Merchant Navy Rating

Merchant Navy Rating Image

Merchant Navy ratings are involved in the running of their ships and work in the deck, engineering or catering departments. The nature of their duties depends on the department they work in, but all are fully trained in basic seagoing and survival skills.

The Work

There are three main types of Merchant Navy rating: deck, engine room and catering.

As a deck rating you could be:

As an engine room rating you could be:

As a catering rating you could be:

You could also work as a deck, engineering or catering rating with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). RFA ships are staffed by civilians, even though they support and supply Royal Navy warships.


The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:

Starting salaries for qualified ratings range from about £18,500 to £20,500 a year and can rise to £24,000 a year. Experienced ratings can earn up to around £30,000 a year. While at sea, you would have free food and accommodation as well as some travel costs.


Ratings work for shipping companies, ranging from ferries and cruise liners to a wide range of freight vessels such as dry cargo ships, freezer ships, container ships and tankers. The conditions will vary depending on the type of ship you work on and the department you work in.

Workforce Employment Status

LMI data powered by LMI for All

Useful Subjects

Getting In

There is a National 4 Skills for Work course in Uniformed and Emergency Services which introduces school pupils to careers in the emergency services, the armed services and the Merchant Navy. There is also a National 5 Skills for Work in Maritime Skills.

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

LMI data powered by Lightcast

Job Outlook Scotland


LMI data powered by Lightcast

Job Outlook Scotland and UK

4.2 %
  United Kingdom
4.1 %

LMI data powered by Lightcast

What Does it Take?

You need to be:


Getting On

More Information

Relevant courses are available at: City of Glasgow College, UHI Argyll, UHI Outer Hebrides and UHI West Highland.


Courtesy of Maritime UK


The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Maritime Skills Alliance

The Maritime Skills Alliance designs and promotes qualifications and apprenticeships for the UK’s maritime sector.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Tel: 08456 04 05 20
Twitter: @RNJobsUK

Contact the RFA recruitment line to ask for a Careers information pack. The line is open from 9am to 9pm daily.

Was this article useful?
Please help us improve Planit by rating this article.