicable for every individual. 

3. The Family Dynamics

4. Extensive Exams

  • Most G.P. rating candidates come from modest educational backgrounds and may find the higher studies required for passing the competency exams strenuous and challenging.
  • Even if you wish to obtain a UK COC, the process, documentation, and exams required are practically a long list

5. What do Companies prefer?

  • While most companies follow policies such as diversity and inclusion, there may be some top-notch companies that do not prefer an Officer from a rating background.
  • This is not an established fact but it is probable

6.  Just going with the flow.

  • Suppose you are an Able-bodied Seaman(AB), working for a good shipping company and earning a handsome salary. 
  • You might just get comfortable with your current economic status.
  • You might consider it to be a risk to your current situation to become an officer

7. What if I Fail?

  • The thought of ‘What if I Fail?’ may be the only factor stopping a rating candidate from dreaming big.
  • This thought is very particular to humans, even to the great ‘Arjuna’, and is totally valid.
  • One might have a lot at stake to obtain a COC from a rating background; financial struggle, family, time, resources, and whatnot. Hence, the fear is natural but can be dealt with with the right mindset.

There is a bright side too!

Overcoming the challenges with right Mindset

We have talked a lot about the challenges. Now let’s talk about ways to overcome them.

Before we do, Have a look at this article: Praneet Mehta on LinkedIn: Difference between a WINNER and a LOSER mindset !!!.

If you have read the above article, there are some key points that we may take out of Suhail Dabir’s remarkable story:

1. Never Stop Dreaming; It doesn’t cost any money.

  • If you ever had a dream of becoming an officer, always know there was a reason that you had it. 
  • Try to find your reasons that never let you quit.

2. Risk- Analysis

  • Dreaming big does not mean dreaming like a fool.
  • Weigh in your strengths and weaknesses and have a clear idea of what you are getting into
  • Do a thorough and informed research. 

3. Have a financial Plan right from the beginning

  • Starting early is any day better than Starting late 
  • You need to realize that you will need strong financial support. 
  • Take your chances only if the finance part is dealt with.

4. You need to work harder 

  • You will need to work harder than a deck cadet who has done a B.Sc or a DNS as a lot of concepts and terminologies will seem new to you.
  • With the proper amount of effort and revision, it is possible to pass the exams.

5. Shred off your ‘What if I Fail?’ mentality.

  • Convert this mentality into ‘What if I Succeed?’
  • Once you start thinking and believing this, your actions are bound to drastically change.

6. Do not give way to an inferiority complex

  • Remember the oceans do not discriminate.
  • No one is born with Officer-like qualities (OLQs). It is rather learned and inculcated with time, experience, and an Officer-like Mindset.


“Success is not what you have achieved. It is rather how far you have come”. With this being said, we hope that you have a clear insight into the challenges you might face if you wish to become an officer from a rating background.

You should now be better equipped with information and resources to help you guide throughout this journey. The path will never be easy. It will be challenging and may feel tiring as well. As already mentioned, you will need a winner’s mindset and proper decision-making abilities to make it happen.

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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Shashank Singh

Sir in 12th pcm I have 83%in pcm. My sea time has completed 40 month as a OS.I want to know process to give 2nd mate exam from India

Aman Manwal

Hi Shashank, glad to know that you have sought our help for your 2nd Mate journey. You can call us on 7417349336 and we will try to provide you with a satisfactory solution


First of all after 40 months how come you’re still an OS

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Nice information team
keep it up!!