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Is it still worth it?

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  • Is it still worth it?

    Hi all,

    currently serving in the armed forces(army) but looking at Persuing a career in the merchant navy as a cadet deck officer.

    im 25 currently, with the intention to get into Tankers/gas or Ro-Ro ships.

    id like to think after reading through the threads on here, I have a good idea of how the process works in regards to sponsorship and course duration etc. In the process of searching I have also seen the horror story’s of job prospects on the other end of the course.

    now the question I’m asking, is it a good time to start and peruse a job in such an industry with the gradual influx of cheaper labour and lack of 3rd officer roles advertised at present?

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum, sadly only you can really make that decision…

    The whole job situation is only going to get worse as more and more switch to increasingly cheaper labour and eventually we are pretty much priced out of the market (no point doing the job if you can’t make ends meet on the salaries offered!)

    Aside from this, the fact still remains that for the majority it’s an industry that has increasingly declining benefits and next to zero job security (voyage contracts / foreign employers).

    Personally I enjoy working at sea but sadly after 14 years I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone new unless it’s something you really really want to do.
    ?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn?t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.?

    ? Mark Twain
    myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.


    • #3

      thanks for the input mate!

      it certainly does seem like an interesting career, and being from Southampton would be a fitting industry to move into.

      as You can imagine, being in the army, I’m used to bad pay and conditions 😂 so just gotta weigh up the 3 years of being a skint student and the possibility of not being employed after, which is slightly disheartening.

      Perhaps if I could find a sponsor that has a decant track record of employing cadets then it might make it slightly easier to decide, and suggestion on company’s that have recently been taking on their cadets?


      • #4
        Agree with everything Alistair said. Particularly as a Deck Officer. If you wanted to be an engineer or ETO then at least those skills are more readily and easily transferable (from what people say) but for deck officers it is a bit more difficult. I would be looking at trying to get some useful transferable qualifications out of the military before you leave and go into something else tbh.


        • #5
          I’d be inclined to agree with Alistair, the Merchant Navy is a lot different than the army and not comparable with pay and conditions.

          Considering the declining pay for Officers, lack of job opportunities once qualified, questionable cadetship training (in some cases), poor cadetship allowance, increasing port/flag state inspections and the added stress this brings, criminalisation of seafarers due to overbearing regulations etc.

          Couple this with the now common lack of shoreleave that got introduced due to covid (and seems to be becoming the norm), the fact that you spend 3 years acquiring Deck Officer certification that 99% of people outside the marine industry have no idea what value they hold (so you struggle to move to other industries) and the ineptitude of the work/rest hours system to prevent fatigue (that has long term negative effects on your body). I could go on…

          I would not encourage any Brit to start a Deck Officer career now. After several years at sea I recognised this and got out, moving shoreside. However, undoubtedly if I would have set my priorities on a maritime shore based career many years ago, instead of doing a cadetship, I would have been further up in my career now.