adam42

How to get a job on an offshore boat?

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I looked online, and everything that pops up is processing fish on a factory trawler. Anywhere that I should look at in particular, to find openings for small offshore commercial boats? I imagine it's mostly hired from within personal networks and word of mouth but figure there may be a place that evades google search.

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1 hour ago, adam42 said:

I looked online, and everything that pops up is processing fish on a factory trawler. Anywhere that I should look at in particular, to find openings for small offshore commercial boats? I imagine it's mostly hired from within personal networks and word of mouth but figure there may be a place that evades google search.

I know a charter boat that’s looking for a mate 

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May I suggest creating a resume and cover letter and sending it directly to boats you are interested in.  Assuming this is true, emphasize that you are responsible, dependable and drug free as well as any relevant experience.  Also list your availability.  It certainly can't hurt.

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3 hours ago, adam42 said:

I looked online, and everything that pops up is processing fish on a factory trawler. Anywhere that I should look at in particular, to find openings for small offshore commercial boats? I imagine it's mostly hired from within personal networks and word of mouth but figure there may be a place that evades google search.

Rod n reel , longline, scalloper or dragger?

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37 mins ago, pakalolo said:

Rod n reel , longline, scalloper or dragger?

Ideally would like to work on rod n reel or longline not because I'm viewing this as an excuse to go fishing but as those are the type of industries I think are the most sustainable regarding bycatch etc - but would definitely consider working a season on the others unless it was factory trawler type stuff where I'm doing nothing but filleting and packing. I'm gainfully self employed & this would be a step down for me in income so would want to work on a boat doing mentally engaging work, not a meat packing plant inside a boat. I'm not skrimish about filleting/gutting/working with bait but I think there's a world of difference between baiting the longline & filleting then freezing the catch vs working on an assembly line on a factory trawler.

 

And yes, I'm drug free, in great shape, extremely hard working, self-employed with no entanglements nor commitments so available immediately. I do lack relevant experience/certifications but am willing to do a trial/trainee period to account for this.

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Talking to whoever runs the pack out dock where you are looking for work is a starting point. They have their finger on the pulse of what’s going on and can put out the word for you. 

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18 hours ago, adam42 said:

I looked online, and everything that pops up is processing fish on a factory trawler. Anywhere that I should look at in particular, to find openings for small offshore commercial boats? I imagine it's mostly hired from within personal networks and word of mouth but figure there may be a place that evades google search.

go to the harbor where you want to work from and spend a little time talking to a few working boats,everyone knows who is looking for help.

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14 hours ago, adam42 said:

Ideally would like to work on rod n reel or longline not because I'm viewing this as an excuse to go fishing but as those are the type of industries I think are the most sustainable regarding bycatch etc - but would definitely consider working a season on the others unless it was factory trawler type stuff where I'm doing nothing but filleting and packing. I'm gainfully self employed & this would be a step down for me in income so would want to work on a boat doing mentally engaging work, not a meat packing plant inside a boat. I'm not skrimish about filleting/gutting/working with bait but I think there's a world of difference between baiting the longline & filleting then freezing the catch vs working on an assembly line on a factory trawler.

 

And yes, I'm drug free, in great shape, extremely hard working, self-employed with no entanglements nor commitments so available immediately. I do lack relevant experience/certifications but am willing to do a trial/trainee period to account for this.

also brush up on knots.

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walk the docks.  Say hello to the captains.  Ask if they know of anyone that is looking for help.

 

In my case, I had ample canyon experience and wanted to mate on a canyon ride.  I got a job at the fuel dock of a large local marina at the age of 15 pumping gas.  Got to know everyone, and eventually when the right opening came to be I was a known entity

 

I think for true 'commercial' boats, smack may be a preresiquite for employment lol....rough crews

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If you actually show up, remain relatively sober, and do your job, you're a better deck hand than average. I should warn you that if you go out long lining you will work 18hrs+ every day you're hauling gear and it will almost certainly be the most exhausting job you've ever done. The crews are extremely rugged individuals and the boats are pretty rough. You'll be in really tight quarters with these people for 5-30+ days depending on the boat. 

 

How much time have you spent on boats? Have you done any tuna fishing? Over night? Have you ever been offshore in rough weather? 

 

I know every pelagic long line captain on the east coast. I also know some small draggers and gillnetters. If you're really actually serious about this, I can put you in contact with the next guy who complains to me about finding crew. 

 

The other option is literally just walk up to guys on the dock and say "Hey, do you know anyone looking for crew?" I would be surprised if you didn't at least get some leads the first day. Random people try to hire me to do stuff on their boats all the time. 

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23 hours ago, Mike Mendez said:

dependable and drug free

This is huge. Roll your sleeves up above your elbows. Display your lack of track marks.

 

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7 hours ago, makorider said:

I think for true 'commercial' boats, smack may be a preresiquite for employment lol....rough crews

Ha, ha - I only met a few, but they were really fcked up! I think they had one mouthful of teeth between all of them. I know this can't be everyone though, just funny to read this comment.

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On 8/5/2022 at 5:56 PM, ArcticRanger said:

If you actually show up, remain relatively sober, and do your job, you're a better deck hand than average. I should warn you that if you go out long lining you will work 18hrs+ every day you're hauling gear and it will almost certainly be the most exhausting job you've ever done. The crews are extremely rugged individuals and the boats are pretty rough. You'll be in really tight quarters with these people for 5-30+ days depending on the boat. 

 

How much time have you spent on boats? Have you done any tuna fishing? Over night? Have you ever been offshore in rough weather? 

 

I know every pelagic long line captain on the east coast. I also know some small draggers and gillnetters. If you're really actually serious about this, I can put you in contact with the next guy who complains to me about finding crew. 

 

The other option is literally just walk up to guys on the dock and say "Hey, do you know anyone looking for crew?" I would be surprised if you didn't at least get some leads the first day. Random people try to hire me to do stuff on their boats all the time. 

Long hours, back breaking work, staying sober, & arriving on time won't be any issues with me. This is how I've lived my life for 3 decades. Even my hobbies and vacations are grueling endurance events.

 

Main issues are that I have no formal training nor experience so it really comes down to the captain's tolerance/patience for someone who'd be doing most things for the first time. I am a fast learner but imagine there's pretty low tolerance for teaching someone the ropes out at sea.

 

The other, less pressing and more long term issue is that I'll be taking a significant pay cut to do this & I'll be wanting to settle down in the near future & raise a family so I probably wouldn't do this more than 2-3 seasons and perhaps the learning curve so steep no captain would bother wanting to take someone on if by the time they finally begin pulling their weight they are gone.

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I worked on a sword boat  in 1979/80.  We would stick fish during the day, and set out a longline in the late afternoon for an evening soak.  Its hard work.  The day started at first light.  Get out of your rack and start hauling back the longline.  Took 2-3 hours, depending on what you caught. Take care of what you caught, clean, ice, and pack.  Then it was time to stick fish.  I would be up in the mast on a bosun's chair spotting (no plane).  If we were lucky we managed to stick a couple of fish. We would stick one and throw a highflyer over.  Then look for another fish. When it got late, we would use the radar to pick up the highflyers and our fish.  Clean, ice and pack. Eat something. Set out the longline, get done around 9 or 10 at night.  Hit the rack.  Get woken up for your turn on watch, 2 hours or so.  Go back to your rack, sleep for an hour or two until dawn and do it all over again.  After 6 to 10 days in a row you are toast.   If the weather sucks, it REALLY sucks.

 

Regarding finding a spot.  Hang out at the docks and talk to the crews/captains.  Do not be cocky, you will get eaten alive. Be humble and honest about your experience.  If you get a spot, avoid the gin mills when you hit the beach.  It can be a tough existence if you let it. 

 

Good luck and stay safe.  Keep your head on a swivel and watch where you put your feet.

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