Navigating the Change | Sea to Shore


  • Explore the world of sea-based jobs in the Merchant Navy, understanding their unique challenges and benefits.
  • Discover the key factors, signs, and steps involved in making a successful transition from sea-based roles to more stable onshore jobs, with real-life stories to inspire your own journey.

What is the Merchant Navy?

Merchant Navy jobs involve working on commercial ships that transport goods and people across the world’s oceans and waterways. People who work in the Merchant Navy are responsible for various roles on these ships, such as operating and maintaining the vessel, navigating it, and ensuring the safe transportation of cargo or passengers.

Ship sailing on the vast Ocean

We’ve previously published a comprehensive blog providing in-depth information about What is Merchant Navy. Feel free to check it out for a detailed overview.

What are Onshore jobs?

Shore jobs often referred to as “Shore-based “or “Onshore” are jobs in the maritime and shipping industry that don’t require working on ships at sea. Instead, these jobs are on land, usually in offices, ports, or places near the water. Shore jobs handle different parts of the maritime industry.

Shore Jobs

Advantages of Onshore Jobs over Merchant Navy Jobs 

  • Lower Risk

Shore jobs generally involve fewer physical risks and exposure to the elements compared to working at sea, enhancing safety and well-being.

  • Family Life

Shore jobs allow for more consistent and extended periods at home, making it easier to maintain relationships with family and friends.

  • Educational Opportunities

Onshore professionals can engage in continuous learning, attend industry seminars, and even teach and mentor the next generation of maritime workers.

  • Financial Stability

Shore jobs often come with more predictable income and financial stability, reducing the uncertainty associated with contract-based sea jobs.

  • Local Living and Emergency presence 

Onshore work often means living in or near your desired location, eliminating the need for extended stays away from home. You’ll be there along with your family in every bunch of happiness and trace of sadness.

  • Continuous Personal Learnings 

Onshore roles often provide access to ongoing training and educational programs, allowing professionals to expand their knowledge and skills in various maritime specialties.

Navy Officer and Port Authorities

In case you missed it, we’ve previously published a blog titled “Merchant Navy vs. Shore Job | Making the Career Choice.” Feel free to visit and explore it for valuable insights into choosing the right career path.

Signs it might be Time for a Transition

Officer communicating on Walkie-Talkie

There’s no perfect moment to shift onshore; it’s all about how you feel. Whether you’re a 2nd Officer, 3rd Engineer, or a Master, what matters most is your personal readiness. However, it’s worth noting that the opportunities and packages tend to be more lucrative for those in the top four ranks of the Merchant Navy.

  • Job No Longer Adds Value

When you find that your sea-based job no longer challenges you or adds value to your professional growth, it’s a clear signal that it might be the right time to explore onshore opportunities.

  • Career Plateau

If you find that your sea-based career has reached a point where opportunities for advancement seem limited and you seek new challenges, it’s a valid indicator to consider transitioning to an onshore job.

  • Family Priorities

Family matters! If you’ve been away from loved ones for extended periods and it’s taking a toll on your personal life, it might be the right time to prioritize family by transitioning to an onshore job that allows for more quality time with your loved ones.

  • Long-Term Goals

Dream big! If your long-term career aspirations align more with onshore opportunities, taking a step in that direction now could be the key to unlocking your future goals.

  • Waning Interest

If you’ve lost interest in your sea-based career and no longer feel passionate about the work, it’s a pivotal moment to consider transitioning to an onshore job that reignites your enthusiasm and engagement.

From Captain to CEO: Case study 

Capt. Rajesh Unni

Captain Rajesh Unni, the Founder and CEO of Synergy Marine Group, is a highly influential figure in the global maritime industry.

He started as a tanker captain and then moved to top ship management roles in Hong Kong and Singapore. In 2006, he founded his vessel ownership and management company, Synergy, which now oversees a diverse fleet of over 400 vessels.

Synergy also joined forces with the Danish company “Dampskibsselskabet Norden A/S” to manage Norden’s tanker fleet, using digitalization to enhance efficiency.

Captain Unni believes in the shift from analog to digital in shipping. He co-founded Alpha Ori Technologies (AOT) in 2017, specializing in digital vessel monitoring. AOT’s SMARTShip software has been approved by ClassNK and is used on over 100 ships.

Education is a passion for Captain Unni. He holds a Class 1 Master Mariner degree and completed the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School.

He’s actively involved in various organizations and boards, including the North P&I Association, and he’s known for his philanthropic work through the Synergy Educational and Charitable Trust, focusing on poverty alleviation and community empowerment.


  • When is the right time to transition from a sea-based job to an onshore job?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The right time varies for each individual and depends on personal goals and circumstances. It’s essential to assess your own situation, considering factors like career goals, financial stability, family, and personal preferences.

  • What are the advantages of shifting to onshore jobs from sea-based roles?

Shifting to onshore jobs can offer benefits such as improved work-life balance, stability, and the opportunity to explore a broader range of career paths. It can also be a way to leverage the skills acquired at sea in different industries.

  • How do I know if I’m ready to make the transition?

Signs that you may be ready for a transition include feeling stagnant in your current role, waning interest in sea-based work, or a strong desire for a more stable lifestyle. Ultimately, the decision should align with your career goals and personal circumstances.

  • Can transitioning to an onshore job lead to higher earning potential?

Onshore job options, especially in management and specialized industries, often offer competitive salaries and the potential for career growth, potentially leading to higher earning potential in the long term.

  • Is it possible to return to sea-based jobs after transitioning to onshore roles?

Yes, it’s possible to return to sea-based jobs if desired. Many professionals have flexible career paths that allow them to transition back and forth between sea-based and onshore roles as their circumstances change.


Ship waiting at California

Whether you’re a 2nd Officer or a 3rd Engineer, or even a seasoned Master, what matters most is your readiness. The factors we’ve discussed include career objectives, financial stability, family considerations, health and well-being, market trends, skill transferability, and more. All of these factors play a crucial role in making an informed decision.

Remember, your journey is your own, and there is no right or wrong time to embark on it. What truly matters is your happiness, fulfillment, and the pursuit of a career that brings you joy.

In our upcoming blog, we’ll delve even deeper into the world of onshore jobs, exploring the myriad possibilities that await you. We’ll provide you with valuable insights and guidance for a successful career shift, from industries that highly value maritime skills. Our aim is to make your transition as seamless and rewarding as possible.

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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[…] But before that, if you are in a dilemma of joining a shore job or not then our previous blog is for you. So find out if it is the right time to shift onshore or not. […]