June 5, 2024

Merchant Navy: Do You Have These 5 Qualities?

Joining the merchant navy is not an easy decision. Due to the niche nature of this profession, there are very few information sources that can describe the lifestyle and job description of a naval officer or engineer. The field is undoubtedly very challenging in terms of working hours and technical knowledge. However, for people who are passionate about life at sea and curious about marine equipment and machinery, this stream can mean a lifetime of excitement and exploration.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you decide to join the merchant navy 

Physical Health  

Life at sea can be very physically taxing. The wild waters are well known to push human beings to their limits and test their endurance. This is why most merchant navy courses include an extensive physical and mental testing system to ensure that all eligible candidates have what it takes to perform in high-pressure situations. 

Apart from the tests conducted before joining, most naval staff has to undergo regular testing to keep their fitness in check. Along with overall fitness and health, good eyesight is also a major factor while planning to join merchant navy. Failing these tests could lead to the termination of your contract or removal from the maritime course that you are enrolled in.  


It is not easy having nearly no social life and being away from friends and family for prolonged durations. For some, this could turn into frustration, temper and resentment with the job and the people around you. This is why it is vital to have the right personality and emotional quotient to keep yourself composed in various situations. Panicking on board can result in the escalation of situations that could have easily been kept under control. 

A person joining the merchant navy must also learn about new cultures and accommodate new people in their daily lives whenever necessary.  


As with most skilled professions, all candidates must ensure that they have the required qualifications before they can join merchant navy. Officials are required to have the right skill set to perform specialized tasks on board. Technical knowledge and real-life application must go hand in hand for people that work in this field. India has a variety of options when it comes to maritime studies. These colleges offer various courses that can translate into multiple types of jobs on the sea. 

Based on your experience, area of interest and qualification, you can choose from an array of jobs like radio officer, first mate, second mate, marine engineer, chef, able-bodied seamen and a lot more. Every government has a different set of requirements for every job on the sea and you are eligible to apply for any of these jobs as long as you abide by the requirements. 

Decision Making  

The sea is a highly unpredictable terrain that presents new and unseen stories every day. People who work at sea must think on their feet and make rational decisions even when it may seem challenging to think straight. In case of accidents, equipment breakdowns and other anomalies, the marine staff is entrusted with handling the mishap in the best way possible. 

As the ocean is used for international trade and defence purposes, every minor lapse can cause losses of thousands of dollars every hour. Taking good decisions to keep the safety of the ship, its passengers and the well-being of the stakeholders is a complex but important job done by the merchant navy workforce.  


One person can do nearly no job on the sea on their own. All complex tasks require a healthy collaboration between people with different areas of expertise. Having a positive attitude and the willingness to work in a team can go a long way in the growth and prosperity of a naval officer. Life on the sea teaches you new things every day, and having people to share your experiences can make work feel more normal. It can be surprising how much your peers can teach you. Keeping an open mind and a constant thirst for knowledge will help you fit in well and also enable you to excel at your job.  

If you think you have what it takes to thrive in the merchant navy, go ahead and take the first step by applying to a maritime institution today! The water has a wide range of experiences to offer, and it promises never to let you go a day in your job feeling bored or complacent. Life in the merchant navy is filled with curiosity, opportunities to learn, hardships, camaraderie and most importantly, honour. Although life in the merchant navy is not for everyone, it can be the perfect atmosphere for the people who are cut out for it!