Every year many of our local fishermen have fishing jobs available in various commercial fisheries. At our facility we have boats engaged in all 3 methods of catching salmon, halibut, shrimp, prawns, and tuna.
Seeking Canadian crew members for the 2016 tuna fishing season. Details and apply here.
The turnover rate in some of these fisheries is quite high and some boats go through several deckhands each season before finding one that works out.
The biggest hurdle for most who are new to fishing, is the weather. Long hours without days off are another problem for those used to working on land.
Many skippers won't hire an inexperienced crewman because of the short seasons. It's just too hard to train someone in the time available and to be honest, not very many people can handle the hard work and conditions. It can be quite costly to return a seasick or scared crew member back to land and have to look for another one.
On most fishing jobs you'll be paid a percentage of the catch, based on your experience. That could be calculated before or after boat expenses are deducted.
Most times you'll be required to to stay on the job until the season is finished. The season length could be based on quotas, sometimes license based and other times fleet based. The length of the tuna fishing season is usually based on the water temperature and weather. Because of this, fishing is considered seasonal. You may need to be involved in more than one fishery or have a back-up job on land during the off season.
Some skippers might require you to help prepare the boat before the season begins. This could involve scraping and painting hulls or installing upgraded equipment.
To be a good deckhand, you should have a wide variety of skills. The more skills you have, the more valuable you'll be on the boat. When being paid by a percentage of the catch, the more each individual can contribute, the more money everyone earns. Your main job should be to make sure the skipper can concentrate on his job, which is looking for fish and keeping the boat running.
Above all else, you should be responsible and reliable. There is nothing worse for a skipper and other crewmembers than to be sitting at the dock waiting for you when it's time to leave. A missed tide could mean missing a weather window and lead to a failed trip.
Good rain gear and rubber boots are mandatory. Helly Hansen or Grundrens is what everyone uses and will probably cost you a few hundred dollars. For some fishing jobs you could be out for several weeks at a time and because you can't do laundry at sea, you would need enough clothing for that length of time. Most fishers wear sweat pants and hoodies. Along with your own personal requirements such as shaving gear, toothbrush, towels, sleeping bag and pillow, that is all you should bring without first checking with the skipper.
A personal commercial fishing license issued by the federal government is needed as well and can be purchased online or at a fisheries office before you leave for the fishing grounds.
You may also be required to obtain MED (marine emergency duties) training before getting a job. There are various places to obtain this training including "Safer Oceans Systems" in Nanaimo.
We are constantly being asked if we know of any available deckhands. To get on our list please fill out the form below. We'll print it out and display it on our bulletin board. This is for Canadians only and you should be on the west coast. Be sure to include a current phone number where you can be contacted. You should also resubmit about every 3 months.
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