Merchant navy is one of the most sought after career choices today primarily because it is very high paying and provides an opportunity to see the world. The Merchant Navy is a non-combatant commercial fleet, which deals with transporting cargo and occasionally, passengers, by sea. Its fleet is therefore composed of vessels (ships) such as passenger vessels (called Cruise Ships), liners which call ports on a predetermined route at specified intervals, cargo vessels which carry cargo or oil tankers (called tankers), gas carriers, as well as other special types of vessels. In fact, the merchant navy is the backbone of international trade, carrying cargo across the globe. Without the merchant navy, much of the import-export business may grind to a halt.
Careers in merchant navy can be made either in engineering or on the deck side. The deck side officers include the captain, chief officer, second officer, third officer and other junior officers. To make a career on the deck side a student needs to study nautical science. Nautical science refers to the knowledge required to safely navigate and operate ships, tankers, boats and other marine vessels. This knowledge and practical experience leads on to a career in commanding ships. Officers with a nautical science background play a critical role in navigation of ships, loading and discharging of cargo, maintenance of ships, safety of passengers and crew and observance of various national and international codes of conduct.
A holistic curriculum in nautical science includes subjects related to navigation and seamanship. Navigation covers how to plot positions and courses to track movement through water, and rules required for safe navigation. Seamanship is concerned with the basic operation of shipboard equipment and tools, as well as damage control procedures. Also included in the syllabus will be training for physical fitness to fight the rigours that might be faced by sailors in the sea. In addition the students need to do STCW Training courses (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping).
After completion of a Bachelor in Nautical Science and the STCW courses a graduate starts off as a trainee navigation officer (deck cadet) and gains a sea experience of 12 months. As part of this training deck cadets learn to load ships, store cargo, handle gear, stationary rigging, and running gear, and learns ship stability, ship maneuvering and ship management and perform a variety of operations and maintenance tasks to preserve the painted surface of the ship and to maintain line and ship equipment. Then they can gain promotion as third officer and go on to become second officer, first officer and finally the captain by clearing the exams for each position, doing specialized courses and gaining seafaring experience. Needless to say, on acquiring the post of a Captain on the ship, after giving a series of examinations, the results are rewarding! Moreover, with these qualifications and experience, there is also scope for acquiring shore-based positions after gaining enough sea experience.
A nautical science aspirant should be equipped with analytical abilities and problem solving attitude along with an eye for detail that is required for vigilant navigation. He should have the required fitness to remain in seas for long durations. The candidate must hold basic computer knowledge to help him comprehend the high-tech marine dynamics and navigation systems. Moreover, an ambitious student who is wanting to pursue nautical sciences should also hold effective communication skills as one has to interact with other professionals and officers from across the world.
Bachelor’s degree in nautical science is offered by some of the top most marine colleges and institutes across the country that are recognized by the Directorate General of Shipping. One can also pursue a one year diploma in Nautical Science offered by prestigious institutes of repute in the country.
To choose the best training and learning experience in nautical sciences, you may consult a professional counselor who can guide and advice you suitable options in accordance to your ability and talent.
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