What is the Merchant Navy?

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

Find out more about different
types of ships

A Career at Sea?

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.

Click here for a list of sponsoring companies.
Click here for a list of colleges/universities running the programmes.

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