How To Join Merchant Navy Catering Department? Course, Fees, Syllabus

What is the Catering Department in Merchant Navy?

The Catering Department in the Merchant Navy is responsible for managing the galley and mess facilities on board ships. Led by the Chief Cook, the department ensures the provision of nutritious meals, adhering to dietary requirements and cultural preferences of the crew. They maintain high standards of hygiene, manage food supplies, and oversee meal preparation and service. The Catering Department also takes care of galley maintenance, waste management, and creating a comfortable dining environment. Their role is crucial in providing sustenance and promoting the well-being of crew members, contributing to the overall efficiency and morale on the ship.

Also, Read This: Joining the Merchant Navy: Criteria, Qualifications, Selection, Salary, and Job Types

Table of Contents

What are the post in merchant navy in cooking department?

In the cooking department of the merchant navy, there are various positions available. Here are some common roles:

Chief Cook:

The chief cook is responsible for managing the entire galley and supervising the kitchen staff. They plan menus, order supplies, and ensure that meals are prepared and served according to the highest standards of hygiene and quality.

Second Cook:

The second cook assists the chief cook in meal preparation and helps in maintaining the cleanliness and organization of the galley. They may also be responsible for specific tasks like baking or pastry-making.


The steward is responsible for serving meals, setting tables, and maintaining the cleanliness of the dining area. They assist the chief cook and second cook in various kitchen duties and ensure that the dining area is well-maintained.


The messman assists in the galley and dining area, helping with food preparation, dishwashing, and general cleaning. They work closely with the cooks and stewards to ensure the smooth functioning of the kitchen and dining operations.


Some larger ships may have a dedicated baker who is responsible for baking bread, pastries, and desserts. They have specialized skills in baking techniques and often work closely with the chief cook to plan and execute the baking requirements.

Post wise salary, promotion process and experience detail:

PostSalary Range (Per Month)Experience (Years)Promotion Process
Trainee Cook/Steward₹15,000 – ₹20,0000-1Successful completion of training courses and gaining practical experience
Junior Cook/Steward₹20,000 – ₹30,0001-3Demonstrating competence, acquiring additional certifications, and satisfactory performance
Senior Cook/Steward₹30,000 – ₹40,0003-5Proven culinary skills, leadership abilities, and consistent high performance
Chief Cook/Senior Steward₹40,000 – ₹60,0005-8Exceptional culinary expertise, management capabilities, and recommendation for promotion
Chief Steward₹60,000 – ₹80,0008-10Demonstrated leadership, successful management of catering operations, and exemplary performance
Catering Officer₹80,000 – ₹1,20,00010+Extensive experience, higher-level certifications, managerial skills, and outstanding performance
Food and Beverage Manager₹1,20,000 – ₹1,80,00010+Extensive experience, specialized training, excellent managerial abilities, and proven leadership

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What training or certifications are required to join catering department in the merchant navy?

To join the catering department in the merchant navy, individuals typically need to undergo specific training and obtain relevant certifications. The exact requirements may vary depending on the shipping company and the position applied for. Here are some common training and certifications required:

Certificate of Competency (COC):

This is a crucial certification for higher-ranking positions such as Chief Cook. It is obtained by completing the necessary education, sea-time, and passing examinations conducted by the maritime authorities.

Basic Safety Training (BST):

Basic Safety Training is a mandatory requirement for all seafarers, including catering personnel. It covers firefighting, personal survival techniques, elementary first aid, and personal safety and social responsibilities.

Food Safety and Hygiene Certifications:

Catering personnel must have knowledge and certifications related to food safety and hygiene practices. These may include Food Safety Level 2, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), or other similar certifications.

Security Awareness Training:

Security Awareness Training is required as per the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. It familiarizes catering personnel with security threats, emergency procedures, and their roles in maintaining ship security.

Crowd Management Training:

If the catering personnel will be responsible for managing mess areas or dining facilities, they may be required to undergo crowd management training. This training equips them with skills to handle large groups of people during emergencies or evacuation procedures.

Ship-specific Familiarization:

Upon joining a new vessel, catering personnel will undergo ship-specific familiarization training. This familiarizes them with the layout, safety equipment, emergency procedures, and specific protocols of that particular ship.

Additionally, certain shipping companies may have their own internal training programs or requirements that catering personnel must fulfill.

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What Criteria for Joining the Catering Department:

To join the catering department in the merchant navy, individuals need to meet certain criteria set by shipping companies and maritime authorities. While specific requirements may vary, here are some common criteria for joining the catering department:

Age Requirement:

There is typically a minimum and maximum age limit for joining the merchant navy. The exact age requirements can vary depending on the position and country of employment.

Medical Fitness:

Candidates must meet the medical fitness standards set by the shipping company and maritime authorities. They are required to undergo a medical examination conducted by an approved medical practitioner to ensure they are physically and mentally fit to work at sea.

Educational Qualifications:

While formal educational qualifications may not be mandatory for all positions in the catering department, a basic level of education is generally expected. This may include completion of secondary education or vocational courses related to catering or hospitality.

Training and Certifications:

As mentioned earlier, candidates are required to complete specific training and obtain relevant certifications. These may include Basic Safety Training (BST), food safety and hygiene certifications, security awareness training, and crowd management training, among others.

Language Proficiency:

Proficiency in English is highly desirable, as it is the international language used for communication at sea. Candidates are expected to have a good command of English to effectively communicate and understand safety instructions and procedures.


While prior experience in the catering industry can be beneficial, it may not be mandatory for entry-level positions. However, higher-ranking positions such as Chief Cook may require a certain level of experience or sea-time.

Selection Process and Examinations to Join Catering Department, Merchant Navy

The joining process and examinations for the catering department in the merchant navy typically involve several steps. While specific procedures may vary depending on the shipping company and country, here is a general overview:

Application and Screening:

Interested candidates need to submit an application to the shipping company or recruitment agency. This application may include personal details, educational qualifications, work experience (if applicable), and any relevant certifications or training completed.

Medical Examination:

Candidates undergo a medical examination conducted by an approved medical practitioner. The medical examination assesses their physical and mental fitness to work at sea. It may include a general health check-up, vision and hearing tests, drug and alcohol screening, and assessment of overall fitness.


Shortlisted candidates may be called for an interview. The interview can be conducted in person or through video conferencing. The purpose of the interview is to assess the candidate’s suitability for the role, evaluate their communication skills, and discuss their experience and knowledge in the catering field.

Training and Certifications:

Once selected, candidates are required to undergo specific training and obtain relevant certifications. This may include Basic Safety Training (BST), food safety and hygiene certifications, security awareness training, and any other mandatory training as per international maritime regulations.


Depending on the position and level of responsibility, candidates may be required to pass written examinations conducted by the maritime authorities. These examinations assess the candidate’s knowledge and competency in areas such as food safety, hygiene practices, shipboard safety, and relevant regulations.

Documentation and Joining Formalities:

Upon successful completion of the medical examination, interview, training, and examinations, candidates need to complete the necessary documentation and paperwork. This includes signing contracts, obtaining necessary visas and work permits, and fulfilling any other legal requirements.

Career Path and Growth Opportunities in the Catering Department of Merchant Navy:

Here are some common career progression paths and growth opportunities within the catering department:


Entry-level positions in the catering department often start as cooks or stewards. In these roles, individuals gain hands-on experience in food preparation, kitchen operations, and maintaining cleanliness in the dining areas. They assist senior catering personnel and develop their skills and knowledge in the maritime catering industry.

Second Cook:

With experience and proficiency, individuals can progress to the position of a second cook. Second cooks have more responsibilities in meal preparation, menu planning, and supervising junior catering staff. They work closely with the chief cook and contribute to the smooth functioning of the galley and mess facilities.

Chief Cook:

The chief cook is a senior position in the catering department. They are responsible for managing the entire galley, overseeing meal planning and preparation, and ensuring high standards of food quality, hygiene, and safety. Chief cooks may have additional responsibilities, such as managing inventory, budgeting, and coordinating with other departments on the ship.

Chief Steward:

In larger vessels, a chief steward position may exist, overseeing the entire catering department. Chief stewards are responsible for managing both the galley and dining areas, ensuring efficient operations, supervising catering personnel, and maintaining high standards of cleanliness and service.

Culinary Specialist/Executive Chef:

In some cases, individuals with advanced culinary skills and experience may have opportunities to become culinary specialists or executive chefs on merchant navy vessels. These positions involve leading the culinary team, designing menus, and maintaining culinary standards at an elevated level.

Land-Based Opportunities:

The experience gained in the catering department of the merchant navy can open up avenues for land-based career opportunities in the hospitality and catering industry. Individuals can transition to positions such as executive chefs, food service managers, or trainers in the culinary field.

Growth opportunities within the catering department are typically based on experience, expertise, and demonstrated competency. Further professional development, obtaining higher-level certifications, and pursuing advanced culinary education can enhance career prospects and open doors to higher-ranking positions within the catering department.

Top Colleges in India for Catering Course to Join Merchant Navy?

In India, there are several reputable colleges and institutes that offer culinary courses and can prepare individuals for a career in the catering department of the merchant navy. Here are some of the top colleges in India for catering courses:

College NameLocationFees (Approx.)Syllabus
Institute of Hotel ManagementMumbai₹1,50,000Culinary Techniques, Food Safety, Menu Planning
Culinary Academy of IndiaHyderabad₹2,00,000International Cuisine, Baking & Pastry Arts
Welcomgroup Graduate SchoolManipal₹1,80,000Food Production, Food & Beverage Service
Oriental School of HotelWayanad₹1,20,000Kitchen Operations, Hospitality Management
International Institute ofNew Delhi₹1,75,000Culinary Fundamentals, Food Presentation
Hotel Management   
Institute of Hotel ManagementKolkata₹1,50,000Quantity Food Production, Bakery & Confectionery
Institute of Hotel ManagementDelhi₹1,80,000Food & Beverage Control, Catering Management

Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) Mumbai:

Located in Mumbai, IHM Mumbai offers a comprehensive catering and culinary arts program that covers all aspects of food preparation, kitchen management, and hospitality.

Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) Delhi:

IHM Delhi is a renowned institute offering a variety of hospitality and culinary programs, including courses focused on catering and culinary arts.

Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA), Manipal:

WGSHA is known for its excellent hospitality education and offers a specialized program in culinary arts and catering.

Culinary Academy of India (CAI), Hyderabad:

CAI is dedicated to culinary education and provides courses in culinary arts, baking, and catering management.

Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) Kolkata:

IHM Kolkata offers programs in hotel management and culinary arts, including courses that can equip individuals for a career in the catering department of the merchant navy.

International Institute of Culinary Arts (IICA), New Delhi:

IICA offers a range of culinary programs that focus on practical skills and theoretical knowledge required in the catering industry.

Oriental School of Hotel Management (OSHM), Wayanad:

OSHM offers courses in hotel management and culinary arts, providing training and education for individuals aspiring to join the catering department in the merchant navy.

These colleges provide a solid foundation in culinary skills, hospitality management, and food safety, which are essential for a career in the catering department. It’s important to note that while these colleges can provide the necessary education, individuals interested in joining the merchant navy’s catering department should also ensure they meet the specific training, certification, and medical requirements set by shipping companies and maritime authorities.

How to apply for catering course merchant navy?

To apply for a catering course in the merchant navy, you can follow these general steps:

Research Maritime Training Institutes:

Look for reputable maritime training institutes or culinary schools that offer catering courses specifically designed for the merchant navy. Ensure that the courses cover the necessary skills and knowledge required for a career in the catering department at sea.

Check Admission Requirements:

Review the admission requirements of the institutes you are interested in. They may include educational qualifications, age limits, medical fitness standards, and language proficiency requirements. Ensure that you meet the criteria before proceeding with the application.

Obtain Application Form:

Contact the maritime training institutes directly or visit their official websites to obtain the application form for the catering course. Some institutes may have online application portals where you can submit your application.

Prepare Required Documents:

Gather all the required documents for your application. These may include your educational certificates, identification documents, medical fitness certificate, passport-size photographs, and any other documents specified by the institute.

Complete the Application Form:

Fill out the application form accurately and legibly. Provide the necessary personal details, educational background, and any relevant work experience. Make sure to follow any specific instructions provided by the institute regarding the application form.

Attach Supporting Documents:

Attach all the required supporting documents to your application form. Ensure that you provide certified copies or notarized copies of the original documents, as specified by the institute. Double-check that you have included all the necessary documents to avoid any delays in the application process.

Submit the Application:

Submit your completed application form along with the supporting documents to the maritime training institute within the specified deadline. Some institutes may require you to submit the application by mail, while others may have an online submission process. Follow the instructions provided by the institute for the submission of your application.

Application Review and Selection:

The institute will review your application along with other applicants. They may consider factors such as your academic qualifications, relevant experience, and the availability of course seats. If you meet the selection criteria, you may be shortlisted for further evaluation, which can include interviews or entrance exams.

Acceptance and Enrollment:

If your application is successful, you will receive an acceptance letter or offer of admission from the institute. Review the offer carefully and follow the instructions provided to secure your place in the catering course. Pay any required fees and complete the enrollment formalities within the specified timeframe.


joining the catering department in the merchant navy offers an exciting career path for individuals passionate about culinary arts and maritime adventures. By obtaining the necessary training, certifications, and qualifications, individuals can embark on a rewarding journey. The catering department provides opportunities for professional growth, competitive salaries, and the chance to travel the world while serving on board vessels. It requires a strong work ethic, attention to detail, and the ability to work in a team. Joining the catering department in the merchant navy opens doors to a fulfilling career where individuals can showcase their culinary skills while experiencing the unique challenges and rewards of working at sea.

Also, Read This: Diploma in Marine Engineering: Courses, Eligibility, and Career Opportunities

FAQ Join Merchant Navy Catering Department:

1. What is catering course in merchant navy?.

Ans: The catering course in the merchant navy trains individuals in culinary skills and management specific to the maritime industry.

2. What is the salary of catering and hospitality in merchant navy?

Ans: The salary of catering and hospitality in the merchant navy can vary depending on factors such as rank, experience, and shipping company policies.

3. What is CoC?

Ans: CoC stands for Certificate of Competency, which is a qualification required for certain positions in the merchant navy.

4. Who is eligible for CoC cook?

Ans: Eligibility for CoC cook depends on meeting the necessary training, experience, and certification requirements set by maritime authorities.

5. What is the salary of catering Officer in Indian Navy?

Ans: The salary of a catering officer in the Indian Navy can vary based on rank, experience, and other factors.

6. What qualifications do I need to join the catering department?

Ans: The qualifications needed to join the catering department in the merchant navy include culinary training, relevant certifications, and sometimes maritime-specific courses.

7. What is the duration of training for catering personnel in the merchant navy?

Ans: The duration of training for catering personnel in the merchant navy can vary depending on the specific course or program, but it typically ranges from a few weeks to several months.

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