Thinking of joining the Merchant Navy? It is a great career option but only a few people consider it for their future growth. Therefore, you need to keep certain things in mind to make it your career.

If you have already decided to make a career in the Merchant Navy, you got to be aware of some essential points before looking for colleges. In this article, we have given a step-by-step guide to choosing Merchant Navy as a career option. But before that, let’s discuss its eligibility criteria.

Eligibility to Join the Merchant Navy

Here are certain things that make you eligible for joining the Merchant Navy:

AGE: You should be of a minimum of 17 years of age. The maximum age to be eligible for examination is 25 years. As per the Indian Government rules, there are 5 years of age relaxation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

PHYSICAL FITNESS: When you decide to choose Merchant Navy, physical fitness is crucial. A certificate of fitness is mandatory from a registered medical practitioner. Any candidate with a disability is not eligible for taking admission into the courses related to the Merchant Navy.

EYESIGHT: Eyesight must be good of the candidate. So, he/she must bear 6/12 in each eye or 6/18 in an eye for distant unaided vision, and 6/9 in the better eye. Colour blindness is NOT PERMITTED.

Both genders are permitted to join the merchant navy. Female candidates are more encouraged to join the merchant navy. But individuals must be unmarried at the joining of the course. And, the board pursued in Class X and Class XII must be recognized by the Government of India.

For an officer grade, it’s important to have a minimum of 50% marks in English and an aggregate of around 60% marks in Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics. But for the ratings, the requirements are different with 40% marks in English in Class X and XII, along with Mathematics and Sciences in any stream. The same goes for anyone planning to join the catering department at the sea.

However, the eligibility criteria may differ in certain institutes. So, it is advisable to check the desired institute’s website for confirming the specific requirement to take admission in different merchant navy courses.

Although so many institutes are offering courses for the merchant navy, you must check their legitimacy, for some institutes trick individuals to invest their money in their course without any placement guarantee. Some institutes even offer promises of better placement. But you cannot take that as a guarantee for getting employment. There is a difference between 100% placement and 100% placement assistant. So, check their criteria and verify them before joining any institute.

Step-by-step Guide to Joining Merchant Navy:

Now that you’re aware of the eligibility criteria for the Merchant Navy, let’s discuss the step-by-step guide for joining this field.

Step 1: Consult someone who is in Merchant Navy 

Since it is crucial to be aware of your career field, it’s important to discuss the same with someone who is already in the Merchant Navy. If any acquaintance of yours is in the Merchant Navy, you need to discuss with him/her about the way to get into their field. And, also ask about their experience and what all areas could offer you a better job opportunity in the Merchant Navy.

Step 2: IMU CET

IMU is the largest maritime University in India. IMU conducts the IMU-CET Exam twice a year, i.e. December and June. Students who have been promoted from Class XII in PCM are eligible to appear in the IMU-CET examination. You may apply for the IMU CET directly via the IMU website. But one thing you must know is that your aggregate marks in PCM must be at least 60%.

Step 3: Scholarship for Merchant Navy Job

According to the latest DG shipping rule, all the eligible cadets joining the merchant navy must get their scholarship before joining. It is a great step that the government has taken to reduce unemployment in the country. Certain colleges have good connections with companies. So, they can offer you scholarships themselves. Or you have to visit a certain company for an interview for a scholarship.

Step 4: Look for the Best Merchant Navy College

After passing the IMU-CET exam and, you will be allotted various government colleges based on your ranking for admission. For counselling, if you are not allocated a government college, don’t stress. In this industry, both government and private institutes rank equally. However, some private colleges are known to offer better placements than government colleges. Therefore, you have to search for colleges based on their placement criteria and reputation. If you pass Merchant Navy from a good college, there are chances of getting better placements with a good salary.


Merchant Navy is a demanding career option, especially due to the complex placement nature of the shipping industry. So, you need to be aware of its current status when planning to choose it as a career. Employment is not that easy in this field. Therefore, you need to excel at eligibility criteria to get admission to top merchant navy courses and also for better employment opportunities in Merchant Navy.

By Adam

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