Fishing boat deckhand

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Fishing vessel deckhand

Deckhands clear the decks, prepare and maintain equipment and handle the catch on offshore fishing vessels.

Salary Range: £10,000 to £26,000

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You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
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A common way into this career is through an intermediate apprenticeship in maritime occupations: sea fishing.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

Direct application

If you have some sea-going experience, you may be able to find work by contacting vessel skippers directly and training on the job.

More information

Further information

You can find more information about careers in the fishing industry from Seafish.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • 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
  • have a good level of fitness
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Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • preparing the deck areas and fishing equipment
  • operating the gear that sends out and brings in the nets
  • sorting, gutting and storing the catch
  • unloading the catch when you return to harbour
  • repairing damaged nets and maintaining equipment
  • helping to make sure the vessel is kept clean and tidy
  • cooking for crew members (on some vessels)

Working environment

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.

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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.