People planning to join Merchant Navy often ask us what is better – engine department or the deck department? Though there is no specific answer to this question, we try to explain them about the important aspects of both the sides.
Before deciding between engine and deck departments, we ask students to keep these five things in mind before joining merchant navy.
Then for anyone who is confused between engine side and deck side, it is important that he or she first understands the difference between Nautical Science and Marine engineering. (People who study nautical science become deck officers and those who study marine engineering become marine engineers).
Knowing about various subjects one has to learn in each of these streams helps to get rid of most of the doubts involved with deciding between the two departments.
A career in merchant navy is unlike any other career and every person planning a career in the same would know about it. In case you don’t, read them here –Reasons as to why a career in merchant navy is unlike any other.
People confused between engine and deck sides, often have queries regarding the following aspects:
- Salary structure (difference between salaries of both the departments)
- Job profile
- Future prospects
- Placement and job availability
- Availability of shore jobs – Some people even think about availability of shore jobs once they have worked for certain years on ships.
Let’s look at each aspect individually.
1. Salary structure
Salary structure of both engine and deck departments is almost the same. This means that officers at corresponding rank in both the departments earn almost equally. The article on average range of salaries of officers on ships would help to resolve the doubt.
2. Job profile
Though the job profile and nature of duties of officers in both the department are different, at the end it an individual’s choice as to what side to choose.
Work profile in both engine and deck departments is challenging and rewarding. It’s the person’s prerogative to decide between engine side and navigation side.
3. Future prospects
A ship cannot run without engine officers and deck officers. Thus the need of both the type of officers will always be there (Unless they come up with totally unmanned ships). Both the sides have bright and respectable futures.
4. Placement and job market
This is one aspect which bothers the most especially to those who are just entering the field. Though there are several reasons because of which deck cadets and junior marine engineers are not getting jobs, the situation is expected to improve soon.
However, it is to note that employment problems are prominent in every filed at the starting level and it’s the same with merchant navy as well.
Officers of higher ranks from both engine and deck departments are always in demand.
5. Onshore opportunities
For those who also consider on shore job prospects must note that there are several opportunities on shore of merchant navy officers.
Experienced marine engineers and deck officers can get jobs in the management department of shipping companies.
Marine engineers can take up shore based jobs as Design, Seismic, and Maintenance Engineers. They can also take up the job of trainee surveyors. Nautical officers as well as marine engineers are also required in Chartering / Ship Brokerage firms.
However it is advisable to sail for certain years and take good amount of experience before shifting to shore jobs.
Those who are interested in future studies can do an MBA in Shipping and improve their job options on shore. Read more here – How to do MBA in Shipping?
Thus, a career in both engine and deck department is a rewarding and challenging one. At the end, it is up to the individual to decide what he or she is more passionate and interested about.