Educational qualification: The minimum eligibility for courses in Nautical science and Marine engineering is 10+2 or an equivalent examination with physics, chemistry and mathematics. He should also pass a medical fitness test for sea service under standard norms and with eyesight 6/6 with no colour blindness.
Candidates wishing to enter the navigational and engineering fields of Merchant Navy need to complete a Bachelors degree in Nautical Science or Marine engineering, before they can gain admission to the field.
Selection: Candidates are selected for the B.Sc. Nautical Science degree of TS Chanakya, Mumbai; and the four-year Marine Engineering degree course at Marine Engineering Research Institute, in Calcutta and Mumbai, known as DMET, through the Joint Entrance Examination conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), which assesses the candidate’s knowledge of physics, chemistry and mathematics. The examination is followed by personal interviews/counseling, where the interviewers assess the degree of alertness, and awareness of the external environment, in the candidates and their suitability for a career in the Merchant Navy.
The entry level for a fresh Marine Engineer (ME) is at the rank of fifth engineer or junior engineer and a Nautical Science graduate is as a Deck Cadet. Promotions depend on further examinations conducted by the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), the quality of experience and personal merit. On successfully completing these examinations the candidate receives the 'Certificates of Competency' needed for promotion to the respective classes. This examination is conducted by the Ministry of Surface Transport, in association with the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) Mumbai, for determining the promotion prospects for the officers.
Direct entry to Merchant Navy is also possible - students who have completed their 12th with PCM (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics) are eligible to join as Deck Cadets and a student holding a bachelor's degree in Mechanical/ Electrical/ Technology Engineering could also join the Merchant navy as a Engine Cadet/ Fifth Engineer/ Junior Engineer. Direct entry Deck Cadets are required to undergo basic pre-sea training arranged by the recruiting company itself and the direct entry Engineering cadets are preferred to do a Pre-sea course of 9 months duration in Marine Engineering conducted by the MERI.
Personal attributes: A career in the merchant navy requires people with strong inner self and tough physical form, along with a sporting, adaptive and adjustable attitude. Willing to take on responsibility, love for adventure and challenges; have the urge to strive for higher positions; be able to work as well as study for examinations in between. Candidates need to be intelligent, intuitive, willing to work as a team, flexible, patient; have a liking for solitude, willing to live apart from loves ones for long stretches of time. Those opting for a career should not be sea sick.
Engineers need to be resourceful and practical; skilled at Maths and Physics; have in-depth knowledge about the workings of the different machines. Manual dexterity is a must; one should be willing to learn new ways and work with modern technology; and able to work in the deck department as well if need arises.