The Merchant Navy is a term used to describe commercial shipping i.e. tankers, bulk carriers, container, Ro-Ro, General cargo, Curies Ship – but let’s look a little more into what the Merchant Navy do.

Over 90% of goods are transport in the World by sea. That makes shipping a vital part of our economy!

Think container ships – these huge ships carry around 11,000 containers, each able to carry about 100 tonnes of goods. There are also tankers that work in the transport of fuel and other important resources.

But it’s not just goods, what about transport? Cruise ships and ferries carry people from shore to shore all around the  and the world. Ever thought about research? Ships are used to survey environmental and coastal data and much, much more.

We must not forget the smaller ships like tugs; these small ships do a very important job guiding and moving vessels into and out of ports and work much closer to the shore and often in emergency situations. Research, transport, support and travel – and that’s just the start! A non-military service, the Merchant Navy is a part of a global economy that impacts our daily lives from the food we eat to the things we own and use every day. The Merchant Navy is part of the wider Maritime Industry that covers areas related to working at sea and ashore.

The Merchant Navy doesn’t just promise an exciting adventure, but job satisfaction. Whichever role you choose, you can be sure a career at sea will offer a lifetime of rewarding challenges, skills and the professional seafaring certifications you need to progress. Becoming an Officer Ships Officers in Navigation (Deck) and Engineering need a seafarer Certificate of Competency – issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. You receive the Officer of the Watch certificate (OOW), when you complete your Merchant Navy Training Board course.

Then as your experience at sea grows and you pass the required examinations, you’ll get more certificates for promotion into the next job role.

Take the Ratings route

Ratings work in Navigation (Deck), Engine Room, Catering, Hospitality and Onboard Services Ratings can apply for funding to take Officer of the Watch certification.

For shore-based jobs in ship management and other marine industries, you’ll find incredibly varied and rewarding opportunities such as maritime law, surveying ships or training future seafarers.

What qualities and skills do I need?

After spending time at sea in a ratings role, there are opportunities to undertake rating to officer training. This may be provided by the employing shipping company as part of its workforce development and your own career development aspirations and ambitions, or you may choose to develop your career in this way through your own auspices. This will include attendance at a nautical college for a rating to officer conversion course, accruing sea-time and completing the related industry training record book and passing the Officer of the Watch formal written and oral examinations.

Seaman Grade 1 (Able Seafarer)

A member of the deck crew may be referred to as Able Seafarer, Ordinary seafarer or Trainee Rating. Duties include deck and accommodation patrols, steering the vessel, standing lookout and assisting the officer on watch. They also moor and unmoor the vessel in ports, secure/unsecure cargo, as well as cleaning and maintaining the deck.

As the most senior and experienced rating, Seaman Grade 1 can have foreman-like responsibilities. These duties would include directly supervising maintenance operations and allocating tasks. Others at this level may be qualified to work on the deck or engineering side, and are classed as ‘General Purpose Ratings.’

What you’ll need

An Able Seafarer’s Certificate. You receive this once you’ve served the required amount of time at sea, got your Efficient Deck Hand Certificate and taken further professional and safety training.

Seaman Grade 2 (Ordinary Seaman)

A member of the deck crew may also be referred to as Able Seafarer, Ordinary seafarer/seaman or Trainee Rating. They carry out similar tasks to Seaman Grade 1 while they gain experience.

What you’ll need

A Navigational Watch Rating certificate. For this you’ll have spent a minimum time at sea and received professional and safety training

Trainee Rating (Junior Ordinary Seafarer)

Trainee Ratings learns the role of Seaman Grades 1 and 2, while working towards the Navigational Watch Rating Certificate.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]