Merchant Navy Officer Salary in India: Exploring Potential and Career Growth

published on
Jul 2, 2024
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If you're looking for a challenging career in a dynamic industry that pays well, the Merchant Navy industry in India could be the perfect fit for you. With its rapidly growing fleet and increasing international trade, the Merchant Navy is an exciting field to work in.

In this article, we'll provide you with valuable insights into the salary of a Merchant Navy officer in India, as well as the job roles available, required education qualifications, and upskilling opportunities.

What is the Merchant Navy?

The merchant navy plays a vital role in ensuring that goods are transported safely and efficiently across oceans. Merchant Navy professionals manage everything from navigation and cargo loading to maintaining ship systems and ensuring the safety of passengers. As a result, they are highly valued professionals within the industry.

Merchant Navy Officer Salaries

The Merchant navy industry has grown tremendously over the years, as have the salaries of its professionals. In India, Merchant Navy Officers get paid quite well and receive several benefits like health insurance, travel allowances, and housing allowances.

Typical starting salaries for Merchant Navy Officers depend on their ranks and experience. For instance, a Deck Cadet or Trainee Navigating Officer can earn anywhere between ₹20,000 and ₹40,000 per month. Once you gain experience and become a Second Officer or Third Engineer, your salary can increase to around ₹1 lakh to ₹1.5 lakhs per month. 

Different companies pay differently based on several factors, such as company size, work location, the type of vessel the officer works on, etc. For example, if you work for small shipping companies based in smaller cities or towns, your salary will be lower than if you were working for larger companies based in major cities like Mumbai or Chennai.

Companies such as Shipping Corporation of India Ltd., Great Eastern Shipping Company Limited, and Essar Shipping are known to pay well for their employees.

Entry-level Salaries in the Merchant Navy

As an entry-level officer in the Indian Merchant Navy industry, you could expect to earn a median income of ₹30,000-₹40,000 per month as a deck cadet or trainee navigating officer. However, with experience and promotions over time, you could double your initial salary within 5 years.

Moreover, various companies provide other benefits such as health insurance and travel allowances.

The following table shows typical entry-level ranks and salaries:


Salary (per month)

Deck Cadet

₹20,000 - ₹35,000

Trainee Navigating Officer

₹25,000 - ₹40,000

Junior Engineer

₹30,000 - ₹50,000

Mid-level Salaries in the Merchant Navy

As you gain more experience and promotions, Merchant Navy salaries increase significantly.

A mid-level Merchant Navy Officer earns approximately ₹70,000-90,000 per month after gaining relevant experience and promotion. As a Second Officer with around five years of experience under your belt, you can earn around ₹75,000-85,000 per month.

This salary range can also increase when you get promoted to higher positions, such as Chief Officer or Third Engineer.


Senior-level Salaries in the Merchant Navy

Senior-level officers in the Merchant Navy are highly experienced professionals who have spent years working their way up the ranks. These individuals hold positions like Captain, Chief Engineer, or Technical Superintendent.

The salary range for these positions ranges between ₹1.5 lakhs to ₹4 lakhs per month, plus additional benefits like health insurance, travel allowances, life insurance, and housing allowances.

It's important to note that Indian pay scales for senior-level officers in the Merchant Navy industry may be lower than international pay scales. However, this difference can be made up by other benefits, such as tax exemptions on income earned outside India. As a senior-level officer in the Merchant Navy industry in India, your salary will be competitive with other high-paying professions in the country.

Education and Upskilling Options for Aspiring Merchant Navy Officers

Becoming a Merchant Navy officer requires relevant educational qualifications, such as:

  • A bachelor's degree in marine engineering or nautical science
  • Certifications like STCW courses (Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping)
  • Good physical health

Upskilling is important for growth as a Merchant Navy Officer, from Advanced Navigation Courses to Maritime Law courses and Offshore Safety and Survival Courses.

Below is a table comparing some popular upskilling courses available in India:

Course Name



Advanced Navigation Courses

2 months

₹2-3 Lakhs

Maritime Law Course

1 year

₹1-2 Lakhs

Offshore Safety and Survival Course

3 months

₹50,000-1 Lakh

Career Pathways for Merchant Navy Officers

The Merchant Navy offers two primary career paths:

  • Deck Officer or Navigating Officer: This career path involves various positions such as Third officer, Second officer, Chief officer, and Captain. With each higher position comes greater responsibility and a higher pay scale. Starting salaries for Third officers average around ₹70,000 per month, while those of a captain range between ₹2-3 lakhs per month.
  • Marine Engineering: This career path involves various positions such as Junior Engineer, Fourth Engineer, Second Engineer, and Chief Engineer. Junior Engineers can earn around ₹50,000 per month, while the salary of a Chief Engineer can range between ₹1.5 and 2 lakhs per month.

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Charting Your Course to a Rewarding Career

Acquiring skills and continuous learning are essential for success in the Merchant Navy industry since technological advancements are continuously changing the landscape.

WIZR provides financing options for young professionals seeking career-focused upskilling and certification programmes that would help you chart your course to successful careers in the Merchant Navy industry.


1. How different are Merchant Navy salaries from those of the Indian Navy?

Merchant Navy officers typically earn higher salaries than Indian Navy officers due to the long work hours and extended periods spent away at sea.

2. Is a merchant navy job permanent?

Merchant Navy jobs are not permanent but provide long-term employment opportunities. You can take breaks between contracts as required.

3. What are the age limit and physical attributes required to join the merchant navy?

Candidates aged between 17.5 and 25 years with good eyesight (6/6 vision) and hearing abilities can apply for merchant navy jobs. Good physical fitness is also essential.

4. Are merchant navy salaries tax-free?

Merchant navy officers who spend more than 183 days outside India in a financial year qualify for tax exemption under Section 10(6) of the Income Tax Act.

5. What are the challenges of working in the merchant navy?

Working in the merchant navy can be challenging due to prolonged periods away from family and friends, extreme weather conditions, rough seas, and long working hours. However, it offers exciting opportunities to travel the world and gain valuable experience.

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