Physical Fitness and Medical Requirements to Join Merchant Navy


Having the right grades and the passion to have a life at the sea will not get you a career in the merchant navy. In order to join a merchant navy course, you must have the physical fitness and medical requirements that are necessary to have a career on ships.

The candidate must be in good mental and physical health and free from any kind of bodily defect to interfere with the efficient performance required at the sea. Read on to find out if you are physically fit to join the merchant navy.

1.      Constitution

There should be no evidence of weak constitution by way of imperfect development of muscles or serious malformation. Weight below 42 kg and height below 150 cm will be rejected. The chest should be well developed with a minimum range of expansion of 5 cm.

2. Skeletal System

There should be no disease or impairment of functions of bones or joints, contracture or of deformity of chest or any joint, abnormal curvature of spine, deformity of feet like bow legs, knock knees, flat feet, deformity of upper limbs, malformation of the head, deformity from fractures or depression of the skull, fractures (healed) with a pin inside will be a disqualification.

3. Ear, nose and throat

There should be no impaired hearing, discharge or disease in either ear, unhealed perforation of tympanic membrane or signs of acute or chronic supperative otitis media or evidence of radical mastoid operation, evidence of disease of the bones and cartilage of the nose, nasal polypus or disease of nasopharynx or accessory sinuses. Loss or decay of teeth to such an extent as to interfere with efficient mastication. No disease of the throat, palate, tonsils or gums or any disease or injury affecting the normal function of either temporo mandibular joint. Individuals with severe pyorrhoea are to be rejected.

4. Speech

There should be no impediment of speech (e.g. stammering)

5. Lymphatic System

There should be no enlarged glands, tubercular or due to other diseases in the neck or other parts of the body. Thyroid gland should be normal.

6. Cardiovascular System

There should be no sign of functional or valvular or other disease of the heart and blood vessels. Electrocardiogram should be within normal limits. Systolic blood pressure should not exceed 150mm of Hg nor Diastolic above 90 mm of Hg.

7. Respiratory System

There should be no evidence of chronic or respiratory tract disease, pulmonary tuberculosis or previous history of this disease or any chronic disease of the lungs. X-ray of chest should be normal.

8. Digestive System

There should be no evidence of any disease of the digestive system and that liver and spleen should not be palpable and there should be no abdominal tenderness on palpation.

9. Genitourinary System

There should be no palpable and enlarged kidneys. There should not be any disease of kidneys. Cases showing alburminuria, glycosurea or blood (RBC) in urine will be rejected. There should be no hernia or tendency thereto. Those who have been operated for hernia may be declared fit provided:

(a)  One year has elapsed after the operation. Documentary proof to be produced by the candidate.

(b) General tone of abdominal muscles should be good and

(c) There has been no recurrence of hernia or complications with the operation. There should be no hydrocele, vericocele, spermatocele or any other defect of genital organs, no fistula and/or anal fissure or evidence of hemorrhoids (Piles), rectal polyps. There should be no active latent or congenital venereal diseases, undescended intra abdominal testicle on one side unassociated with hernia, provided the other testicle is normal and that there is no physical or psychological effect due to undescended testicle will be accepted. Undescended testicle is retained in inguinal canal or at the extra abdominal ring will be rejected.

10. Skin

There should be no skin disease unless temporary or trival. Scars which by their extent or position are likely to cause disability or marked disfigurement are a cause for rejection.

11. Nervous System

There should be no history or evidence of mental disease of the candidate or in his family. Candidates having history of fits in continence or urine or enuresis will not be accepted. Mental or nervous irritability, abnormality of gait, defective functions of cranial nerves, inco-ordination, motor or sensory defaults will be rejected.

12. Eye Sight

There should not be any degree of squint or any morbid condition of eyes or of the eyelids that is liable to aggravate or recur, pressure of trachome and iris complication sequela. Candidates must possess good binocular vision (fusion faculty and full field of vision in both eyes). Movement of the eyeballs must be full in all directions and the pupils should react normally to light and accommodation.
The vision should be 6/6 (normal) in each eye separately. Defective colour vision tested by Ishihara Colour Blindness Test is a disqualification.

13. Any other defect which in the opinion of the medical board will interfere with the individual’s efficiency as an officer of the merchant navy.

Note: The Above Information is provided by the Directorate General of Shipping, Merchant Shipping Act 1958.

Image Credit:


Get Free News Updates Daily

Sign-up below for more News, Articles, and Offers Submitted Directly to Your Inbox


  1. Anish says

    6/6 vision in both eyes (without visual aids); no colour-blindness for Nautical Officer’s and for Engineering Officers use of corrective lenses permitted but the maximum permissible limits, at entry, are 6/12 in each eye or 6/9 in the better eye and 6/18 in the other eye, for Distant Unaided Vision. It will be an individual’s decision to do whatever is required to meet the requirement and as long as one meets the above requirement, he will be eligible for Merchant Navy.

  2. irfan says

    is there any entrance exam 4 joining GME course after BE, if yes then please provide details of exam.

  3. mohamed rafeek says

    i have that flat feet and knock knee problem…can i apply for merchant navy…….

  4. Phillip Robinson says

    Hi all, I’m looking into joinig the royal fleet auxiliary. But I have asthma but not took my inhalers for over a year. My doctors said I should be fine but will this in anyway stop me from joining ?, any help if aprechiated. King regards Phillip

  5. says

    I am suffering from nasal allergy(normal).Now an MBBS doctor is treating me to make hale.
    I want to be a mariner .
    Can’t I apply for being a mariner?
    please, tell me

  6. shreyabhatia says

    i wanna join merchant navy bt have 2.5 in a eye nd also have some sqiunt can it b currected??? reply asap

  7. Anish says

    Dear Shreya,

    Laser treatment is the option for power as you cannot join this field with the number. “Squint” Condition is not accepted.

  8. shidhartha says

    my eyesight is -1.75…cn i join merchant navy….plz rply as it is very important for me to decide my future

  9. Garry dhillon says

    Sir,if we got pass in medical tests and then after joining if we meet with an accident and fractured do we able to continue or we will declare !!?

  10. niraj singh says

    sir we have to give imu cet exam after pass out from mechanical engg?
    if not then which exam we have to give for joining in merchant navy?
    sir plzz reply i m waiting for it

  11. Anish says

    Dear Prince,

    As per DG shipping rules, a flat foot person is not eligible for admission in this field.

  12. niraj singh says

    sir, how much % is required in mechanical engineering for joining marine engineering
    sir plz rply

  13. says

    am doing final year be.electrical and electronics engineering and am intreasted in marine side is there any 1 year course for electrical…if there means give me the details about it..

  14. Jasvir singh says

    sir, i h’ve nasal allergical disease (temporary) in few condition ,is i’m eligible?

  15. Anish says

    Dear Jasvir,

    You should not have any permanent disability or diseases during the time of medical examination.

  16. harshit mahalwal says

    sir,there is minute defect in my eyesight
    right eye: cyl -0.75
    left eye: sph -0.5, cyl -1.25
    i’ll get it corrected by laser operation.Am i eligible for merchant navy after that?

  17. says

    Sir, after completing GME course, i will get a job straight as 4th engineer or do i want to write an exam for to become a 4th engineer

  18. Anish says

    @Vishnu: Once you complete the GME course, you need to do 6 month onboard training as 5th engineer on ship. After that you will be eligible for giving exam of 4th engineer (MEO CL IV).

  19. vishnu says

    I have two broken teeth ( incisor ), Can i join navy.
    Its my dream to become a member of indian navy.

  20. Anish says

    Dear Karthik,

    You can opt a job for Electrical Engineer Officer on ship after going through a Marine electrotechnology course.

  21. Anish says

    @ Vishnu- The above article explains the requirement to enter a MERCHANT NAVY career and not INDIAN NAVY. These are two different sectors hence t ( medical requirement also differs (more stringent for Indian Navy)


    SIR can I wear CONTACT lenes though my vision is not poor …..for betterment can i wear ??????

  23. C.Gopal says

    I have disturbed renal function with elevated creatinine level,3mgm% with reduced hemoglobin 10 gm% and ESR 45mm/1st Hr.I am living life without any trouble and have been sailing since last 15 years.Can I continue sailing?I have consulted three Nephrologists and all of them declared me fit to sail on ship.I request your advice.

  24. david says

    sir i have got a fractured in my right shoulder and now a plate is fitted and i am fine ! but is it elligible to continue my sealife or i should take the plate off

  25. himanshu jindal says


    sub: whether i should join merchant navy or not

    this year i will be done with my schooling and now i am interested in merchant navy

    #what things attracted me
    *good salary
    *4-6 month leave for officers
    *addition to personality by interaction with different nationality

    #point to be think of (disadvantage)
    *dangerous profession

    please correct me if i m wrong for the above

    according to u i should join merchant navy or not keeping above point as my views for joining merchant navy

    i would appreciate if u share some of your experiences after 12th & send me some important and informative links in my e-mail id which is

  26. kabir jadhav says

    I want to do carier in merchant navy after 12 th. Sir can you advice which are the courses. And I don’t want to do engineering.

  27. aniridh sharma says

    sir i have a weak eye sight
    left : 7.5
    right: 8
    cn i join merchant navy after a laser aperation.

  28. bharath says

    i had made permanent lens for my eyes recently so i am interested in electro technical officer (ETO) is that i am eligigble for merchant navy please reply

  29. vikas sharma says

    sir am smoking marijuana
    is this come in medical test carried out in merchant navy?????????
    plzzzzz sie reply me

  30. max says

    sir i have vericocele ,but there aren’t any complications ,i do everything normally ,shall i get it corrected .will i be disqualified

  31. Som Roy says

    I am 22 year male, and Have recently been through an operation in which my one testis has been omitted. Medically I am fit now but can I still join merchant navy ? With no medical or physical problem but do one properly working testicle fulfills merchant navy medical requirement ?

  32. shailendra singh chandel says

    Sir i got my CDC…and 1year back i met with an accident …now i am phyaically fit the problem is my right eye vision is low now…doc said it can be better by using specs…am i elligible for sail now as per ur knowledge…plss let me know..thanks

  33. Avinash Kumar Awasthi says

    Hallo Sir !!
    I have passed all the examinations of electro technical officer of ANGLO EASTERN MERITIME ACADEMY.But in medicals they have told me that i am color blind.
    Sir, I have a lot of expectations from this job and i am too much dedicated to this job. I have read that color blindness can be corrected by using corrective contact lenses.
    Is it allowed to give isharaa test wearing those correcting glasses??

  34. shrinath bhat says

    Sir right now i am doing diploma in mechanical engineering if i want to join merchant navy what will be my further career requirement to join.

    how can i apply to merchant navy

    waiting for your reply

  35. says

    Dear Avinash,

    As per the DG shipping requirement, the candidate should not be colorblind. Any kind of lenses are not accepted

  36. karthik says

    i have a defect in eye as -0.5 and i wear glasses wether i am elligible for marine engineering

  37. akash prasad says

    sir i am having fatty chests .height is 171 cms and weight is 75 kgs .so would i have any problem in medicals.

  38. yashraj says

    Sir i m intrested in merchant navy but i have a problam
    I have asthama will this in anyway stop me to joining
    I m very confused about this

  39. yashraj says

    Sir i m use only a rotahaler in a week only one time, my doctor said u can join merchant navy
    & what u say from this
    Plzzzzz reply me sir i m waiting for your reply

Leave a Reply