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Beginning a career as an Offshore Commercial Fisherman

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posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 02:32 PM
If you love the sea and want to try your hand in the fishing industry I can help guide you.
While the methods I explain work in finding a site (job) on just about any type of fishing boat in any port along the coast of The United States, today I will focus on Sea Scalloping and the port of New Bedford Massachusetts.
New Bedford has, for many years, been the 1# fishing port in regard to $$$ dollar value of catches landed, not tonnage.

To begin, you must get yourself dockside unless you know a fisherman/captain/boat owner that’s willing to give you a job. Once you begin to “pound the docks“. This means you go to every dock on both sides of the harbor 6 days a week from 7:30 am to 4-5 pm and talk to someone on every single scallop boat, preferably the “Skipper“.
You’ll need your gear, or seabag and when you have it keep it with you AT ALL TIMES, be prepared to jump aboard and go, then and there when hired.
You likely don’t know what you’ll need so talk to guys on the dock, (fisherman are mostly helpful in these things) tell people hanging out what you are doing. Talk to anyone dockside. Go to ship supply and gear up. initial cost for being well set up, probably $3-400.00 US.
You can’t be shy in anyway, they WILL see it and you’ll lose out because all they will see is weakness. Be bold!!! Don’t give up even if you’ve been, searching day in, day out for weeks.
Go back to the back to those same boats every single day. If you see someone loading stuff on or off a boat etc, offer to help.
You WILL get a job, people WILL be watching you. When pounding the docks and showing you won’t quit, then, when you least expect it, BOOM some Skipper gives you your shot.
Once onboard, breath, settle down, relax your mind. I can’t begin to tell you how important that is. Not being able to get out of ones own head is the single largest reason why less than 1% of the guys who try, succeed at becoming a fisherman.
Follow orders, be the first on deck and the last off deck, each and every watch, without fail! Do not EVER turn in, if you’re seasick, puke and keep working! When every muscle, muscles you didn’t even know you had are screaming in agony, when your back feels like it’s breaking from bending over, picking the pile, (oh, pick you will, all alone too in the beginning), when it feels like the tendons in your wrists have seized up from gripping the cutting knives and scallops as you learn to shuck, when they swell, get hot and feel as though they squeak like rusty hinges, DO NOT QUIT! EVER!
You’ll never have been so miserable in your entire life. I guarantee it !!!! But, you are becoming a Scallop Fisherman.

Ok, so why Scalloping?
Beyond the love of the work?, money, simply...... $$$$$$
Deckhands on Scallopers who fish an entire year right now can bank North of $300,000.00. NO JOKE.
It was not like this back in my day, we’d be tickled if we made $3,000.00 for a ten day trip.
Last week a young friend who I helped out when he began looking for a site 3 summers ago at the age of 24 made, get this,
$26,000.00 for a 9 day trip to the canyons 150 miles Sou‘east of Nantucket Island.
Are you young, intelligent with a strong back and mind?
This could be your chance, a way out even....
Guys are retiring much earlier than we ever could!
Thank You!!!

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 03:04 PM
Thanks for the tips. I'm getting too old to do that sort of work. I think I'll stick to watching an occasional Deadliest Catch when I catch 'em.

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 03:17 PM
I enjoyed that show the first few years it aired.
Now, not so much.
I pick it apart as I watch it, it’s become so scripted and the editing, WOW.
In one scene I often see three different sea states, different pots etc.
It’s a good show no doubt but for someone who has spent years in the industry it’s become a joke.
Guys down the docks laugh their butts off at things they say like, go downstairs, um, it’s go below. Put on on your rain gear, (no, it’s oilers). Go to bed, (sooo, no, it’s turn in or hit the rack). Huge one is, go outside, OMG NO, (it’s go on deck)......🤣🤣🤣
I could go and and on shredding how Discovery portrays it.
But, non of what I say diminishes the work and the cast iron guys out there who are doing it.
For that I have mad respect for them even if they do talk like girls aboard a fishing vessel.
Thank You!


a reply to: QFlux

edit on 08-19-2021 by PiratesCut because: stuff

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 03:18 PM
a reply to: PiratesCut

Being bold helps most of the times, when you need to achieve something...

Although I always thought it would be nice to hire on a transport ship to cross the ocean, I would never be able to do a fisherman's job. I'm just to weak...

Kind of a hitchhike to across the pond...
Never got to it and it rarely happens anymore.

Keep the stories coming.

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 03:25 PM
I have always wondered what would have been had I not been born in the midwest.

I love the ocean and i always thought I would have been a fisherman had I grown up on a coast.

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 03:27 PM
Thank You Terpene !
I get the old part but in your youth you may have surprised yourself if you got on the right boat with the right guys.
That can actually make all the difference, some fisherman are just pure azzholes just like everywhere else.
Many fishermen fit nowhere else in society and as a rule are tough guys who don’t mess around.
I’ve only been across the pond once to England, metal detecting for two weeks. That was a blast.
Don’t think I’ll cross the water again in my life.
Thanks again!!!


a reply to: [post =26110992]Terpene

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 03:38 PM
You never know but if you watch Deadliest Catch as QFlux mentioned you may have noticed the crab fleet burns through greenhorns as they call them.
Here we call new guys Shackers because back in the day the Scallopers would sell then fish and lobsters on the side for cash money.
This money paid the new guys, usually a quarter share and the rest was divided 12 ways. One share of the cash or “Shack” for each man and the boat owner.
The scallops were sold at auction and 60% percent went to the crew who paid fuel, food, ice and some gear.
What was left got split 11 ways for each of the crew.
The boat took 40% of which the Skipper got 10% of that as a “per”. Skippers pretty much made twice what the deckhands made.
The First Mate and Engineer also got a “per” from the boats share., anywhere from $25.00 to $250.00 per trip depending on the owner.
Commercial fishing, is, one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet.
50 foot waves, you gotta see em to believe em....😳🤪
Thank You....


a reply to: sciencelol

edit on 08-19-2021 by PiratesCut because: stuff

edit on 08-19-2021 by PiratesCut because: !

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 03:46 PM
a reply to: PiratesCut

I have watched deadliest catch since the 1st season, Love the show I do see the scriptedness as you say lol.

But I can just watch those waves all night

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 03:49 PM
What I would love to do is mine for gold

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 03:49 PM
Lake Michigan Perch and Salmon boats are hiring too.

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 03:54 PM
LOL! From a tv is cool but I gotta tell ya, when it’s not blowing a gale and there’s no other boats on the horizon with a grey sky, it’s pretty bleak and boring.
My wife finally talked me into going on a cruise maybe ten years back. She said, “it’ll be so nice to have a top deck suite and balcony where can sit and watch the sea!”
My reply, “Yeah well, once we are over the horizon there’s not much to look at babe”. She laughed thinking I was joking. Day 3, “you are right, there’s nothing but flat water.”.....LOLOL
a reply to: sciencelol

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 03:56 PM
Oh man!!!!
Me too.....I love treasure hunting and digging for gold fits right in.
Last June I found a 2 carat diamond ring on a beach here.
The Sarge claimed it...LOL

a reply to: sciencelol

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 03:59 PM
Weird huh?
Even with the insane money Scallops are making they are crying for men, going short handed.
What’s with the youth?
In my day there were 10 guys waiting dockside praying for a site to pop on a boat up and they’d be the one chosen.
I just don’t get it....

a reply to: carewemust

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 04:18 PM
Did you know fresh water is heavier and denser than sea water? It also freezes at a warmer temperature, 32f where seawater freezes at 28f.
Boats pounding into and being slapped by fresh water hit much heavier than those at sea. The ice boats accumulate over fresh water is immediately rock hard where sea ice stays rather soft until it gets into single digits.
Fun facts:
a reply to: carewemust

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 04:50 PM
a reply to: PiratesCut

The ice boats

I don't know what that is but have you ever heard of project habakkuk?

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 05:33 PM
a reply to: PiratesCut

I guess I'll keep my mouth, erm, fingers shut here, other than to say I know quite a few Lobster fishermen off the MA coast, and a whole lot more AK crab fishermen (having spent considerable time there, considering the ex was a native).

I love Deadliest Catch (the show), but it totally misrepresents the industry. It's a fun show to watch, but they cherry-pick the biggest water and the roughest conditions, because really, anything else would be terribly boring, right? Commercial fishing is indeed a dangerous business, but it's not the storms and rough water which claims most of it's victims. Much of it is dumb stuff...serious stuff, but still dumb. Crushing, pinching, and countless other things in completely placid environments. Icing and boat failures don't absolutely require 35' seas...sometimes it's the calmest conditions which lead to complacency, injury and sometimes death.

I've worked off-shore, and I've seen bad weather (real bad). I don't get sea sick for some reason, but it's easy to get banged up on a large boat. Everything hurts, some worse than others.

I would have loved to work in commercial fishing, but I never was really in he right place. All the things I speak of though are equally applicable in another dangerous industry, one I know well...raising cattle. It's almost the same game, just on land.

Anyway...good OP, OP.


edit on 9/15/2021 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 05:38 PM
a reply to: Terpene

I think you read the sentence wrong.

I believe he was saying...'The ice that boats accumulate over fresh water...'

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 05:54 PM
Hi Terpene.
Let me help you here.
The ice boats......were in fact part of a sentence.

The ice boats accumulate over fresh water is immediately rock hard where sea ice stays rather soft until it gets into single digits.

I’ not sure if it was me or formatting that caused the break.
To be honest I am very poor at punctuation and sentence structure.
School and I did not much get along. If I was not enjoying what they were teaching, I did not learn it, period.
On the other hand, if I did like it I usually aced the subject.
My English grade point average in my senior year was 3.
Yes, three! It was last period and we had an open campus and the teacher couldn’t care less if we showed up or not.
So, when the year ended I was told I was not graduating and that I had to to summer school.
Yeah right, I’m goin fishin says I, and I did.
After an injury at sea took my left leg I decided to get my GED. Without opening a book I scored among the top 5% of graduating seniors nation wide for that year.
When I was given the transcripts of the test the head of the guidance dept. told me that with my life experiences and these transcripts I could apply to Harvard or MIT and likely be excepted. I thought that was BS but years later my wife's best friend got married to a music and computer professor from Berkley in Boston (he wrote a book called C-Sounds) who looked the transcripts over and said hell yes I’d get excepted (he also said because of what he’d come to learn about me).
Anyway, that and $2., coffee please.
I have no idea what habakkuk is Terpene but I soon will.
Thanks for the reply and giving me something knew to learn!!


a reply to: Terpene

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 06:11 PM
Thank you very much FCD!!
I can tell by your words you know of the sea.
We stand in agreement of what you typed, it’s not the boring weather that hurts most guys, it’s often the complacency, sheer exhaustion and even stupidity, not to mention mechanical stuff that can pull a boat under in little more than one minute.
Injuries at sea is a subject I plan on writing about.
I discovered why my pics and stuff won’t load, file formats.
When I figure these things out a flood of material will soon follow.
Since you have experience of Maine and lobsters I can’t wait for you to see a pic of a crusher claw from a 53 pounder we got back in the early 80’s. I was bummed because it’s tail got separated from the head while in the gear, it definitely would have been released had that not happened.
When I hold it in front of my face you can’t see my head.

I know nothing of cattle and little of farming, well, on a large scale anyway. Around here it’s dairy although there are a few ex dairy farms (huge ones) that raise angus and other types.
However I do know raising cattle is not for....chumps, so, hats off to you!
Thanks for the kind reply!


a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

posted on Sep, 15 2021 @ 06:11 PM
I like the cut of your jib dude.

I’ve only ever taken out fishing charters and thrown tuna for export. In regards to fish related activities, however always thought ‘if your going to work on the water Dal, you’d best do some fishing at least once in your career.’ Still open to that avenue if (when) it presents itself.

Been on the water as a skipper for a decade, as a deckhand for some time beforehand.

Sorry about the leg, how’d you lose it pirate?

Btw, how do you make a pirate?

a reply to: PiratesCut

edit on 15-9-2021 by Dalamax because: Address fishy issues

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