Merchant Navy

Merchant Navy

As an island nation, we depend on the sea for 95% of our trade and for our security.

A career at sea in the Merchant Navy, or the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, is both challenging and rewarding, and can lead to a wide range of other careers in the maritime sector ashore.

mv City of London

from those who chose
a life at Sea

Merchant Navy Careers Handbook
could be the best investment you've ever made 
at just 14
Supplied as a digital download in eBook pdf format. The download link will be sent to you by eMail as soon as we receive confirmation of your payment.


Published exclusively in the United Kingdom
by Beaufort Projects



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The Merchant Navy is the generic term for the civilian shipping industry consisting of companies operating a wide variety of ships ranging from small tugs, coasters and ferries through to the large ocean going tankers, bulk carriers, container and cruise ships, including supply and support ships operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) for the Royal Navy.

The Merchant Navy broadly comprises the following:

Bulk Carriers The Red Ensign for Merchant Ships of the Merchant Navy
Container Ships 
Cruise Liners
Ferry Services
General Cargo Ships 
Oil Tankers 
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary 

Current rates of pay are excellent and UK home leave is very generous. There is no central recruiting agency and it is necessary to approach individual shipping companies direct. However, now you have an advantage where you could easily locate your golden opportunity. You will also receive a significant list of shipping employers with contacts, addresses and direct telephone numbers in the latest 2008-2009 edition of Merchant Navy Employment and Careers Handbook at just 14 as a downloadable eBook in Adobe PDF format 

Certain Royal Naval experience and qualifications can be accepted and contribute towards Merchant Navy qualifications. Full details are included in the latest edition of Merchant Navy Employment and Careers Handbook - only available as an eBook  download in pdf format.

For more particulars of life at sea order the latest edition of the Merchant Navy Employment and Careers Handbook at just 14 as a downloadable eBook in Adobe PDF format 

Entry Level? Join as a Rating

There are opportunities for entry as a rating. These are specifically with either the Royal Fleet Auxiliary; one of the British ferry companies such as P&O Stena, P&O Portsmouth, P&O North Sea Ferries, P&O Irish Sea Ferries, Stena; or the numerous companies of the offshore support fleets.

Join as a Trainee

Trainee seamen, motormen and catering assistants are sponsored by their employers through their new entry courses in Sea Survival, Firefighting and Survival Craft before going to sea.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary also recruits a number of trainee communications ratings each year, for which specialised training is given at HMS Collingwood – a Royal Navy shore establishment.

There are also opportunities for shore qualified cooks and stewards.

Opportunities exist for ambitious ratings to qualify, in time, as Officer of the Watch for which some financial assistance or scholarships are available from their employer, NUMAST (Slater Scholarship) or The Marine Society, for which employers would require some return of service.

Join as an Officer Cadet

Deck (Navigating), Engineer and Electro Technical Officer Cadets

There are two training routes to become an officer in the Merchant Navy:

GCSE/A level entry

Applicants (who should be between 16 and 20 years old and have obtained training sponsorship from a shipping company) require a minimum of 4 GCSE passes (or equivalent) at Grades A-C, including mathematics, English, a physical science and a further academic subject. Entry at A level or H grade for accelerated training requires a minimum of a pass (A-E) in mathematics or physics.

Successful applicants are offered an integrated programme of college based education and ship board training leading to NVQ, National and Higher National awards as well as statutory international professional qualifications issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

Training takes place at one of four nautical colleges at Glasgow, Fleetwood, Tyneside or Southampton, interspersed with periods at sea, normally in one of the sponsoring company's ships.

Depending on academic achievement, training to a first certificate of competency takes on average, three years

for more details about what is involved are included in the Merchant Navy Employment and Careers Handbook -
Order it now.

Degree entry

Degree courses leading to a BSc in Merchant Ship Operations or Engineering are offered at the University of Plymouth. Glasgow University (with Glasgow College of Nautical Studies) offer a BSc in Nautical Science for prospective deck officer only. Entry qualification for these courses is 12 points or equivalent on the UCAS scale, including mathematics.

The four year courses include a one year industrial placement at sea and will prepare students academically and professionally to undertake the statutory MCA examination for certification as a deck or engineering officer.

Company sponsorship before embarking on this training route is highly desirable, but can be obtained at a later stage during the degree course before the industrial placement year.

The Merchant Navy Careers Handbook is published exclusively in the United Kingdom by Beaufort Offshore Projects UK.
2006=2009 Beaufort Offshore Projects UK. All Rights reserved.

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