4 Ways To Become A Deck Officer in Merchant Navy

The Merchant Navy is a lucrative and an enjoyable line of work that demands a great deal of hard work right from the day you step into a maritime academy, whether it is nautical science or marine engineering.

As is with choosing any stream of education, selecting a career in Merchant Navy also requires a considerable amount of time devoted towards research so that a prospective individual is able to choose a course that best suits his needs. Some might aspire to become deck officers whereas others might be interested in engineering knowledge.

With a plethora of maritime institutes offering a variety of courses, it is natural for a candidate to get confused, and in the process, make a wrong decision.

There are myriad of maritime institutes all over the world and it is natural to be spoiled for choice. However, it is necessary to understand that not all of them offer the path to becoming a Deck Officer on ship in the way that it is imagined.

Deck Officer

The role of a Deck Officer in merchant navy is indispensable on board and it is important for a prospective Cadet to know what a deck officer does on board ships.

A Deck Officer works in the execution of a variety of tasks- namely navigation and maneuvering of the vessel, handling of all safety equipment on board, and handing cargo, communications, and safety.

All of this seemingly daunting work is designated, divided, and handled among the Trainee Cadet, 3rd Officer, 2nd Officer, Chief Officer, under the supreme supervision of the Captain of the vessel.

The prerequisites to join a maritime course pertaining to the Merchant Navy are generally kept low, except the physical fitness and medical requirements. However, it is advised that an interested individual inquire with the respective institute offering the course in order to get the exact criterion.

The following deck officer training courses outlined are those that will help an individual a great deal in determining what’s best for a chosen path to becoming one.

1. B.S. Nautical Technology

This is a 3+1 years course that is available only in India. The degree in question here is offered by the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, and is offered in two of the institutes in India. The first 3 years of the merchant navy course is spent in the institute where a variety of subjects are taught extensively. The final year is devoted to an internship on board a vessel as a deck cadet for a minimum period of 12 months.

The internship period is extremely crucial as the degree is only conferred when an individual finishes his sea time.

The 2nd Mate license is obtained after finishing the mandatory sea time, upon clearing the MMD (Mercantile Marine Department) examinations. There are a total of 48 subjects covered in the study period of 3 years, a detailed list of which can obtained from the website/brochure of the institutes concerned. Following are the institutes in India that offer this merchant navy program to become a deck officer:

2. B.Sc. Nautical Science

This is a 3 years deck officer training course that is available in India. In the UK, this is a 4 years course. However, the method incorporated in the completion of this course varies between India and the UK.

In India, a deck cadet spends his entire 3 years in a Maritime Institute and gets a degree after the course ends. Following that, he seeks employment and gets on board a ship as a Trainee Merchant Navy Deck Officer. In the UK, work and learning are incorporated together within the course (a part of the deck officer recruitment process), with the core modules and work based learning divided aptly within the four years of study. There are a host of Institutes offering this merchant navy program, the notable ones being:

3. HND Nautical Science

HND stands for the Higher National Diploma. This is a 2 years course that is conducted between an Indian Institute and one in the UK in liaison with each other. The first 39-40 weeks of the course is spent studying at an Institute in India whereas the next 39-40 weeks is spent at an Institute in the UK.

Deck cadets must sail for a minimum period of 15 months after the completion of the course for the the deck officer cadetship. Thereafter  a 3 months 2nd Mate Preparatory course must be undertaken at the deck cadets’ respective Institute. Upon clearing the examination conducted by the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency), the Cadet is awarded the 2nd Mate UK license to become a certified deck officer. The notable HND courses of merchant navy are conducted by:

4. Diploma in Nautical Science

This is a 1 year course under the Indian Maritime University. Prospective deck cadets undergo a year long period of study followed by a sailing period of a minimum of 18 months. There are many merchant navy institutes offering this course. It is advisable to check the Directorate General of Shipping and the Indian Maritime University websites for institute approvals and course details.

In the United States, the Merchant Marine is a civilian auxiliary of the US Navy. The system followed in the US is a very intensive one. Candidates should refer to one of the Academy websites for a methodical procedure with regard to the US Merchant Marine.

Check the list of best maritime colleges of the United States for more information

The most important aspect of choosing the right merchant navy Institute and course to become a deck officer is to ensure that the course is approved by the respective Government Authority of the country. It is also advisable to know the nation issuing the Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC) to prevent any confusion later on.

In addition to the above mentioned courses, several shipping companies also conduct sponsorship programs for deck officers.

Choosing the right path to becoming a Deck Officer in merchant navy can play a vital role in having a solid kick-start to the career. Apart from good memories and an unforgettable college life a proper institute, catered to your requirements, can help an individual develop the right attitude towards this line of work. It is to note that deck officer job description or deck officer salary mainly depends on the shipping company.

Related Articles 

5 Things to keep in mind before joining merchant navy

Deck department Vs Engine Department : What to choose?

Hierarchy Level of Deck Department on ships

What is a difference between nautical science and marine engineering?

Physical Fitness and Medical Requirements to Join Merchant Navy

How Deck Officers Can Use NP 294 to Keep Admiralty Products Up-To-Date?

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About Author

Shilavadra Bhattacharjee is a shipbroker with a background in commercial operations after having sailed onboard as a Third Officer. His interests primarily lie in the energy sector, books and travelling.

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  1. this is my dream career and it must become a reality,a man’s dreams is an an index to his greatness,Failure is never an option to me,i will see myself there very soon,i love merchant navy,i love seafeerers,i love sailing and i will sail somedays.

  2. My question is after 6 month gp rating course + 36month sea service can give 2nd mate fg exam
    Or I have to pass 12th exam for 2nd mate fg course pls sir reply

  3. Sir, my question is also same as sahil more say’s. Plz kindy tell the courses one has to complete after 12th.. I’m totally confused..

  4. Sir,please explain the path to become officer as i have completed my GP rating and sailing as OS..Coz i want to become an officer ..I am 12th PCM passed out….

  5. hi can i do the navigation officers course open learning HNC navigation is there any cost.

  6. Respected sir I have done gp rating course how can I give exam of mates after 36 mnths of sailing I have not completed my 12th so am I elegeable for mte xzams n what r d procedures pls help me sir
    Regards Rajat

  7. Respected sir,
    I have done diploma in nautical science and have sailed for 12 months as a cadet onboard a FG vessel and now I want to join as a Ordinary seaman.If I do so how much sea experience will be required to write exams.And will my 12 months as cadet will be counted in sea experience as rating.

  8. hii, sir i have done my gp rating course and i want to become officer so please tell me can i give second mate after 24 month sailing ?i have also done my 12th with pcm but my percentage is very low about 49% . so sir tell me about this can i give second mate after 24 month sailing ??

  9. Dear Sir,
    I have being working on cruiselines for the past 10 years as a restaurant waiter.
    I have passed my 12 std from National open school.
    I want to be a 3rd officer.
    Please advice
    Kind regards

  10. Please I need an information bottle c.o.c and the requirement please forward it to me thank you

  11. I am an ordinary seaman, working good ownership company&have 52 months onboard experience with Indian CDC, I would like to participate 2nd mate FG Exam only in INDIA I have +2 qualification with PCM but just passed in the border, please guide me to get Indian COC

  12. Dear Sir,

    I’m an AB with 25 months of sea service. I’m planning to go for Second mates after completing 36 months of sea service. What are the documents I have to get prepared on-board, to appear for exams?
    I heard that GP rating background guys cannot give Second mate (FG) directly, is it true that we have to give NCV first? I have 2 with PCM.

  13. Hello guys
    I m sailing as an os
    this my second contract
    I want to know how I can give exam after 36months and what documents are required
    please help me

  14. good day sir my name is sridhar working in murchant navy as an engine fitter so sir plz advice how to join th e collage to clear my class 4 and sir plz can u give me ur contact number to contact u . thanking u sir from sridhar

  15. Hi sir am Godwin, pls I want to know the qualifications to become a deck officer. Thanks you. Godwin

  16. sir i have done the gp ratings course of 6 month I want to known about how to become the 4th engineer first

  17. I am studying in11 std as a science student i wanted 2 know that wat courses 2 do 2 become a deck officer as my elder brother has done gp rating should i also do that

  18. Sir, I have completed gp rating course… I have done pcm but not science group… I have 60 per in pcm… So please tell me that, what are steps to become officer @ fg… I am eligible for that…? Pls guide me…

  19. I every time spent my half an hour to read this webpage’s posts every day along with
    a cup of coffee.

  20. hello sir
    i am parwinder singh have 32 month seatime as os and still onboard going to finish 36 month in march 2016 so i want to go for second mate exam is this possible to go direct for 2nd mate FG course in india if not then please guide me in uk which collage i can join and what is the procedure and how much its total cost

  21. hello sir
    i am parwinder singh going to complete 36 month seatime as a deck rating in march2016. i like to go for second mate course is this possible to go direct for 2nd mate FG course in india if no then please tell me which collage i can join in uk and how much its cost and how much duration of this course . please reply me on my ships mail id ALSO that is parwinder_si1@seabrowser.com


  22. Please for christ sake,is this marine course or navy course were only stationed for science student,and not for other department.such as humanities and commercial student?

  23. SIR i AM cadet and i want to join as a O.S. after completing my 36 month ses service how can i apply for 2nd mate

  24. Hello, I am a deck Cadet. I am writing on behalf of my friend who is an OS. Please tell me clearly the procedures for applying for 2 nd mates exams, for an OS after competing 36 months of sea time..thank you


  25. sir… which cource is more beneficial in terms of income and time duration of the course. .. is it DNS or B.sc in nautical science. ……. plz sir make this clear for me…. u cn reply me on sachinbhadana0@Gmail.com. .. or msg me on 8287409900. …….
    Thanks. .

  26. sir can I join in any course of merchant navy without appearing imucet
    I am very much interested in this job .plzz help me sir
    thank you

  27. sir I like cruise ship captain how to became I cruise ship captain please help me sir
    I request to you plese help me
    thankyou sir

  28. what degree collect for cruise ship captain for British country plese help me sir
    thankyou sir I am 9 class child

  29. GOOD day sir , iam from pakistan and i have just completed my gp rating course from pakistan marine academy . sir iam confused about sailing time period that a gp have to compelete . i heared alot from people that a gp should complete 42 mnths of sailing onboard and some people say he had to complete 36 mnths of sailing to become a 3rd or 2nd mate . sir my question is that what exactly sailing time period a gp has to required?

  30. Good day sir,
    I completed by DNS nautical science and 18 months of sailing on a general cargo vessel in may 2014.Due to some reasons i thought of quitting this field.Now i would like to join back the field by doing second mate functions.So will it be a problem.
    Sir please reply

    Thanking u

  31. Hi sir i want to know that who is given first preference to become 2nd officer.a cedet who has done bsc natucal or gp rating os who has 36 month exp ??

  32. Respected sir
    Please explain me that my dream is to a deck officers when i was in 8 th std .But unfortunately i
    get compart in cbse 12 std in maths subject due to our health problem ,but my preparation is very nice and i hope that including my compartmental result marks my percentage does not decrease below 68-70 :/: .
    so,by our this compartmental result can i get admission in deck course or it creates any problem in future.please please look me a right path unless my career and my dream get spoiled.

  33. Sir .my name is Tilk raj from jammu and kashmir …i want to become a deck officer through gp rating
    Say me all processs

  34. sir I don’t have Indian cdc. I have Librean cdc but experience base indian cdc issued after 2 years sea time and plzzz tell me I also appear for 3rd mate after 36 Month+indian cdc have

  35. Dear Sir .my name is Arun Kumar from Pondicherry …i want to become a deck officer through gp rating
    Say me all process. And passed +2 (science group) and completed BE mech ( I did not clear my paper). I have 9 month work experience in marine after GP rating course. Please guide me.

  36. sir i am shubham gupta i pass 12 std and i want to joint merchand navy and my stream is commerce can i joint navy.


  37. Good Day Sir,

    Correction: Kindly change the sailing time mentioned for the DNS Course. Now it is 18 months instead of 36 months.

    I truly admire the efforts of MarineInsight as your articles are really helpful which shows the real life onboard ships.
    If possible, then please try to post articles regarding cruise ships and companies and the oppurtunities for an indian deck officers or engineers to get on passenger vessels. As, very few of us knew about it.

    @ shubham and rahul -> Check Academic Brochure 2016-17 on IMU Website which has all the details and guidelines.

  38. @Sagar: Thank You for the pointer. We are not involved in Job placements and job sector. We will definitely post article on how to join cruise industry.

  39. Hello,sir my I’m a 12 years old boy my dream is to became a merchant navy officer so please help me to became a merchant navy officer???

  40. Sir, i ve passed 12th n i Want 2 join in merchant navy . What r the options 4 me . Plz reply

  41. sir, I join Gp rating course kya Gp rating karne ke baad aage bade opportunity milte he plzz reply

  42. Good morning sir, I have River master inland water and I want to upgrade myself to offshore please can I apply for Chief mate. And also DP. thanks best regard

  43. sir,hellow
    i want a favour and a help ….and i want to know that i m 10 just pass 2017 ,
    and i want to know the process to become deck offficer and for that what to do to achieve that.
    and now i m applining for gp rating cource …and can i move ahead for that? please help me sir.

  44. Hi sir my name b. Lokesh I completed in gP rating and 38 month’s Saling completed I ask u how to prepare officer exam sir plz tell me

  45. Sir I’ve completed my secondary education with commerce stream
    So can i go for any post in navy?

  46. Sir,
    I am presently in class 12 commerce (with Maths). Can I join Merchant Navy as a Deck Cadet,and HOW???

  47. Sir I am Raja from Patna and I want to do a job in Merchant Navy.
    My Highest qualifications is B.Tech in Mechanical engineering.
    So please sir suggest me about my career in this field.

  48. Sir my name is N.Anilkumar sir I wanted to join in merchant Navy and I have completed b.tech mechanical engineering what i have to do to become part of merchant Navy

  49. Dear sir
    What is the process of becoming deck officer after sail service and how much service is required to get eligible for deck officer.

  50. @Saurabh: B.A is not the relevant qualification for deck cadet. You need to have a PCM in 10+2 with 60% marks.

  51. Hello sir,
    My name is sajan and i have appeared for my 12th cbse board exam and i want to be an deck officer so can yor please tell what can i do to be a deck officer.

  52. I want to join merchantneavy and I have passed in 12th pcm 55% which I will get and which course I have eligible to do

  53. Hai sir I am studying BSc computer science.so tell me how to join in merchant Navy sir pls tell.

  54. Hi sir I am in 10th and I want to do become deck officer in merchant navy.so what should I do and what will be the salary at the beginning?

  55. Sir/madam ,I am ncc cadet I have c certificate and have completed my MSc chemistry. I want to join merchant next with official rank

  56. @Tajamul: The eligibility requirement is different and does not count the experience of NCC or MSc in chemistry. Please check the article for the criteria as per the stream you wish to join. Do check the age factor.

  57. Hi
    My name Saikumar sir i graduated mechanical engineering in kakathiya University warangal
    So I want to work in the ship yard as a mechanical engineering so please help me to tell what course I have to take and how much cost it is and how many months I have to take course plz reply back
    Thank u sir

  58. It has been just unfathomably liberal with you to give straightforwardly what precisely numerous people would’ve promoted for an eBook to wind up making some money for their end, basically given that you could have attempted it in the occasion you needed.

  59. @Madhuri: You can join on the basis of 10+2 (PCM) marks and if you are under the age criteria. BBA will not help you with the joining.

  60. i want to know can i apply with my 10th certificates
    i have done +2 with commerce stream
    right now i m completing my graduation

  61. @Sunny: You can join a ship as a rating on the basis of 10th mark sheet, however, the current market for ratings and even for a fresh officer is not good.

  62. Good day Anish Sir.
    Thanks for replying to queries from 2014 on wards.
    I’m Deck cadet fresher how can i further get on board.

  63. @Praveen: You need to approach shipping companies for the vacancy. The job market is not that great, you need to keep trying.

  64. Dear sir,
    After completing gp rating and 36 months sail on boArd. Am I eligible for applying 3rd offcer exam ?
    I completed +2 science.

  65. Sir my brother has the problem of Man boobs can he join merchant navy sir pls reply

  66. Sir i am pursuing polytechnic Diploma in electronics.
    Then i can join DNS course after my polytechnic Diploma.
    And suggest me best course for my career in marchent navy.

  67. @Yogender: Your polytechnic diploma will not help with the DNS course. You can use your 10+2 PCM marks for eligibility. Do check the age factor too.

  68. Sir I have completed B.E Mechanical engineering. Am I eligible to work in ships with my degree qualification? If eligible what postings are I am eligible?

  69. Sir how can i join as a deck officer in merchent navy and what is the eligibility for it


  71. im studing gp rating i have done pcm with less 60% .after complet 36month can i eligible for coc or dgree complesory for officers ??

  72. Dear Sir, I am a Doctor of Science in Communications and Information Technology, but I have a wish to study a Navy captain. I am 55 years old and what is required is I allowed to study in one of the Marine Academies. Second, what is the duration of the study?
    Third, the cost of this study
    Thank you

  73. Sir my 10th class complete with 56% marks

    +2 class complete in Arts stream 70% marks

    My graduation appearing final year 1 exam

    What should i do to get a job in merchant navy

  74. Can I join merchant navy without entrance exam or become deck cadet by any means after gp course?

  75. sir, i complet my 10 th standerd with 88.60 percent and i am complete my 11 with pcmb what will i do for a marchant navy job as deck officer?

  76. Hi sir my name is Joston Fernandes, I am doing diploma in mechanical engineering. I want to joint the merchant navy as a chief engineer after completing diploma in mechanical engineering. So what is the process for doing it?

  77. I have complete my post basic nursing I would like to work in ship how can I join ship or cruise please help me

  78. sir i have completed Bsc nautical science degree
    how can i become deck officer

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