Merchant Navy Training Board
The British Shipping industry can offer you an adventurous lifestyle packed with exciting career prospects.
To become a merchant seafarer in the UK you need to embark upon an education and training course to achieve professional seafaring certification and educational qualifications.
This takes place at sea – onboard shipping companies’ vessels – and in specialist colleges and universities throughout the UK. All programmes are sponsored, with course fees paid, living costs and other allowances provided.
Ships are a ‘University of the Sea’, and during your course you will develop your seafaring skills and knowledge to enable you to fulfill your potential. You can enjoy a full career on board commercial ships, or you can move ashore and put your skills to use in the maritime sector. If you’re keen to gain academic and professional qualifications, experience a unique lifestyle – and satisfy your taste for adventure – a career in British shipping could be just what you’re looking for.
Sailing the world’s oceansis not a job for the faint hearted. To succeed you’ll need to combine technical skill with a range of robust personal qualities.
The Merchant Navy is the name given to the UK's commercial shipping industry. It is made up of shipping companies that own and manage a wide range of different types and sizes of ships.
The British merchant fleet operates worldwide and includes:
- some of the most prestigious cruise companies in the world
- containerships carrying a variety of cargo
- high-tech ferries carrying millions of passengers each year
- high-quality oil, gas and chemical tankers of all sizes
- modern bulk carriers carrying ores, grain and coal
- specialised vessels, including support for the offshore oil and gas industry
Would you like a career where:
- you are paid while you learn
- you get the chance to travel the world at someone
- else's expense
- time off is measured in weeks and months - not just days
- your days are challenging and rewarding
- you can quickly gain responsibility and a salary to match
- there is a lifetime of personal development opportunities
To become a merchant seafarer in the UK you need to undergo specialist training to achieve professional seafaring certification and educational qualifications. This takes place at sea, on board shipping companies' vessels, and in specialist colleges and universities throughout the UK. All programmes are sponsored, with course fees paid, living costs and other allowances provided.
How to Apply
All Officer candidates should apply direct to shipping companies for details of recruitment and training and for the availability of sponsorship. Please see the accompanying list of sponsoring companies. The list is also available at www.careersatsea.org/apply/sponsoring_companies.php
You may apply to more than one company to check out different offers and seek sponsorship. You do not need to wait for your academic results before applying as recruitment may be possible anything up to one year in advance of your beginning the course and there are usually two entry dates August/September and January.
The sponsoring company will arrange your college or university admission and you do not need to apply for your degree course through UCAS. If you do gain entry through UCAS you will then need to apply to the shipping and training companies for sponsorship.
All Ratings candidates should apply direct to shipping companies for details of recruitment and training, however the opportunities for Ratings are limited.
All candidates must be at least 16 years old.
All seafarers are required by law to meet standards of medical fitness and eyesight laid down by the Department for Transport (DfT) and must pass a medical examination carried out by a doctor approved by the DfT in order to obtain a certificate attesting to their fitness. Details of the medical examination and a list of approved doctors can be found on the MCA website
Hotel and catering, Hospitality and Support Services
You will need to contact individual cruise or ferry companies direct for further details on entry requirements and application procedures. Specific roles vary from company to company but generally prior qualifications and experience in hotel, catering or hospitality work are necessary.