Everyone in the Alaska fishing industry got started somewhere. Entry-level jobs on fishing boats and in seafood processing plants are available. But how do you land your first job? AlaskaJobFinder interviewed an experienced fisherman, and he explains the work and ways that people find entry-level positions.
What made you want to work in the Alaska fishing industry?
The money is good and didn't know how to do anything else. There aren't many other jobs where you can make this much money as a laborer.
Tell me about the boat you work on.
My boat long lines for halibut and black cod and it is based out of Sand Point, Alaska.
How many crewmembers?
3 and the captain.
What's your job title?
I'm a deckhand.
Describe the job. What are your responsibilities?
Coiling the line and overhauling the gear, cooking and cleaning. Cutting and Icing the fish.
What roles do other people play on the boat?
Some people focus more on the gear and others do more cutting and icing, but everyone does basically the same job, except for the captain who is also the engineer.
What would be your number one tip for someone looking for a entry-level fishing job?
Don't do it! I'm kind of joking, but it's a really hard lifestyle and it's not for everyone.
What kinds of answers to interview questions/work background do you think skippers are looking for?
They are just looking for someone who is ready to work hard and take orders.
Describe the typical experience for an entry-level worker.
I don't remember being a greenhorn because it was so long ago, but you will usually get paid a half share (half the percentage of the experienced crew). Some crew can be mean to greenhorns but if you work as hard as you can you will be fine.
What's the best advice anyone gave you about working in the industry?
I was told to pay attention and don't be stupid! Always pay attention to what everyone else is doing so you can learn it too, but also for safety.
What do you and the other crew do to keep a positive attitude?
We talk a lot about all the good times and what we are going to do when the season is over. We make plans for our free time and talk about how we are going to spend our money.
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