Fishing boat deckhand
Deckhands clear the decks, prepare and maintain equipment and handle the catch on offshore fishing vessels.
£10,000 Starter - £26,000 Experienced
43 to 45 variable (evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home)
Where to start
You can get into this job through
a college course
Young people aged 16 to 24 may be able to do a Diploma in Sea Fishing. You'll get work experience at sea under the guidance of a skipper. You can learn how to operate and maintain deck and fishing gear, handle and stow the catch or do bridge watch duties like helping to steer or navigate
maintain the vessel.
You will be given support for lodgings, travel and safety equipment during the course. There is no set time to complete it. You work to an individual training plan until you have all the work experience you need.
If you have some sea-going experience, you may be able to find work by contacting vessel skippers directly and training on the job.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to use your initiative
- persistence and determination
- knowledge of food production methods
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
- 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, be over 16 years of age and have a good level of fitness.
What you’ll do
In your day-to-day tasks you may:
- prepare the deck areas and fishing equipment
- operate the gear that sends out and brings in the nets
- sort, gut and store the catch
- unload the catch when you return to harbour
- repair damaged nets and maintain equipment
- help to make sure the vessel is kept clean and tidy
- cook for crew members (on some vessels)
You could work on a boat.
Your working environment may be physically demanding, outdoors in all weathers, cramped and you may spend nights away from home.
Career path and progression
You could work towards becoming a skipper. Inshore skippers can operate their own small boat (up to 16.5m). Further training is needed for larger vessels.
You could also use your experience to move into related areas like the Merchant Navy or harbour tug work.