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History of Maritime Education in India

“The Wind to a sailor is what money is to life on shore.” – Sterling Hayden

Since time immemorial sailors and Seafarers have dedicated their life and time to sea. Trade, war, protecting the coasts; the history of any nation is incomplete without its seafarers. We, the common people, only know about the sacrifices they made on board, but do we know how they are being prepared for the tasks they have to take up once they set sail? Do we have any knowledge about Maritime Education in India? Apparently no. Most people in India do not have even the slightest idea on how the maritime education has evolved in our country. So, here we will enlighten you with the historical perspective of maritime education in India.

The beginning

If we sail back in time, we uncover that no formal education was needed to be a sailor back then. Rather a hunger for adventure, a heart filled with courage, and ecstasy in playing with imminent danger was more essential than any other knowledge. Back then it was an art, not a science. But as time changed, so changed the situation. Previously, sailors depended on the position of stars and moon, but now that role has been taken over by sextant and different chronometers.

These gradual developments have triggered the evolution of a formal and constructive education system for Seafarers in India. In order to use different gadgets while on board, one needs valuable scientific knowledge. All these things have led to the growth of maritime education globally as well as maritime education in India.

The past of sailors and sailing can be traced back to the Indus valley civilization when trading was done with Egypt and Mesopotamia. Eastern coast, Kalinga had trading relation with many Asian countries. However, a new era in India started after East India Company’s arrival.

Beginning of Formal Education

The first maritime training center was started by Ismail Yusuf in Bombay. He was the proprietor of Bombay Navigation Company in 1910 at Worli. Later it shifted to Nhava. It was the first Maritime education institute in South East Asia. In 1972, it was renamed as Training Ship Rehman.

The first government initiative was taken in 1972. Royal India Marine’s largest troopship was converted to a marine training center and was named ‘Training Ship Dufferin’. TS Dufferin trained almost 3000 students before it was decommissioned in 1973. It was then replaced by Training Ship Rajendra, which had the ability to train 250 cadets at a time. However, by 1980, Training Ship Rajendra was decommissioned as well, and an advanced ship with higher capability came– Training Ship Chanakya.

Emergence of IMU-  Indian Maritime University

Since the emergence of TS Chanakya, maritime education in India has traveled a long way. In 2008, by the act of Parliament, Indian Maritime University was established in Chennai to impart higher as well as basic education to students seeking careers in shipping.

However, apart from IMU, India has many different universities across the country, but not every institution is perfectly capable. It is essential to check an institute’s affiliations before starting your maritime educational  journey with them.

The Maritime Academy established recently in the northern hilly region of India is an up and coming institute promoting practical education for students aiming for a career at sea. For career guidance and counselling for maritime education in India and abroad, a student can approach TMC Shipping. It has been guiding students concerning careers in merchant navy since 2003.


If you are a sailor or a sailor’s spouse and have a story, pictures, video, or article that you would like to share with the world, email us at For any information, feedback, queries or suggestions feel free to email us at


Subharthi Bhattacharya

Hey, Subharthi here! Currently pursuing B.A. LL.B. from Calcutta University and raising my heels for more. Passionate photographer. Logical outside and creative inside - A great combo. Love to play with words. And a writer, occasionally!

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2 thoughts on “History of Maritime Education in India”

  1. This piece of writing gives clear idea of the topic. It’s designed for the new generation, that genuinely want to know.

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