What Is a Maritime Cadet? (Plus How You Can Apply)

What Is a Maritime Cadet? (Plus How You Can Apply) - 20/10/2022

If you’re searching for a career at sea, you may have come across the term ‘maritime cadet’.

Don’t let the military-sounding name deceive you – maritime cadets are civilians who train to become officers on merchant ships. Maritime academies around the world offer programs that prepare students for a career as a maritime officer.

Becoming a maritime cadet opens the door to an exciting and varied career at sea. In this article, we will be discussing what maritime cadets are, what they do, and how you can apply to become one.

What is a maritime cadet?

In the Merchant Navy, a maritime cadet is an officer in training. Maritime academies offer programs that prepare students to become officers on merchant ships. During their studies, maritime cadets receive classroom instruction in subjects such as navigation, maritime law, and meteorology. They get hands-on training in ship operation, maintenance, and department-specific skills.

And what are the departments maritime cadets can join, you ask? Good question!

Deck Department (Deck Cadets)

The Deck Department is responsible for the navigation and safe operation of the vessel. Maritime cadets in the Deck Department learn skills such as radar operations, chart work, and bridge watchkeeping.

Engine Department (Engineering Cadet)

The Engine Department is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the vessel’s engines. Maritime cadets in the Engine Department learn skills such as boiler operations, diesel engine maintenance, and electrical systems. Engineering cadets must have the ability to solve problems, make decisive decisions and make effective corrective measures.

Electrical Department (Electro-Technical Cadets)

The Electrical Department is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the vessel’s electrical systems. Maritime cadets in the Electrical Department learn skills such as electrical engineering, electronics, and telecommunications.

Electro-technical cadets will gain new skills in the vessels running and maintenance of the ship’s electro-technical equipment pertaining to the electrical generating plant, electronic and automated control systems and bridge navigational equipment.   

What Is A Maritime Cadet And How To Apply - Chiltern Maritime
What Is A Maritime Cadet And How To Apply – Chiltern Maritime

How Long Does a Maritime Cadetship Last?

The length of a maritime cadetship varies depending on the program you choose. Maritime College or University programs typically last between three and four years. Once you graduate from an academy, you’ll spend several months completing on-the-job training (OJT) before becoming a fully qualified officer.

What Kinds of Ships Can Maritime Cadets Work On?

Since maritime cadets are members of the Merchant Navy, they’re qualified to work on a wide range of ships in a wide range of industries, including:

  • bulk carriers
  • container ships
  • cruise ships
  • offshore supply vessels
  • oil tankers
  • passenger ships
  • product tankers
  • reefer ships
  • roll-on / roll-off (RORO) ships

And that’s just to name a few!

What Are the Benefits of Being a Maritime Cadet?

Joining the Merchant Navy as a maritime cadet comes with a lot of great benefits, such as:

  • Traveling the world. One of the best parts about being a maritime cadet is that you get to travel to amazing places all over the world!
  • Working in a global community. The Merchant Navy is a close-knit community of seafarers from all over the world. As a maritime cadet, you’ll have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and learn about different cultures.
  • Gaining experience and knowledge. During your time as a maritime cadet, you’ll gain valuable experience and knowledge that you can use for the rest of your career.
  • Getting paid to learn. Maritime cadets receive a bursary (a tax free monthly payment as a student) to help with room & board and living while they’re training. So not only do you get to travel the world and gain valuable experience, but you also get paid to do it!

How Can I Become a Maritime Cadet?

If you’re interested in becoming a maritime cadet, here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Meet the Requirements

In order to become a maritime cadet, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • be at least 18 years old when you first go to sea as per your course schedule. 
  • have a minimum of four GCSEs / standard grades / National 5s or 48 UCAS points
  • pass an MCA approved medical exam

Step 2: Choose a Program

There are several different programs that you can choose from in order to become a maritime cadet. Some programs are offered by maritime colleges/universities, while others are offered by shipping companies directly.

At Chiltern, we help people just like you find fulfilling careers at sea through our maritime cadet programs. We offer cadetship programs that cater both Deck, Engine, and Electro-Technical officers, so you can choose the path that’s right for you.

Step 3: Apply to Your Chosen Program

Once you’ve chosen a program, it’s time to apply! The application process will vary depending on the program you choose.

For our maritime cadet programs at Chiltern, we ask you to fill out an online application that includes:

  • basic information (name, contact information, DOB, etc.)
  • CV
  • cover letter
  • sponsor information
  • identity documents

Step 4: Start Your Training!

After you’ve been accepted into a maritime cadet program, it’s time to start your training! Maritime colleges and universities typically offer both classroom-based and hands-on training.

Once you graduate, you’ll spend several months completing on-the-job training (OJT) before becoming a fully qualified officer.

Start Working Towards a Career at Sea

If you’re interested in becoming a maritime cadet, we encourage you to apply to our program today! We’re always looking to connect with talented and motivated individuals who are passionate about working at sea.

For more information about our maritime cadet programs, or to apply today, contact us!

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