Merchant Navy as a Funding for Future!!


Dear all,

We have been talking about Merchant Navy Aspirants and their motivations and once they join the Merchant navy their challenges and moments of Joy after they join. We had also discussed on how few of the aspirants join Merchant navy because of their surroundings and other motivations even though they might have felt that they may not be a perfect fit for Merchant navy.


Today we will talk about one such Motivation which is using Merchant navy as a funding machine. Yes, you read it right, some of the aspirants and also some of the seafarers who have recently joined the career in Merchant navy treat it as a milking cow for their future ashore in some other field away from Merchant navy.


The below list provides some insights in to what seafarers usually do.


1) Young seafarers plan to sail up to only 3rd officer or a 2nd officer level where you need to clear only one professional exams which is the 2nd Mates. After this exam you start earning enough money to pursue your studies mostly post-graduation-This Plan works for those who have done their graduation either BSC in Nautical science or the had joined the 1 year DNS pre sea course after their Graduation. If these candidates don’t see Merchant navy as a long term career they after earning a decent amount just enough to fund their post-graduation, either it could be an MBA which mostly is or other courses where they now feel has more scope.MBA Crystalball (Disclaimer: This post is not an Ad for them) is one such agency who have helped many seafarers clear GMAT to help them get admissions in universities worldwide.


2) Second set of seafarers who leave merchant navy are senior officers who feel they had enough of sailing but don’t want to do shore job related to merchant navy, hence try something else first during their leave period and if it becomes a success then they decide to hang their boots completely and permanently settle ashore. The other business can be literally anything; I have tried to make a list of where all seafarers can go after they seem to have done with Merchant navy


a. A restaurant (this seems to be picking up trend), and catering services


b. A Boutique


c. Wholesale dealer in FMCG items,


d. Movie production


e. One of my friends have joined the Indian Administrative Services after clearing his exams.


f. Real estate –Builders


g. Hotel business-i.e. stay arrangements for travelling seafarers mostly like self-contained guest houses.


h. Multi-level Marketing-Seafarers desperate to leave sea but don’t see any other profitable option and don’t want to do anything related to Merchant navy –try to get their hands on MLMs.But with MLMs you are required to be always on top of it and it’s not that easy as it looks. So if you go onboard in between your down chain goes cold and hence MLM and sailing I fell don’t go very well together.


i. Engineers who are seafarers have a comparatively higher number of options, who have done Mechanical engineering at their graduation prior joining merchant navy.


j. Some examples include Five star hotels as Chief engineers in charge of maintaining the support infrastructure like Air-conditioning plants etc.

3) This option is little rare but still happen, People decide to migrate to other countries and do something completely different from Merchant navy. Mostly these are not the 1st generation Migraters but 2nd or 3rd generation, where they already have their families or sometimes marry in that country. here we are not considering seafarers who actually do migrate to other countries but still continue sailing. They are still considered loyal to the merchant navy profession.


4) Simply retire and go about your Passion-I actually don’t think any of the merchant navy officers would ever dream of retiring early as they would be in their peak earning stage and the smell of the US dollars keeps attracting them back to the ships. Until this time the family is also so used to be without the seafarer at home for many months a year, they actually feel odd if he decides to stay at home altogether ;). But it could be viable option if they had planned their seafaring career well, it is possible that they have made some passive earning schemes so that they can actually retire. There was an article recently by the AEGON life on “5 Professions that can Help You Retire by Age 40” which actually mentions Merchant navy as a career option to retire by 40! Google it!!


The above careers mentioned actually can be pursued by anyone i.e. Either an officer or rating as only the initial capital to manage your family is required.


Here I have also intentionally excluded all types of shore jobs in the maritime industry as they come naturally to seafarers and there is lot of literature for the same. The usual flow for most of the seafarers who decide to quit sea is as below


1) Start the career as a cadet or TME


2) Complete exams and grow till the rank of Master/CE


3) Sailing in the rank of Master or CE will be very minimal like 1 or 2 contracts for a seafarer with firm plans.


4) Come Ashore where ever you get mostly starting will either be in a training institute or a marine/Engine superintendent to start earning and then jump as per opportunities come.

In both the instances if you have come ashore in a job related to merchant navy or not, it is very important to be resilient and do not lose hope and take the easy way back to the ship. As there are seafarers who did have the courage to start ashore but went back sailing view various reasons.


Thanks so much for reading! Please do share your experience and any other opportunities available outside the merchant navy but I missed.


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