how can women girls join merchant navy

How can Girls join Merchant Navy?: Best Career Options for Women

Can girls join Merchant Navy? The short answer is YES. 

For centuries, the Merchant Navy was considered as a profession reserved for men. Joining a sector that is dominated by men as a woman is surely a tough and thought-giving process. In times when women are a part of every profession, Merchant Navy has also felt their need to a great extent. In fact, in the last three decades, the scenario has changed as a lot of girls have joined the Merchant Navy.

Today, there are a lot of opportunities for women in the shipping industry. Not only on the sea, but there are quite a lot of openings available for women on the shore. 

So, the answer to “How can girls join Merchant Navy” is – “Just like Men do!”

In this blog, we’ll let you know the best career options available for women and answer the most common questions that you might have in mind about joining the industry as a female.

Table of contents:

Which Rank and Departments girls should join in Merchant Navy?

In the Merchant Navy, there are 3 departments to work in:

  1. Engine department 
  2. Deck department
  3. Galley/catering department

In each of the above departments, there are two categories of jobs:

  1. Officer rank
  2. Crew (Non-officer) rank

Considering the current scenario, working culture, and work profiles, women should opt for a rank in the Officers category. Crew or non-officer ranks are less preferable for girls in the Merchant Navy. Things might gradually improve in the near future and women might join the crew category as well. However, presently, there are no females working in the crew category in India. 

In the officer category, girls can join the following ranks and departments:

1. Navigating or Deck Department

The Navigating or the Deck department offers the best career options for girls in the Merchant Navy. Students can join as a Deck Cadet which is the starting rank in the Deck Department. After gaining experience and clearing competitive exams, candidates can gradually become the Captain of the ship. 

2. Engine Department

Being a marine engineer onboard Merchant Navy ships is also a very prominent and well-known career. The working conditions are a bit tougher in the Engine department as compared to the Deck Department. However, if you enjoy being around machines and working with technology, the Engine department in the Merchant Navy also offers good opportunities for girls.

Female candidates can join the Engine department as Trainee Marine Engineer or Trainee Electro-Technical Officer. If you join as a Trainee Marine Engineer, you will have the option to become the ship’s Chief Engineer. Later in your career, you can join as a technical superintendent in any shipping company worldwide. 

3. Galley/Catering Department

There are two types of ships: Cargo ships and Passenger (Cruise) ships. There is no officer category job in the catering department, therefore for ladies cargo ships are not suitable in the catering department.

Nonetheless, Passenger ships or Cruise Liners provide lots of opportunities for women in the Catering and Hospitality departments. Thus, if girls wish to join the catering department in the Merchant Navy, they should go for opportunities available on Cruise (passenger) ships.

How are Career opportunities & Growth for Girls in Merchant Navy?

The IMO (International Maritime Organization) and Ministry of Shipping of India are continuously making efforts to increase the number of women working in the Merchant Navy. A lot of top Indian shipping companies like Anglo Eastern, Synergy Maritime, Executive Ship Management, Fleet Management Limited, etc are putting forward more opportunities for women. 

Because of all of these efforts, the need for female seafarers has expanded, and females now have excellent career options in the Merchant Navy, not just on shipboard employment, but also in office occupations.

Safety and Privacy for Girls on ships

A majority of people are concerned about the safety of women on ships. It is a common misconception that there are privacy issues for women onboard. But, all these concerns are baseless. Women officers are provided with separate cabins with attached bathrooms on ships. Thus, there are absolutely no safety or privacy issues for girls in Merchant Navy. The females who are already working in the industry have not experienced any issues while sailing.

8 Career Options For Women Seafarers After Sailing At Sea

A career in the Maritime industry doesn’t always mean a career at the sea. After sailing for a considerable time period, it is natural for a seafarer to look for shore opportunities. There are many sectors where seafarers, whether men or women, can join and make a good fortune. Some of them are listed below:

1. Ports and Harbour Management and Pilotage

Ports are bustling sites that provide great work opportunities in a variety of fields. If ports are to stay competitive, they must evolve in accordance with global trends in the marine trade. As a result, they require efficient and skilled people to create strategic business strategies. 

Technical work, administration, management, vessel traffic services, and pilotage are some of the employment available in port operations. Seafarers who have served in a senior role at sea have the necessary experience, knowledge, and insight, making them suited for the aforementioned positions.

2. Maritime Lecturer or Instructor

Maritime training institutions are growing in a good number. Experienced seafarers who want to educate can join such institutions and commit themselves to the development and fine tuning of excellent maritime training programs that will ensure the maritime industry receives quality graduates. 

It is crucial to teach aspiring ship officers and assist them in thinking critically and solving problems as would be required of them onboard. Seafarers can utilize their own experience and past studies to educate and prepare potential seafarers for life at sea, allowing them to fulfill their jobs aboard dutifully and effectively. 

3. Maritime Author

Becoming an author is another alternative for sailors who have retired from sailing after a long time of sailing. A seasoned sailor has mastered all of the challenges of sea life and understands exactly what is needed of junior officers in order for them to pass their competency examinations. 

Keeping this in mind, maritime books may be prepared with the intention of not only assisting students in preparing for examinations, but also of gaining a comprehensive understanding of the topic.

4. Ship Broking and Chartering

For individuals who have worked in the maritime business, ship broking is not a difficult job. It has grown in popularity as a career. A ship broker is a person who serves as a mediator between ship owners and charterers. This function necessarily requires an in-depth knowledge of ships and cargoes, methods of loading and discharging of various cargoes, weather patterns, etc.

5. Maritime Regulatory Authorities

Experienced marine officers can also enjoy the benefits of a government job by working under the Ministry of shipping. Seafarers having a certificate of competency as a Master of a foreign going ship are also qualified to work for prestigious maritime regulating bodies such as the Director General of Shipping as a principal officer or Nautical surveyors, who are in charge of conducting masters and mates tests.

6. Maritime Surveyor

Any deck officer holding the certificate of competency as a Master on a foreign going vessel is eligible to become a class surveyor for ships to check sea worthiness. The same goes for a ship’s engineer holding a certificate of competency as a chief engineer. A class surveyor is in charge of performing surveys and inspections on ship structures and marine equipment in accordance with national and international regulations in order to define the overall condition and assure ship quality and safety.

7. Entrepreneur

When you have sailed for a considerable amount of time and saved up enough, it is a good idea to start your own business ashore and be your own boss. Entrepreneurship demands passion, persistence, and tenacity which is nothing new to seafarers.

8. Ship Operation Management

Working in ship management is one of the most exciting and difficult aspects of the maritime industry. Ship management, as the name implies, is the job of managing a ship for an agreed-upon duration. Ship management included various departments to be looked after like commercial, operations, technical, crewing, finance, administration, quality, and safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are females allowed in the Merchant Navy?

In the last few decades, women have started entering into the previously male-dominated field of Merchant Navy. Presently, out of the people employed in Merchant Navy, 2% are women and 1% of them belong to India. The IMO is taking continuous efforts to encourage women to join the industry. Huge shipping companies are also putting forward more opportunities for girls in Merchant Navy. 

2. How can a girl join Merchant Navy after 12th?

In order to join Merchant Navy after 12th PCM, girls can opt for courses like DNS, B.Sc. in Nautical Science, or B.tech in Marine Engineering. Candidates have to appear for the IMU-CET exams to get admission in any of these courses. 

3. What is the salary of girls in Merchant Navy?

There is no difference between the salary that male and female candidates receive in the Merchant Navy. Trainee/Deck cadets can earn from INR 25000-85000 per month while Chief officers can earn INR 4,00,000 to 6,00,000 per month. 

4. Is Merchant Navy safe for girls?

Yes, Merchant Navy is absolutely safe for girls. It is a common misconception that this field is not safe for female candidates. However, all these concerns are baseless as shipping companies take the utmost care for the safety and privacy of women onboard.

5. What is the best job for girls in Merchant Navy?

Officer rank jobs are the best for girls in Merchant Navy. Girls can pursue their careers in the Navigating/Deck department, Engine department, or Catering/Hospitality department on Cruise Ships. 

Final thoughts

The Merchant Navy is a promising profession that provides a plethora of options for young girls who are interested to work in this field. Various organizations like the International Women Seafarers Foundation (IWSF) and Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) are taking steps to educate and encourage young women around the world to join the industry. 

Women have a lot of opportunities in shipping if they get the correct exposure. Speaking with the women stalwarts of Indian shipping, we envision a bright future for women in shipping!

If you are someone who is enthusiastic about joining Merchant Navy in India, we are here to help! To get guidance for joining the industry or to prepare for entrance or sponsorship exams, contact us on 8160370087 today!