Alaska Crab Fishing Jobs
By Eric Hammer
If you've seen Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel, then
you're probably wondering what would be involved in getting yourself
one of those Alaska crab fishing jobs. First, the bad news: if
you are reading this article, odds are you will not be getting
a job as a crab fisherman any time soon.
It has nothing to do with your level of interest or desire
either. It does however have everything to do with the way Alaska
crab fishing jobs are given out. You must have experience in
order to land a job with a crab fishing boat. This work is extremely,
extremely dangerous and there is every possibility that your
heirs will be collecting your pay rather than you.
Because of that danger, no captain in his right mind (it's
virtually all men in this business) will hire a newbie to work
on a crab fishing boat. Now that doesn't mean you won't be able
to eventually land such a job. It just means you have to pay
your dues first, typically on another kind of boat, such as one
that catches salmon.
How Much Can You Make?
Once you are experienced and able to get a job like this,
you can easily expect to take home something in the neighborhood
of $15,000 for three months worth of work. Occasionally, you'll
be asked to pay a share of the operating costs of the boat, though
most often, the captain and owner take their share of the profits,
then the operating costs are deducted from the money from the
catch and whatever is left is split between the hands who worked
on the boat. This means of course that you could theoretically
walk away with nothing, but in practice, a payout in the low
five figures is pretty reasonable to expect.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
As previously noted, no one starts out taking Alaska crab
fishing jobs right off the bat. Instead, you will start working
in another kind of boat. Often, captains who hire hands for salmon
trawlers for example will not require experience. Salmon trawlers
typically bring in less money (the typical payout is around $10,000
for a 3 month stint), but the work is much less dangerous (though
deaths still do occur).
Remember that this is a game for the young. Crab fishing boats
often work round the clock in freezing, icy conditions and few
hands get more than 3-4 hours of sleep per night. Expect to regularly
put in 20-21 hour days onboard.
Most Alaska crab fishing jobs originate in Bristol Bay, Alaska,
though many other such jobs also originate there (including salmon
trawlers) so if you are serious about doing this for a while,
you need to get yourself to Bristol Bay. In spite of claims to
the contrary on some web sites that try to make this sound easy,
it is rare to find places willing to pay your airfare to Alaska.
Especially since Deadliest Catch, there is no real shortage of
people making their own way to Alaska to seek their fortunes.
Qualifications / Requirements
You must get experience on the sea from another source before
you try to land any Alaska crab fishing jobs. Typically, you'll
be asked to prove your seaworthiness and to explain where you
have worked previously. You also need to be in top physical shape
with strong, developed muscles as this is extremely hard work.
Start by taking a job with a salmon trawler or cod fishing
boat. These boats typically will hire green talent. Get your
sea legs, then come back and take a job during low season on
one of the crab boats. Once you have that experience under your
belt, you can come back and look for high season jobs where the
payout can be much higher.
Check out these helpful resources to find out more about Alaska
crab fishing jobs:
CV Tips: How to Find a Job as a King Crab Fisherman
- A good introduction to the world of Alaska crab fishing jobs.
Alaska Fishing: Crab Fishing in Alaska - This
is another good introduction along with lots of good general
information about how to find fishing jobs in Alaska.