A sailor’s ability to navigate a ship on the oceans for making from port to port and along the coastlines of the world is based on his/ her knowledge of Nautical Science. It is the precise study of the principles and practices of operating various types and sizes of vessels, some of which are highly specialized and state-of-the art in inland waters, coastal areas and on the high seas, and includes topics such as navigation, ship stability and ship handling, cargo-work, propulsion, and meteorology, to name a few.

Course details
Study in nautical science can create opportunities for jobs as a marine engineer or navigation officer. Major Opportunities include becoming a deck or navigation officer. One can opt for a three-year B.Sc. Nautical Science or Maritime Science course approved by the Director- General of Shipping (DGS). However, to become a marine engineer, one should take admission to a college approved by the Director- General of Shipping (DGS). A four-year professional marine engineering degree course is the right path for a career in nautical science.

Academically brilliant students who have cleared plus-two level with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and English are eligible to study these courses. Expertise in English and communication skills are considered to be an added advantage.

One can also get into the field of Merchant Navy directly. Aspirants who have passed plus-two with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics have the eligibility to get hired as deck cadets. Young graduates with a mechanical or electrical engineering degree can also join as engine cadets after undertaking a basic pre-sea training.

Where to study
The Marine Engineering and Research Institute (MERI), Kolkata, with as many as 160 seats, is a famous institute that offers a four- year degree in marine engineering. The Training Ship (TS) Chanakya, Navi Mumbai, with 120 seats, offers a three- year B.Sc. nautical science course. T.S. Chanakya coaches the cadets to become navigating officer and MERI marine engineers and polyvalent officers. MERI, Mumbai, with 30 seats offers a three-year B.Sc. (maritime science) course.

Ranks in the Indian Institute of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), fitness tests for both mental and physical agility and individual performance at the counselling and interview sessions include the admission criterion for these three institutes. Clearing the plus two or equivalent levels with pure science and scoring a minimum 60 per cent marks (55 per cent for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and physically challenged candidates) in aggregate is mandatory to write the JEE test.

Other institutes

  • The Cochin University of Science and Technology offers a B. Tech in Marine Engineering residential programme.
  • The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in partnership with DGS, Mumbai, offer the B.Sc. nautical science course.
  • Academy of Marine Education and Training, Gandhi Nagar, Saligramam, Chennai, offers BE in marine engineering and B.Sc. nautical science
  • R.L. Institute of Nautical Sciences, Madurai, Tamil Nadu offers B.Sc. in marine engineering and B.Sc. in nautical technology; while Tolani
  • Maritime Institute, Pune, offers only B.Sc. marine engineering.
  • Vels Academy of Maritime Education and Training, Vel Nagar, Chennai, The Marine Engineering Training Institute under Cochin Shipyard Ltd. and Marine Engineering and Research Institute, Mumbai offer one-year pre-sea training for graduates in mechanical engineering or naval architecture. Students with diploma in mechanical, marine, naval architecture, electrical and electronics engineering can also enrol for a two- year pre-sea training.
  • Tamil Nadu Maritime Academy, Thoothukudi, under the Tamil Nadu Government, conducts pre-sea training, seaman rating (deck) and engine room rating (engine) courses.
  • Shipping Corporation of India, Mumbai, provides training facilities for graduates in mechanical engineering and naval architecture to qualify as trainee marine engineers.

For those considering an enrollment in private colleges or institutions it is very important to ensure that the college or institute of choice is recognised by the DGS. TNU is one of the few private colleges in Eastern India that can boast of an in-house, high-tech Ship-in-Campus with advanced bridge simulation facilities. This novel infrastructure facility, built in compliance with international standards, houses original ship equipment in order to give budding Marine Engineers and Nautical Science cadets a hands-on experience of what a naval career entails.

Career Prospects
The Bachelor in Nautical Science degree enables the graduates to become Navigating Officers on-board on merchant ships plying worldwide. Joining as a Deck Cadet after graduation, one needs to complete the training process. The career graph then take the cadets through various shipboard experiences and training courses, for finally rising to the coveted level of Captain (Master) of a merchant ship, based on their performance in relevant examinations conducted by the Directorate General of Shipping. The higher position that a navigating officer can aspire for is to become the master of the ship (Captain). Other options are positions like marine engineer, chief engineer, polyvalent officer and master or chief engineer.

Many Indian graduates are now placed on board ships owned and managed by various shipping companies including Elegant Marine Services, Wallem Ship Management, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, MSC Ship Management, United Ocean Ship Management, Gulf Energy Maritime Services (GEM), Wilhelmsen Ship Management, MMS Maritime (MMSI),Apeejay Shipping, Univan Ship Management, Searland Management Service, and Herald Maritime Service, etc.

The salary of a fresh graduate in nautical science is roughly rupees 40, 000. Those joining international companies receive much higher pay packages.

Related Post: Merchant Navy Career in India

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