The Ultimate Handbook: Unlocking Your Merchant Navy Career After 12th

  •  Content Writer : Prabhjot Kaur
  • 18-10-2023

Are you ready to embark on an exciting career journey? Do you wonder how to join the Merchant Navy after 12th? If yes, you are one of many in the same boat. Now, imagine traveling around the world, exploring the vast oceans and being a part of something important. It is the Merchant Navy!

The Merchant Navy offers an exclusive career option that can bring happiness and success. It doesn't matter if you are just starting school or have completed several years of education. In this guide, we will help you understand how to make a great career in the Merchant Navy. It's like an amazing adventure where you can learn and grow.

In the merchant navy, you can travel to different countries and earn good money. There are many interesting jobs you can do, such as working on large ships or managing important things on a ship. You can also choose to work on the deck, take care of the ship's engines, or help with food and cooking.

This guide will teach you all that you need to do to make a career in the merchant navy. We will tell you what you need to learn, what training you need to go through and how you can get selected for the job. 

So, if you're ready to embrace a dynamic and adventurous career, the Merchant Navy awaits you. Take the leap, follow your dreams, and unlock a world of opportunities on the high seas.

Difference between Merchant Navy and Navy


Merchant Navy



The Merchant Navy is primarily responsible for commercial activities, such as transporting cargo and passengers.

The Navy is primarily concerned with protecting a country's interests at sea.


The Merchant Navy focuses on facilitating trade and commerce.

The Navy focuses on defense and security.

Nature of Operations

The Merchant Navy primarily consists of civilian vessels operated by private companies.

It comprises Military Vessels.

Job Opportunities

1. Deck Department

2. Engineering Department

3. Catering Department

4. Electro-Technical Department

5. Radio Department

6. Other Roles

1. Operations and Combat Roles

2. Engineering and Technical Roles

3. Logistics and Support Roles

4. Specialized Roles

5. Disposal (EOD) Technician

Assessing Eligibility and Requirements

To join the Merchant Navy after 12th Science, here's how you can navigate the selection process:

Educational Qualifications: Educational qualifications include completing 12th grade with subjects like Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. 

Age limits: Entry-level positions in the Merchant Navy often have age restrictions to ensure that candidates are physically capable of handling the demands of life at sea. 

Physical Fitness: A good level of physical fitness, including eyesight and hearing, is essential to meet the job's physical demands and safety requirements.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications and licenses are crucial to validate competence in areas like firefighting, first aid, and navigation. They are mandatory for ensuring the safety and security of the ship, its crew, and passengers.

Exploring Specializations and Career Paths

The Merchant Navy offers a diverse range of specializations, each requiring specific responsibilities and skill sets. Here is an overview of some prominent specializations:

1. Deck Department:

   - Deck Officer: Responsible for navigation, ship handling, and cargo operations.

   - Navigation Officer: Ensures safe and efficient navigation using advanced instruments.

   - Watchkeeping Officer: Monitors vessel operations, including safety and security.

2. Engineering Department:

   - Marine Engineer: Manages the ship's engines, machinery, and propulsion systems.

   - Electro-Technical Officer: Maintains electrical and electronic systems on board.

   - Naval Architect: Designs, constructs, and oversees the shipbuilding process.

3. Catering Department:

   - Chief Cook: Prepares and manages high-quality meals for the crew and passengers.

   - Steward: Ensures cleanliness, provisions, and hospitality services on board.

   - Bartender: Manages the ship's bar and provides beverage services to passengers.

It is essential for you to identify your areas of interest and aptitude to choose the right career path. Consider your passion for navigation, mechanical systems, or hospitality. Reflect on your strengths, such as problem-solving, leadership, or attention to detail. Research the responsibilities and skill sets required for each specialization to align them with your interests and abilities. Choosing the right career path will allow you to excel and thrive in the Merchant Navy.

Planning Your Education and Training

For aspiring Merchant Navy professionals after 12th grade, there are various academic options to consider. Here are some common paths:

1. Bachelor's Degree Programs:

   - B.Tech. Marine Engineering

   - B.Sc. Nautical Science

   - B.Sc. Marine Catering

2. Diploma Courses:

   - Diploma in Nautical Science

   - Diploma in Marine Engineering

3. Pre-Sea Training Courses:

   - G.P. Rating (General Purpose Rating)

   - Saloon Rating

   - Deck Cadet Training

When it comes to training, it is crucial to choose reputable maritime institutes and academies that provide comprehensive education and hands-on experience. Some renowned institutions include:

1. Indian Maritime University (IMU)

2. Tolani Maritime Institute (TMI)

3. Academy of Maritime Education and Training (AMET)

4. International Maritime Institute (IMI)

By focusing on quality education, reputable training institutes, and practical training opportunities, aspiring professionals can lay a strong foundation for a successful career in the Merchant Navy.

Navigating the Selection Process

To join the Merchant Navy after 12th Science, you'll encounter a selection process that involves various examinations and assessments. Here's a list of common entrance examinations:

1. IMU CET (Indian Maritime University Common Entrance Test) - Tests your aptitude in subjects like Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, English, and General Knowledge.

2. Sponsorship Examinations - Conducted by shipping companies to select candidates for sponsorship programs.

3. All India Merchant Navy Entrance Test (AIMNET) - Assesses your knowledge in subjects like Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and English.

4. Company-Specific Written Examinations - Some shipping companies have their own entrance exams.

Quick Tips to Prepare for the Selection Process

- Brush up on core subjects like Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and English.

- Solve previous years' question papers and take mock tests.

- Enhance your general knowledge by reading newspapers and current affairs.

- During interviews

  • be confident
  • express your passion for the Merchant Navy
  • and, highlight your skills and experiences relevant to the industry

- Medical examinations and documentation are crucial. 

- Ensure you meet the medical standards set by the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), including eyesight, hearing, and general health. 

- Submit required documents such as educational certificates, identity proof, and medical fitness certificates.

Looking Ahead: Future Prospects and Opportunities

As you embark on your Merchant Navy career, the industry holds promising prospects and exciting opportunities on the horizon. The future outlook for the Merchant Navy is bright, with increasing globalization and expanding international trade creating a growing demand for skilled professionals. 

Emerging trends such as digitalization, automation, and eco-friendly practices are reshaping the industry, offering new avenues for career diversification. Embrace these changes by staying updated with industry developments, technological advancements, and environmental regulations. 

Continuously improve your skills and adapt to evolving demands, positioning yourself for success in a dynamic and ever-changing industry. The future of the Merchant Navy awaits, filled with endless possibilities and boundless horizons.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I join the merchant navy directly after 12th? 

A: Yes, you can join the Merchant Navy directly after completing 12th grade.

Q: What is the qualification for the merchant navy after 12? 

A: The qualifications for the Merchant Navy after 12th grade typically include completing the 12th grade with subjects like Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.

Q: What is eligibility for the merchant navy? 

A: The eligibility criteria for the Merchant Navy vary depending on factors such as educational qualifications, age limits, and physical fitness requirements.

Q: Is the Merchant Navy exam difficult? 

A: The difficulty of the Merchant Navy exam can vary based on the individual's preparation and aptitude, but it generally requires thorough study and understanding of the relevant subjects.

Q: What is the Merchant Navy salary? 

A: The salary in the Merchant Navy can vary depending on factors such as rank, experience, and the employing company, but it is known to be competitive and offers good earning potential.

Q: Is it easy to get into the Merchant Navy after 12th?

A: Getting into the Merchant Navy career after 12th grade requires meeting the eligibility criteria and successfully going through the selection process, which may involve entrance exams, interviews, medical examinations, and documentation. While it may not be easy, proper preparation and meeting the requirements can increase your chances of getting into the Merchant Navy.