Fishing vessel skipper
Fishing vessel skippers are in charge of the crew onboard sea-going fishing boats.
£20,000 Starter - £60,000 Experienced
41 to 43 variable (evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home)
Where to start
You can get into this job through
a college coursean apprenticeshipworking towards this role
If you are 16 to 24 you could start off as a fishing boat deck hand. You can do a Diploma in Sea Fishing while getting experience at sea.
When you have experience you can learn and train on the job to go on to become a skipper. There are no set entry requirements for this route but it may help you to get in if you have 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent.
The following Apprenticeships may be relevant to this role:
- Level 2 Work boat crew member
- Level 3 Boat master
To get onto an apprenticeship, you'll find it useful to have some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for a Level 2 apprenticeship. You'll need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for a Level 3 apprenticeship.
You can start as a deckhand at sea and learn on the job. You'll usually need around 18 months' experience before you can skipper a boat. You'll also need to have completed mandatory basic safety training for:
sea survival, fire fighting, health and safety, and first aid.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
- leadership skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- knowledge of public safety and security
- the ability to use your initiative
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and Requirements
You'll need to complete basic sea safety training (STCW) approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
pass a medical check
What you’ll do
Fishing vessel skippers work on different types of boat, including:
inshore vessels, which fish close to the shoreline
limited area vessels, which fish within a set area around the UK coast
unlimited area vessels, working in distant fishing grounds in international waters
In your day-to-day duties you may:
- plan fishing voyages
- operate and maintain equipment
- navigate the vessel
- manage the safety of the vessel and crew
- work closely with onshore agents to land and sell the catch
- make sure that fishing trips return a profit
- make sure that each fishing trip follows maritime laws and international fishing regulations
- use electronic systems for navigation, locating fish and monitoring onboard storage conditions
Your working environment may be cramped, physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.
Career path and progression
With experience you may be able to move into related careers, like the Merchant Navy, harbour tug work, fish farming, offshore oil or gas exploration, offshore energy development, cargo operations or ferries.