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In Summary - Cadet - Merchant Navy

A trainee working towards a career as an officer at sea with the merchant navy.

Career Sectors

Cadet - Merchant Navys typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Shipping and Maritime Transport
Maritime, Fishing & Aquaculture

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Further Information

The Work - Cadet - Merchant Navy

Not be confused with the Naval Forces that forms part of the Irish Defence Forces, the Merchant Navy is the name given to those who work in commercial shipping.

The Merchant navy broadly includes non-military sailing vessels such as:

Container Ships - Ranging from small feeder ships trading between islands to some of the biggest ships in the world, containerisation revolutionised the shipping industry - it’s thanks to the container industry that we have so many goods in our high street shops.

Tankers - Carry oil, fuel, gas and chemicals around the world. 

Bulk Carriers - Bring coal, grain, ores and other powdered substances to our shores.

Ferries - From the small inter island ferries providing a vtransportation links to our island communities to the massive sea going ferries providing links to the continent for cars, trucks and passengers.

Cruise Ships - The age old days of crossing the atlantic or traveling to the other side of the world on ships was wiped out over night by the advent of air travel. The industry was quick to change into traveling for pleasure and the cruise industry continues to grow carrying holiday makers to distant shores around the world.

Off Shore Support - large oil fields in the North Sea are supported by a fleet of vessels, providing survey, construction and crew / supply transfers to the oil and gas industry. Many of these companies also supply similar services to oil fields around the world in exotic locations such as Brazil, Caribbean and Australia.

There are many other types of vessel, from cable and pipe line laying to survey and fishery protection vessels.

This is is an international industry, encompassing a wide range of companies which provide some great career opportunities.

Cadet is the title used within the industry for a trainee officer. It’s one of the main starting points in a career as an officer at sea. Cadets attend nautical college and spend their time split between learning academic subjects at college and putting what they’ve learned into practice at sea in the real world.

Similar to an apprenticeship, your training costs may be paid by your sponsor company and they give you a small salary while you’re training.

Tasks & Activities

Cadets join the vessel as an additional member of the crew. You will typically spend time initially working with either the deck or engine ratings. This provides experience of how things are done onboard and introduces you to the variety of tasks that need to be carried out.

Typical tasks for Deck Cadets include:

  • Chipping and painting - banging rust off the decks and repainting it
  • Assisting with mooring operations (tying the ship up to the dock)
  • Helping with cargo loading / unloading,
  • Helping the officers with their paperwork and
  • Other non watch keeping tasks.

They may also spend a little time on the bridge.

Cadets are being trained to high standard in Ireland to meet the future needs of the shipping industry.

Irish Deck Cadets study for a BSc. In Nautical Science. This degree course is designed for those who wish to pursue a career as a Deck Officer aboard ship, providing a comprehensive education in navigation and other ship board activities.

Interests - Cadet - Merchant Navy

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:

Realist

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.

Enterprising

Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.

Entry Requirements - Cadet - Merchant Navy

Irish Deck Cadets can study for an NFQ Level 6 Higher Certificate in Nautical Studies at the NMCI  See DT-189

There is also a Level 7 BSc degree course in Nautical Science at CIT designed for those who wish to pursue a career as a Deck Officer aboard ship, providing a comprehensive education in navigation and other ship board activities. See CR094

Detailed information is available on the National Maritime College website www.nmci.ie

Last Updated: July, 2015

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