How to Get a Fishing Job in Alaska: 8 Steps

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How to Get a Fishing Job in Alaska: 8 Steps
How to Get a Fishing Job in Alaska: 8 Steps
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Thanks to hit television shows like Deadly Fishing and Alaska Fish Wars, interest in the Alaskan fishing industry has never been higher. However, where should a newbie start if they want to work on a boat for the summer or carve out a real career in this industry? Turns out you can start here. Get ready to face the challenges and begin your job search so you can dive into the Alaskan fishing industry.

Steps

Part 1 of 2: Prepare

Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 1
Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 1

Step 1. Set your goals and set the corresponding schedule

Are you starting a real career or are you more interested in getting a short-term entry-level job and seeing how your situation evolves? While there are thousands of crew positions in Alaska during the summer and the demand for diligent staff is high, you won't have a chance to get hired if you can't set aside significant time in your schedule.

  • Generally, you will need to set aside a minimum period of two months to obtain entry-level employment in Alaska. Many of the positions for people with little or no experience are for working on salmon fishing boats, which are known as trawler boats, trammel boats and purse seine boats.
  • The salmon season begins in May and runs through fall. The more available you have during this time window, the more likely you are to find a job.
Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 2
Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 2

Step 2. Work your muscles and build endurance

All jobs in Alaska's fishing industry, and especially entry-level jobs, are hard and strenuous. Remember that you will enter a highly stressful and demanding environment and, since a fishing boat is not a place where you can get in shape, you will need to do so in advance.

When getting fit for a job on a fishing boat, it's best to focus on building functional strength. Being able to run 15 km (1 mile) or lift weights of 110 kg (250 pounds) will not be as useful for an 18-hour job on a fishing boat as achieving central body stability and general functionality

Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 3
Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 3

Step 3. Develop mental and emotional strength

Understand that your body will not be the only one that will be exhausted at the end of an 18-hour work day. Your mind will also be drained and you will be emotionally tense. As illustrated by television shows related to the Alaskan fishing industry, the captain and the rest of the crew can be particularly harsh on newbies. Therefore, you must learn to deal with stress.

  • Different people prepare mentally and emotionally in different ways. Find a way that works well for you.
  • Focus on developing an attitude of learning and insensitivity to criticism.
Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 4
Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 4

Step 4. Assess your financial situation

As the old saying goes: "You need to invest money to make money." Depending on the results of your job search, it can be difficult to get a guaranteed position before going to Alaska. Many job seekers must move to a fishing port and then look for a position in person. You must have financial resources to cover your basic expenses and accommodation if you choose this option.

Even if you don't move to Alaska, planning to get a job there could jeopardize your ability to take a job locally, possibly leaving you stuck at home without any job for the summer. Remember that you should not put all your eggs in one basket, unless you can afford to allow them to break

Part 2 of 2: Finding the Job You Want

Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 5
Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 5

Step 1. Look for potential employers

This process will likely be different from any job search you have done in the past. Because boats are independent businesses, most hiring processes in Alaska's commercial fishing industry are conducted by captains rather than by the recruiting and human resources department. There are very few resources for newbies seeking deckhand jobs, as most hiring is done in person and orally.

  • There are some jobs available online that you can find on the Alaska Job Finder website.
  • Alaska's leading fishing industries also post open positions from time to time and also have an application process for potential job seekers.
  • Another website that has good resources and offers guidance to job seekers is the Alaska Fishing Jobs Network.
Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 6
Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 6

Step 2. Contact the employers you have found

This is easier said than done. Many potential employers likely don't have an email address, so they use older technology like telephones and fax machines.

  • If you don't have a fax machine, you can send a fax online.
  • Keep time differences in mind when calling potential employers. The time zone for most of Alaska is UTC -0: 900, which is one hour before Pacific Time and 4 hours before Eastern Time. The Aleutian Islands portion of Alaska is still an hour earlier.
Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 7
Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 7

Step 3. When you contact employers, ask them for additional advice and references

Many of them will have their full staff or will not be interested in hiring a newbie. However, most of the hiring process in the Alaska fishing industry will be done orally and by referral. Also, many of the available positions will not be published. A captain whose crew is full might meet another captain who desperately needs a deckhand. If you establish a good relationship with someone who does not have a position for you, ask if they know or can refer you to someone who needs your help.

Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 8
Get a Fishing Job in Alaska Step 8

Step 4. Consider traveling to Alaska and looking for a job in person

Dutch Harbor, Kodiak and Naknek are great places for a newbie to start their career, although there are plenty of other places too. Because many jobs have not been posted online, many people find it better to travel to the port of Alaska and look for a job in person. This may be the only way to meet a captain and ask him for a job. If you can't get a job as a deckhand, it will be easier for you to get a job at a seafood processing plant. Processing plants generally pay decent wages and, for many people, are the first door of entry into the fishing industry.

Advice

  • While there are several fishing industries in Alaska that aim to fish for various species in different seasons, the first deck job that newbies get is on a salmon fishing boat. If you are lucky enough to find employment on a salmon fishing boat, you can forge your way from there to the Cornelia Marie vessel.
  • You can find a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions, as well as other practical tools, at the Alaska Fishing Industry Employment Center (AFJC). The AFJC was founded by commercial fishing captains looking to recruit fresh talent in the fishing industry.
  • The AFJC provides a manual that prepares aspiring crew members with a solid understanding of Alaska's fishing industries, the work that goes into it, and the challenges of daily life on a fishing boat.

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