Things To Know Before Joining Merchant Navy
Last updated on November 9th, 2023 at 11:00 am
Joining Merchant Navy is a dream for many across the country. But most people don’t know about the jobs and courses offered in the maritime sector. This is largely due to the lack of awareness regarding the shipping industry in our country. Most people still confuse it with the Indian Navy while others do not have proper information about it.
The Government and media have not done enough over the years to give the Merchant Navy fraternity of our country the due diligence and recognition that they deserve for their service. Due to this the majority of people in our country are still completely clueless about the maritime field and its contribution to the world economy.
It is really important to educate the masses about the shipping industry, the nature of their jobs, and the opportunities that it offers to young bright prospects. This will raise the standard of officers being provided by the Indian Maritime community to the world. In this blog, we will write about some of the things to know before joining merchant navy.
Merchant navy is a very dynamic profession and it requires candidates to possess certain skillsets before joining a ship. The maritime training institutes around the world try their best to inculcate some of these skillsets into the candidates during their courses. If you want to join these Maritime training institutes, they have certain educational requirements that need to be met. So do thorough research about the educational requirements of different institutes and try your best to meet them.
Seafarers have to meet certain medical requirements before joining a vessel. They have to sail for many months onboard ships with only basic first aid available onboard. Hence, they need to be medically fit before joining a vessel in order to avoid any inconvenience in the middle of their contract. They have to get themselves tested by a DG Shipping-approved doctor before joining a vessel or joining a maritime institute.
One of the most important things that you need to know about before deciding to join Merchant Navy is sponsorship. Shipping companies provide sponsorships to cadets who are able to clear their respective online tests and interviews. It is really important to get sponsorship before you join a Maritime training institute, as it ensures you 100% placement upon course completion.
Sponsorship basically means that a shipping company hires you for a job onboard their vessel, even before you have started your training. Upon successful completion of the pre-sea training, you will be placed on board their vessels.
Choosing The Right Course
You can join different departments of Merchant Navy through various courses. Some of the most popular merchant navy courses are –
- Diploma in Nautical Science (DNS)
- BSc in Nautical Science
- Graduate Marine Engineering (GME)
- B.tech in Marine Engineering
- GP Rating
You can become a deck officer through DNS and BSc in nautical science. On the other hand, you can become a marine engineer officer by pursuing GME or B.tech in marine engineering. By pursuing GP Rating you can become a deck/engine rating or a general steward in the salon department. Ratings are tasked with carrying out more menial tasks onboard such as cleaning, painting, de-rusting, and other tasks which require manual labour. Officers on the other hand are responsible for more important jobs onboard. They have more of a supervisory role onboard while performing watchkeeping duties, updating paperwork, and carrying out their respective individual duties.
Developing the Right Personality And Attitude
Seafarers have to sail onboard with the same 20 – 22 people for a contract of almost 6 months or even more. The hectic schedule onboard and longer contracts can sometimes give rise to conflicts onboard. Therefore, seafarers have to be mentally tough and maintain a positive attitude throughout the duration of their contract. There can be some really challenging days onboard which can test even the toughest men/women. Hence, developing the right attitude and mindset before joining this profession is really important.
Negligible Social Life
Seafarers have to live a completely isolated life when they are on board. Although the internet is available onboard, still it is not enough to fill in the void caused by the lack of human companionship. This can affect the mental well-being of a seafarer, especially, during longer contracts.
Many people outside the shipping industry and even some amateur seafarers have a misconception that the salary earned on foreign-going ships are always tax-free. However, this is not true, the salary earned onboard may not always be tax-free. There is a certain time period for which you need to serve outside India in order to get exempted from paying taxes on your earnings. In India, that time period is 183 days, which means that you need to serve on board for a period of more than 183 days in a financial year in order to be eligible to get exempted from paying taxes.
Round the Year Salary
One of the most common doubts that many people have is whether seafarers get paid salary round the year or not. There are two types of companies in the shipping industry, namely – Ship management companies and Ownership companies. Most of the shipping companies in the world are management companies. These are the companies that manage vessels owned by other companies, entities, individuals, etc. Most of these management companies offer employment on a contractual basis. This means that you only get paid for the tenure of your contract that you serve onboard. +
Then there are Ownership companies that possess ownership of their own fleet of vessels. Most of these companies pay salaries for the whole year to their employees. This means that seafarers get paid even when they are at home on a vacation. However, there is a certain time period for which they have to serve onboard. Also, there is a limit to the length of their vacation.
Although a career in Merchant Navy is fancied by many, however, it is not meant for everyone. Make sure to research properly about the shipping industry and life at sea before you make up your mind to join this profession. We have listed some of the most important things to know before joining merchant navy. Hence, take your time, and talk to people who have a vast experience in this industry. Then after you have analysed all the good and bad aspects of this career, join it with a proper mindset and attitude.
“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of, who do the things no one can imagine.”Alan Turing
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