The term mercantile marine is used when describing the movement of bulk commodity cargoes globally and the related professional roles associated with that sector. By opting for a career at sea you develop skills that can be applied on the bridge or in the engine room of multi-million dollar vessels moving commodities and cargoes around the world which enable the world wide economy. A career at sea also offers individuals the option of working in the off-shore exploration industry.
Individuals that opt to go to sea as a profession are often described as global adventurers who travel the globe whilst working in a highly specialised environment requiring precise skills, strong leadership and decisive decision making abilities. There are two main disciplines at sea that a person can opt for when training as a mercantile professional.
A navigation officer's work primarily takes place on what is called the bridge of a ship. One begins a seafaring career as an Able Bodied Seaman or rating, goes onto a qualified third officer and follows a progressive career path to the point that they can graduate as a Master Mariner. A Master Mariner or Captain is in charge of the managerial and supervisory aspect of crew, the liaison with port state control and the ship’s owner, operator or manager. A Master Mariner leads the team, delegates the day-to-day work duties and oversees the safety of cargo, passengers and crew. Some Masters choose to serve at sea for their entire career whilst others, after a period of time as Master move onto positions ashore in maritime industries such as ship operations, management, marine insurance, maritime law, maritime training, and marine surveying.
The National Maritime College of Ireland offers a number of courses including a Bachelor of Science of Nautical Science with sea time.
A Chief Engineer is the most highly qualified and experienced technical person on the vessel. They have a thorough knowledge of the vessel's construction, machinery and engineering systems together with all relevant legislation pertaining to them. As with the Master, some Chief Engineers choose to serve at sea for their entire career whilst others, after a period of time as Chief Engineer, aspire to positions ashore in maritime industries such as ship management, shipbuilding and ship repair, marine surveying, marine research & development or working with classifications societies or port state control.
The Chief Engineer ensures the efficient management of the vessels engineering systems and the auxiliary services that all contribute to the ship sailing safely with speed and efficiency. A Chief Engineer must monitor vessel performance, organise engine crew shifts and partner with the Master Mariner aboard ship. A Chief Engineer is a leader, problem solver and innovator.
The National Maritime College of Ireland offers a number of courses including a Bachelor of Engineering in Marine Engineering with sea time.
Electro Technical Officer
An Electro Technical Officer operates, maintains and calibrates all electrical, electronic and ships equipment. The ETO’s role is not restricted to the engine room and may also work on complex systems located throughout any vessel.
The National Maritime College of Ireland offers a number of courses including a Bachelor of Engineering in Marine Electrotechnology with sea time.
As guidance, all career options do require a good ground in mathematics and physics for the initial first year of both courses respectively.
The National Maritime College of Ireland is the national state-of-the-art training facility based in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork for undergraduate and qualified officers as well as offering targeted training courses aimed at the off-shore industry. More information about the college and the courses on offer please access the college website.
If you would to find out more about what you can study at the National Maritime College of Ireland, access the college's most recent maritime training film.