About our Academy

Qualify as a Merchant Navy Officer


Originally named the Hydrography Schools, under the rule of Louis XIV and his Minister Colbert – hence the shortname « Hydros » – the schools later become the Ecole Nationale de la Marine Marchande (ENMM). Today, the French Maritime Academy “Ecole Nationale Supérieure Maritime, ENSM” provides high-level education and training programs for the maritime industry at large and trains Merchant Navy Officers. The Academy shares values well known by seafarers and the maritime world: open-mindedness, intellectual curiosity and rigor, respect for others and the environment, honesty, loyalty, humility, versatility, sense of responsibility, autonomy, trust in others, solidarity, mutual aid, social awareness…

A vessel can be seen as a combination of small units which have to be managed in full autonomy. Operating a vessel comes with important responsibilities with regards to the ship itself, the crew’ safety and the cargo on board.

Hence, working as a seafarer entails different jobs and tasks: engineering, energy generation and supply, fresh water production and supply, cooling systems operations, administrative tasks, multicultural team manager, captain, logistician…

The Training programmes delivered by the ENSM take into account challenges related to maritime safety and security, commercial issues and sustainable development.

To respond adequately to those challenges, a high-level and quality training is required. The training programmes comprise time at sea as a cadet, mostly on French-flagged vessels, with the French flag being recognised globally as one of the safest worldwide. It ranks high in the list of quality flags established by Port State Control regimes.

At the ENSM, the education team is composed of experienced professors with a maritime background and researchers. The Academy offers specialised educational equipment: navigation simulators, engine-room simulators, ECDIS simulators, dynamic positioning simulators, steam plants.
Advancing research work in maritime safety and security, as well as human factors and ship energy efficiency, are some of the Academy’s priorities.

Careers at sea

Admission is based on individual selection of candidates (post-graduate students).

Training programs are based on both theorical educational content and practical experience learning, with simulators and training equipment, and finally time at sea as a cadet.

With the training and associated certification, students can fullfill senior positions onboard Merchant Navy ships :

– Master, as the person responsible for the ship, its crew and cargo, and representing the shipowner

– Chief Engineer, responsible for machineries and technical systems onboard.

With the high-level training provided, students have the opportunity to consider expert positions within various companies in the maritime industry.
The certification provided under the ENSM training programs offer the possibility to work at sea without any limit, under all flags and on all types of Merchant Navy units: cargo or passenger carriers, oceanographic and seismic research vessels, cable-laying vessels, but also in the offshore industry (underwater engineering, offshore oil industry, offshore wind farms or hydrokinetics plants) or service industry (pilotage, tugs, assistance vessels).

Élève de l'ENSM sur un simulateur de navigation

En 2020, the Academy ENSM trained 1 200 students for over 20 Certificates.

Listen to the testimony of a Merchant Navy Officer dedicated to safety at sea on France-Inter.
Read the article “Au cœur de l’ENSM, l’école de l’écume “, by L’Étudiant / 06-11-2017

Watch an Officer testimony on work at sea:

Discover our programmes

An innovative Academy with a long history


Created in Octobre 2010, the ENSM Academy operates under the responsibility of the Ministère de la mer.  The Academy delivers training programmes for Merchant Navy Officers and Engineers. Programs durations are between 3 and 5 and half years.

Originally Hydrographic schools under Louis XIV rule and his ministry Colbert, the ENSM Academy now regoups the three historical training centers based in Havre, Saint-Malo, Nantes, et Marseille, all of those being training locations.


Merchant Navy Cadet
Cadets and engine sumulator

Renowned local institutions with an international dimension

The Academy has signed partnerships agreements with stakeholders from higher education and the national and international maritime industry.
The ENSM is a Member of Cluster Maritime Français and the International Association for Safety and Survival Training (IASST). It is recognised by the French Sailing Federation for its preparation to high seas racing and by the Nautical Institute for its dynamic positioning trainings.
The Academy participated in the establishment of the interdisciplinary IngéBlue Institute, involved in higher education and research in marine engineering.

Medical Fitness certificate for seafarers

Seafarers must meet the physical fitness and ability criteria set globally. Reference can be made to the decree dated 30 January 2015 amending the decree dated 16 April 1986 related to the physical ability for seafarers, on board merchant, fishing and yacht-type ships.

Vocational training and professional development

With its expertise as a strong point and benefiting from state-of-the-art educational equipment, the ENSM delivers short or long training courses with the aim to promote professional development, facilitate the validation of certificates.
Extending its scope further than the maritime industry, the ENSM trains experts in the fields of safety, security, business risks and human factors.

ENSM is a registered trademark, with copyrights on its logo.

Logo Commission des titres d'ingénieur
Logo Cluster Maritime Français
Logo Organisation maritime internationale
Logo Certification ISO 9000
Logo The Nautical Institute
Logo Armateurs de France
Logo Ministère de la Mer