Why Seafarers Don’t Want Youngsters to Join Merchant Navy?


container vessel

Imagine you’re trying to choose a career, and you ask people who work in the Merchant Navy for advice. Surprisingly, many of them don’t recommend it, and they don’t explain why. This situation creates confusion for those interested in joining the Merchant Navy. 

This blog aims to explain why Merchant Navy professionals are often reluctant to recommend this career to others and why it’s so important to provide clear guidance for those considering it.

Why Merchant Navy People Not Recommending Other Peoples To Join Merchant Navy

Why are people sailing in merchant navy doing this ?

Why Merchant Navy Personnel Hesitate to Recommend Their Career


The relentless demands of long hours, physical labor, and prolonged isolation at sea, coupled with the constant threat of dangers such as piracy and hazardous cargo, make the merchant navy a challenging and potentially isolating career, leading some in the profession to think twice before recommending it to others.

Harsh Sea Life

  • The harsh sea life experienced by individuals in the merchant navy further underscores why some may not recommend this career. 
  • The relentless demands of long hours, rough weather, and grueling physical labor can lead to exhaustion and affect one’s overall well-being. Additionally, the constant threat of piracy, accidents, and the potential dangers posed by hazardous cargo contribute to the sense of risk and discomfort.
  • Moreover, the isolation and confinement on ships and prolonged periods away from home can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and detachment from the world onshore, which can strain personal relationships. 
  • The irregular schedules and uncertain durations of voyages can disrupt one’s work-life balance and make it difficult to maintain a stable family and social life. 

The demanding conditions of a life at sea, both physically and mentally, can be especially challenging for those unaccustomed to the rigors of hard work.

Emotional Toll of Being Away from Home

Away from the family in the merchant navy

Being away from home is one of the most significant challenges that merchant navy personnel face, which often discourages them from recommending this career. 

Here are three key points regarding the impact of being away from home:

Prolonged Separation: 

  • Merchant navy personnel typically spend months at sea, separated from their families and loved ones. 
  • The extended periods of separation can strain personal relationships and lead to emotional hardship for both the seafarers and their families.

Missing Milestones: 

  • Being away at sea means missing important family events and milestones, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and children’s school activities. 

Homecoming Uncertainty: 

  • Merchant Navy personnel often face uncertainty regarding when they will return home.
  • Unpredictable schedules and voyage durations can make it difficult to plan family time and maintain a stable work-life balance. This uncertainty can be stressful and disheartening for those left behind.

Merchant Navy is Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

Crew working onboard
  • A career in the merchant navy isn’t for everyone. The extended periods spent at sea, away from family and friends, can be emotionally challenging. 
  • The physically demanding work, unpredictable schedules, and the constant threat of piracy and hazardous cargo make it a profession with unique stresses. 
  • Moreover, the isolation and confinement on ships can lead to feelings of loneliness. The merchant navy lifestyle disrupts personal relationships and makes it difficult to be present for important family events. 

For those who value stability and a strong connection to their loved ones, the merchant navy might not be their preferred career choice.

The Ongoing Threat of Pirate Attacks

“Kanpur merchant navy officer among others held hostage in Guinea”

Kanpur merchant navy officer among other held hostage in Guinea
  • Pirate attacks on ships are a danger at sea. These pirates use weapons and tactics to threaten and rob cargo ships. They can be violent and even take sailors as hostages, causing a lot of problems for both the crews and the companies that own the ships. 
  • Dangerous areas for pirates include the waters near Somalia, the Gulf of Guinea, and the South China Sea. 
  • To fight piracy, there are patrols by naval forces, and ships also use security measures. But pirates keep finding new ways to attack, making it an ongoing problem for ships and their crews.
  1. Crew Involvement in MARPOL and SOLAS Lawsuits

“Chief Engineer Convicted in MARPOL Case After Crew Reports Discharges”

  • Maritime Executive (2023)
  • Crew members occasionally find themselves entangled in lawsuits related to MARPOL (Marine Pollution) and SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulations. These lawsuits typically revolve around alleged violations of these international maritime laws, such as improper waste disposal (MARPOL) or safety breaches (SOLAS). 
  • Crew members might face legal consequences or even personal liability if their actions are deemed responsible for non-compliance. 
  • Shipowners and operators can also become subject to lawsuits, which may result in financial penalties and damage to their reputations. 

The Need for Clear Advice to Aspirants 

I can't do it

When aspiring sailors set their sights on the Merchant Navy, they often find themselves sailing in turbulent waters of uncertainty. They have questions, concerns, and worries about what this career holds for them. To make informed decisions, they need clear, straightforward advice. Without this guidance, their dreams can feel adrift.

  • An Information Deficit Silence from Experienced Merchant Navy Officers

One of the reasons for this confusion is the surprising silence from experienced Merchant Navy professionals. They don’t readily recommend their line of work, and they don’t explain why. The silence creates a fog of doubt, making it hard for newcomers to chart their course. It’s like having a map without key landmarks.

  • Impact on Career Choices and Family Influence

This lack of clarity isn’t just a personal matter. It influences career choices and even family decisions. When young people hear unclear advice about the Merchant Navy, they might decide to pursue other careers. Parents, too, may discourage their children from this path, as they also face a lack of convincing reasons to support it.


In the vast sea of career options, the Merchant Navy stands out as a unique and intriguing choice. However, we’ve learned that there’s a need for those in the Merchant Navy community to provide clear guidance.

This is important because it empowers young and talented individuals to make well-informed career decisions. By offering honest and complete information, we ensure that those who choose a career at sea do so with their eyes open. It’s not about discouraging them but about making sure they understand what they’re getting into.

A career in the Merchant Navy is not just a job; it’s a life-changing decision. It’s a journey of adventure, exploration, and personal growth. 

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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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