Planning to join merchant navy? Joining merchant navy is a very unique career choice, but then there are certain things that you should consider before making it your career. The list of why merchant marine is a very good career option (or not so good one), is very long but with the help of these top five points, knowing why to opt for marine careers and what to look out for before joining the merchant navy will become genuinely easy.
Not everyone can join merchant navy. The most important thing needed by a person to be a part of the marine careers is the right qualification from the right merchant marine academy. Different countries have their own merchant navy rules and academies so it becomes necessary to enrol in the appropriate academy as required by the nation’s merchant marine laws to get the required qualifications.
Choose the Right Job
Merchant marine offers a lot of job options – from technical to non-technical professionals. Radio officers, captains, pursers (people who are in-charge of managing the accounts), able-bodied seamen, chefs, first mate and second mate are the kind of jobs that are available to the interested people. You are the best judge of your capabilities, so choose your stream accordingly. Some positions come with high responsibilities and you should be ready to deliver your best.
Health and Fitness
You wouldn’t be selected if you are not fit. Health and fitness is the 3rd most important thing before you consider joining merchant navy. Since the merchant navy men have to be on the water for a major portion of the year, their health and fitness becomes a major concern. People with bad health cannot be a part of the marine careers as it could cause problems for not just themselves but to the entire ship as well. Life on ship demands great physical fitness, so don’t opt for the career if you feel you won’t be able to deliver physically.
Do note that health and physical fitness tests are carried out at regular intervals of time. They are conducted every time before boarding the ship and if any complication arises, the candidate will not be allowed to join the ship. Passing the test during the time for admission in the course does not ensure you are fit for sea life. There are some tests which are carried in between the course (hearing compatibility test etc.) which if failed will lead to termination of the course.
Almost Negligible Social Life
The fourth aspect involved is about the amount of time spent offshore. If you are a social animal who likes to mingle with friends on every opportunity you can find, then better stay away from Merchant navy. Since merchant navy is all about business and commercial activities at sea, the merchant vessel spends a lot of time on the sea than on port. This is why, when a person is thinking about joining merchant navy, the person needs to think a lot about the time period. If the person is adventurous, then the time period could go to the person’s advantage but if the person has a shy personality and needs emotional anchorage from friends and family then marine careers could be disadvantageous as it could lead to homesickness and unnecessary problems due to the person’s inability to adjust to the job.
Personality and Attitude
The person’s personality and nature plays a very vital role when on ship. Being a part of the merchant navy will allow a person to not only meet new people but learn lots of new things about different cultures of the world. A person who is adventurous, as mentioned in the previous point could learn and grasp lot of point that could prove beneficial for the merchant navy ship. But for a person who does not interact with people that much, the job could prove to be difficult. Note that there will be only 20 faces or even lesser with whom you would be interacting for months each day. So even if you have some problem with any crew member, you have no option but to work with him, keeping the grudges aside. If you feel you are not the kind of person, who can compartmentalize his or her mind, then better give this career a miss. This is why it becomes important before joining merchant navy to know what type of a person one is and whether merchant navy will suit the person or not. Have some time with yourself and then decide.
Job surety and high income: Many people think that it will be easy to find a job on ship than on land with high earning as soon as joining the ship. With growing number of institutions and more candidates compared to job openings, there is job crunch in the seafaring industry especially at the entry level (junior officers). Candidates who cleared the required courses are finding it difficult to get a ship for completing their sea-time and training so that they can appear for competency exam to become officers.
The Earnings of a seafarer is high enough but there is a catch of “contract tenure”, waiting period and expenses of competency examination. The entry level candidates earns as much as any land job person, and hence it is only when you pass exam and have a COC, then you get a good salary flowing into your account.
Tax Free Income: Most of the amateur seafarers remain confused about the taxation system for the income earned, which leads to non filing of tax returns. The income earned on a foreign going vessel, seafarer may not always be tax free (a general assumption). You need to complete the required sea time in a financial year to claim a tax free income else you will be considered under the tax slab for paying the income tax as stated by the government of the country.
Family onboard: Before entering to this field, the candidates are single (mostly) and they do not think about the family life they will be experiencing along side of the sailing. A merchant navy officer can take his/her family onboard ship only if allowed by the company or when all the norms of the company are complied. Here “family” for a married person means only the immediate family and not parents. Parents are not allowed to go along with the seafarers. An entry level officer will have a lesser chance to carry his immediate family than a management level officer, which again depends on the number of supernumeraries (family members) already present on ship and the life boat capacity.
Apart from all these points, it is also necessary that an applicant who wants to join marine careers does not have any past criminal record. If a person does have any such record, then he or she will not be eligible to join merchant marine.
Merchant navy is a lucrative career option and for the person who follows all the necessary steps needed to be primarily taken, it is one of the best career options of today’s times. However, as with every field, there are few drawbacks attached with this as well. So choose the career of merchant navy wisely in case you are planning to.