Merchant Navy

A career at sea offers a wealth of exciting opportunities for anyone looking for adventure and a job away from the normal humdrum of a desk job.

The Merchant Navy is the collective term for commercial shipping and includes a variety of vessels from cruise ships to tankers and cargo ships of all description.

This fast moving and technologically advanced industry requires highly trained seafarers working across navigation, engineering, electro-technical and on-board services disciplines at both officer and rating levels. There are a variety of entry routes available to start a career at sea within the Merchant Navy, which includes fully sponsored training programmes and apprenticeships.

With world- class institutions and a robust training system, UK seafarers are sought after all across the world and the range of skills they acquire during their training enables them to thrive in a competitive industry.

Those who decide to pursue a career at sea by following the officer training route will, on completion, be in a management position ensuring that the vessel and its crew are safe, all the machinery is maintained and the cargo reaches its destination on time and intact. Ratings are the ‘support staff’ working on vessels and directed by the officers to ensure the running of the ship is a safe and efficient operation. There are also roles for those interested in on-board services and hospitality, on vessel such as cruise ships and passenger ferries. 

More information

For more information on a career in the Merchant Navy visit the dedicated, national careers website, Careers at Sea.

Careers at Sea

Reviewed June 2023