Is Merchant Navy a good career & worth it? Pros & cons

There are many career options you can choose in your life like engineering, Doctor, scientist, astronaut, blogger, seafarer.

And in this article let’s take a look at whether becoming seafarer and joining Merchant Navy a good career option and choice and worth it or not by looking at all the benefits and drawbacks of it.

So let’s get started.

Pros and cons of Merchant navy 

Pros of merchant Navy

1. Money & perks 

One of the main advantages and benefits of joining merchant navy is that you can get higher salaries compared to other career options.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of the Merchant Navy in India is 88000 rs per month and in America you can earn 5000 dollars a month on average if you join the Merchant Navy.

And you won’t believe it, but the highest salary of the Merchant Navy if you become the captain can range between 8 lacs to 20 lacs per month, not a year in india.

That is simply outstanding because the average package of graduates in engineering from any branch in IIT which is the top institute of engineering in india can range between 8 to 15 lacs per annum.

Apart from good salary you can also enjoy many other benefits and perks like,

  • You will be paid even if you take holidays annually
  • You can also take the help of Seamans club for variety of purposes when you visit foreign countries in your work

Even though you won’t get a pension but you can get provident fund after retirement from the company 

You can learn more about The Perks of Merchant Navy here.

2. Job Satisfaction

Another big benefit of joining Merchant Navy is that you can have immense satisfaction and happiness in your work.

You should know for a fact that more than 95% of the trade of India happens from oceans and ships and more than 90% of the world trade happens from the oceans through the ships.

And we all know how important the trade of any country is to grow its economy and develop the country.

and as a merchant navy officer and worker your job is to look after the transport of goods from one place to another place through the ships and oceans and all the other works associated with it.

Hence by joining merchant navy you will not only add value to millions of people who are dependent upon the products that are getting transported by making them easily accessible to the users but also help and play a huge role in growing the economy of your nation by looking after the trade.

This can give you a lot of job satisfaction and happiness while working on board.

3. Less competition

Another advantage of Merchant Navy is that it is actually a low competition career option compared to other career options like engineering, medical science and arts, etc.

For example in India more than 1500000 students graduate as engineers every year but only 7% of them can get employment opportunity and rest of them are unemployed but still 

people are interested in graduating as engineers whereas according to livemint, only two lakh students have graduated from Merchant Navy in 2018.

The main reason for low competition is because these career options are not mainstream & popular especially in countries like India.

Lack of career guidance and knowledge is also a main reason for low competition in these situations, but now due to increasing knowledge and awareness in the people this career is also getting competitive with more people graduating from this career option every year.

This leads me to the third point.

4. Growing jobs & diverse career

Merchant navy jobs are growing every year.

There is some interesting data to back the statements, from an article on livemint, these are some interesting findings,

  • There has been a 35% growth in jobs and employment of seafarers in India since 2018 onwards and previous year especially in merchant navy from 1.5 lakh jumped to 2.8 lakh figure people have been recruited
  • Last year, people recruited in Merchant Navy from India increased from 1,54,349 in 2017 to 2,08,799 showing how the Indian skills are in demand globally and with growing trade between countries through ships the demand is also going for seafarers and we can see this clearly with growing employment opportunities.

We do not have the clear data of 2019 to 2021 because of the lock down & covid pandemic and all the factories were closed worldwide.

According to Wikipedia, Global human population is growing at around 83 million annually, or 1.1% per year. 

And obviously when the population increases the demand of products and goods will also increase and there will be an increase in trade between the countries to meet that demand and

 new businesses emerge and by far the best way to transport large quantities of goods from one country to another country by covering long distances is only possible through ships.

Hence the demand is going to grow in future as well.

Merchant marine offers a lot of job options – from technical to non-technical professionals. Radio officers, captains, able-bodied seamen, chefs.

This is really a good thing about merchant navy because we have seen artificial intelligence and robots replacing majority of the jobs, 

according to a report by 2055 more than 50% of the jobs that we manually do as humans can get replaced by artificial intelligence and robots which can be a huge loss for people and when it comes to artificial intelligence, 

It is impossible to replace the humans with robots in the Merchant Navy because humans have problem solving skills, and a lot of knowledge and experience which robots don’t, which is the most important skill to have to join the Merchant Navy.

5. Travel & Visit amazing places 

Another big advantage of the Merchant Navy is that you can get a chance to travel to lots of amazing places worldwide during your holidays.

You can travel lots of Amazing beaches and islands and lots of Amazing tourist countries and other places where most of your trade of your country happens for example,

 Europe accounts for more than 14 % of the World Trade which means one by fifth of the world trade passes from major countries in Europe and 

you can get a chance to visit lots of Amazing countries in Europe like France, Germany Italy , Austria, spain Britain, etc and all of these nations also have lots of Amazing tourist places which you can visit during your job. 

By visiting lots of amazing places you can spend a lot of time there and also get a lot of exposure and learn new languages and meet new people.

This leads to next important benefit.

6. Grow your network 

Because you can get a chance to visit lots of amazing places worldwide during your job, you can also meet lots of interesting people and grow your network.

And also in your profession you can meet lots of interesting people working with you on the ship, etc.

If you are a social person and an extrovert and like to meet new people and visit new places then this is no better career option which gives you those benefits than merchant navy.

7. You can get NRI status and all of its benefits

Another big advantage of Merchant Navy which not a lot of people know about is,

You can get NRI status with this job.

For example if you graduated from Merchant Navy in India and joined in your career and went on work in any year for the purpose of employment, 

or as a member of a crew of an Indian merchant ship, the period of ’60 days’ is to be replaced by ‘182 days’ If you satisfy any of the two conditions, you are a Resident Indian. Else, you are deemed a Non-Resident Indian (NRI).

this clearly means that if you work outside India for more than 182 days, which sometimes can happen if you work on projects and tasks where you will have to transport goods in far locations of the world, you can get NRI status.

The best thing about this is that the Government of India cannot take income tax from you because you have been earning the money outside India.

And this is completely a legal issue, and it is a rule of the government so you can save a lot of money in that regard.

8. Time for yourself 

Another last advantage of joining Merchant Navy is that you can have a lot of time to spend with yourself.

You can spend more than 10 hours every day with yourself even when you are on duty after joining the Merchant Navy because you do not have to move to any office because you will be travelling on the ship.

This can give you a lot of time to reflect on your thoughts and ideas and improve your personality and learn more about yourself and you can also utilise this time to read books or gain knowledge everyday, or binge watch movies online, etc.

These are all the popular advantages of Merchant Navy as a career option.

Cons of Merchant navy

1. Fitness is crucial

Fitness both mental and physical is the main criteria in order to join Merchant Navy.

If you are not physically and mentally fit then you cannot get admission into merchant navy.

It is because you will face a lot of different environments and conditions when you are in the sea on the ship.

There will be heavy winds blowing up in the sea and huge tides, waves, heavy rains, and many more things.

And you can also get ocean sickness during the travel.

2. Risks are involved

Because you will be moving from different countries when you are transporting the goods from one nation to another nation you can have many risks like, sea piracy and pirates are one of the major risks.

On average 200 pirate attacks happen on the ships every year worldwide and there have been a steady increase of this pirate attacks in countries like malaysia, Somalia, Indonesia, etc.

3. Stay Away from family 

Another big disadvantage of joining Merchant Navy is that you can stay a lot of time in your duty and profession away from your family.

This becomes a big issue if you have aging parents or if you have a wife and childrens to look after.

This can lead to a lot of feeling of homesickness and you can feel alone and sometimes when you don’t have people with whom you can share your feelings it can be bad and feel depressing.

But still you can connect with your family and friends on mobile phone doing video calls as the only option.

4. Work load 

When you join the Merchant Navy you can expect to work anywhere between 8 to 10 hours everyday and sometimes even more depending upon the weather condition and many other factors.

Apart from that you will have to constantly wear heavy suits and jackets along with the helmet to protect your body when heavy objects fall on you which will happen on the ships due to bad climate and weather conditions like extreme wind, waves or rain.

These are all the pros and cons of career in Merchant Navy.

Is merchant navy a good career and worth it?

Like any other career, Merchant Navy also has its own pros and cons but in my opinion it is a good career option and worth it.

You should join Merchant Navy if,

  • You like to travel and visit new places 
  • You don’t feel lonely when you are alone 
  • You want a high paying job which has less competition
  • You want to contribute to the society and the economy of the country directly 
  • You like oceans and seas
  • You like to interact and meet new people 
  • You are both physically and mentally fit and not disabled person 

In all these cases, the Merchant Navy can be a good career option for you.

With that said let’s conclude the blog post.


These are all the things you need to know about Merchant Navy as a career option.

Do let me know what are your thoughts about Merchant Navy in the comment section below.

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