It’s always been my dream to go to Alaska, and someday, I hope to make it come true! After watching the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch”, however, I don’t think I want to make any career changes! It takes special persons, to make up the crews on those big fishing vessels.
The lures to become this type of fisherman are money and adventure. There’s money to be made, depending on the total catch, and how it is divided among the crew. Since the work is seasonal, the crews work hard to have successful catches. Newcomers must get experience on other types of fishing boats, such as those fishing for salmon before they can get hired to work on the King Crab ships. There is usually an abundance of work in canneries and processing, and persons such as students or teachers can enjoy the extra money during their time off from their regular job.
This is one of America’s most dangerous professions; the Bureau of Labor determines the risk factors, and commercial fishing usually tops the list of risky occupations, but there are others that have higher rates of occupational deaths. From year to year, the lists vary, according to other resources that study occupational injury and death. Usually the military has been left off the lists; however, because of the wars we are involved in, they have been included, and rightfully so.
While fishing off the Alaskan coast, the crews face turbulent seas, fog, falling overboard and drowning, icy waters, working with huge winches and hoists. Another major problem is ice, which can form on the masts and decks. Those who stay at sea for extended periods of time must be well prepared. Fishermen must have warm clothes, rainsuits, boots, winter liners, and gloves. If there is illness or injury while out to sea, access to medical assistance is far away. Because the potential of injury is present, applicants should inquire about the safety policies and procedures the company has established, and obey every safety aspect of the work involved.
The coast of New England also boasts a huge fishing industry, with lobsters being the main attraction. So, the next time you are in your favorite seafood restaurant, think about the effort and risks taken by those brave souls that furnish the delicacies we take for granted.