Chief Mate in Merchant Navy - How to become a Chief Mate in Merchant Navy?


Chief Mate is a licensed associate and leader of the deck department of the Merchant Navy. Chief Mate, otherwise called Chief Officer is ranked just below the Captain of a ship. Deck cadets can turn out to be Chief mates with experience and by attending certain examinations. It is the prime responsibility of a Chief mate to work as a watch stander and to be in charge of the ship’s deck crew and freight. He is responsible to the Captain of the ship for safeguarding the vessel.

Qualifying Exam

To become a Chief Mate, aspirants have to primarily begin as a Deck Cadet. Through years of experience and clearing various levels of exams, these professionals can turn out to be Chief Officers. There are mainly 2 stages that they need to complete so as to become a Chief Mate. They are the Third mate and the Second mate. In the process, they have to clear certain tests. Third mates, who have one year experience can apply for the second mate test. Being a second mate, they have to complete another 365 days of experience to apply for the first mate’s exam. In addition, they have to work as a Watch stander for at least 3 months while working as a Second Mate. The First Mate’s exam comprises of mainly four parts – 2 written tests, an oral test and a signal test. The written test comprises of questions on Radio and Electronics, Safety, cargo work and Ship maintenance, Chart work and Practical Navigation. To apply for the First Mate’s test, aspirants should be Second Mates and must be aged above 21 years.

Who is eligible to apply?

The pre-requisite condition to apply for the Deck cadets’ exam is a pass in the 10+2 exams with not less than 60% marks. They should have conceded the intermediate course in Science disciplines. Those who have a graduation in Nautical Science can also apply for the same.

Key Points in the process

  • Study the intermediate course
  • Apply for the Deck Cadet’s exam and become the same.
  • Attend examinations to extend your career into a Third Mate.
  • Gain 365 days work experience, apply for the Second Mate test and become the same.
  • Work as a Second Mate for 1 year and apply for the First Mate test.
  • Clear the First Mate test and turn out to be a Chief Mate.

Skills and responsibilities of a Merchant Navy Deck Cadet

In addition to the technical knowledge, Chief Officers’ should have some intellectual ideas in safeguarding the ship at hard times. Chief Mates’ responsibilities encompass the crew’s comfort. They should provide proper guidance to the crew in areas like security, firefighting, exploration and rescue.



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4 Responses to “Chief Mate in Merchant Navy - How to become a Chief Mate in Merchant Navy?”

  1. 4


  2. 3

    am a machant navy in nigeria i want to join machant navy in your country how can i do that

  3. 2

    sir, i have completed gp ratings and my sailing is 36 months! my qualification is 10+2 with pcm 57.3% marks . i am eligible to give o.o.w. test (second mate). pls tell me..

  4. 1

    im an can i become a chief mate.please send me the required essentials and how can become a chief mate.i am more interested in merchant navy.