Making a choice about one’s career is difficult. It involves a lot of ground work like online probing, undergoing career counselling, consulting people of experience etc. You should only be convinced once you completely understand the nature of work that you’ll be signing up for. There are often a 100 questions that come to your mind. The same is the case with Merchant Navy aspirants. Below we have tried to answer some of the common questions asked by merchant navy aspirants.
1. How difficult are the exams and the Pre-sea Training?
All fields require dedication and commitment for success. The exams and the Pre-sea training are no different. They are no walk in the park. You need to work hard and with dedication. Once the cadet-ship (including on-board training) has been successfully completed, aspirants are required to appear for the Certificate of Competency (COC) exams conducted by Mercantile Marine Department (MMD). Both theoretical and practical knowledge is tested in these.
2. Can people who have tattoos or piercings join the merchant navy?
This is another one common questions asked by merchant navy aspirants. Contradictory to popular belief, there is no restriction whatsoever to people having piercings and tattoos. Although, it is better if the tattoos are not easily visible. So, avoid tattoos on hands and neck.
3. Does Colorblindness matter?
Yes, it does! People having colorblindness can’t join Merchant Navy. The ability to distinguish between tones of colors is necessary. Both deck and engine department courses require candidates with no colorblindness.
4. Are officers allowed to go out and roam around in ports?
Yes, they often are. Seafarers are issued a “Shore Pass” at ports. This shore pass equips them to go ashore and look around. But let’s not mistake this with leisure time to explore each shore. There is no allotted free time for the ship’s crew. When vessels tend to have longer port stays, it will be convenient to go ashore without sacrificing the rest hours.
5. What is the kind of work Officers are required to do on-board?
Initially, as a trainee, the primary responsibility is to assist the senior Officers and to observe and learn the job. For each cadet there is a Designated Training Officer (DTO). This DTO is responsible for imparting training and sharing knowledge. Bridge Watching, Cargo Watching, Deck Jobs, Mooring operations are some of the responsibilities of Deck Cadets.
6. What kind of leisure activities are in place for Officers on board?
It’s not all work and no play. On board, there are various recreational activities for the officers. Although facilities vary from ship to ship. Many cargo ships usually include home theater with a DVD library, gymnasium, books and magazine library, swimming pool, video games, etc. Many ships also have indoor games facilities like table tennis, snooker, billiards etc.
7. How fast can one grow in the career ladder?
How fast you climb the career ladder depends on your hard work and performance. It also depends on the company and its policies. If we take the case of a highly motivated and hardworking individual, it would take
at-least 8-10 years for a career growth from Deck/Engine Cadet to Master/Chief Engineer.
Do you have more questions? Let us know and we will try to answer them to our best.