Advice on finding a job in Alaska?


I am new to this forum, but have been reading threads from time to time. I would like to hear any and all advice about finding a job in AK on a commercial fishing boat. Salmon, Herring, whatever. I hear the purse seiners are the best to work on. I don’t care if the advice is first, second, or third-hand. As I stated before, any and all will be appreciated. I currently hold a 100T Master w/Tow endorsement and live on the Gulf Coast of FL (I know, a world away from AK). I am a year-round tow captain for Towboat U.S., run a party boat, and a parasail boat during tourist seasons, and have been on boats my whole life. I have been to AK a few times, and love it. I know its a lot different from FL but I have a knack for being on deck and at the helm. I have been in perfect weather to gale force winds and tropical storms (15+ seas), so I am no a stranger to the oceans dangers.

A friend of a friend of mine (and his buddies) went up for a summer or two to work a Salmon season, but I have only gotten a little info from them. Others I have talked to are AK transplants here in FL (some of whom are fishing captains) and they have told me that the best way is to walk the docks and talk to captains. They also told me that my license would give me a little bit of an edge. Research I have done online suggests the same.

What I would like to know specifically is: Do I have correct knowledge? What are some good strategics to finding a job up there? Where are good locations to look (towns, regions, etc.)? When is a good time to start looking (how much time prior to opening day of the season should I go up there)? What kind of gear do I need specifically?

I am looking for a job as a deckhand (entry-level), of course. I am hardwired for hard work and long hours, college educated, boat-savvy, and disciplined. I don’t mind scrubbing the head or changing the oil, and I accept the challenges of this task. Just any kind of constructive advice would be awesome!

Thank you all for your time.

– Ted

Hit the docks in Seattle around fisherman’s terminal. They all leave first part of June or before.

Good Luck!

There are always companies hiring year round. I currently work for Alaskan Leader fisheries and we take greenhorns every trip. To be honest if I were you I would apply for an assistants engineers position and work on an upgrade. It takes a minimum of a 200t to get into most wheelhouses. And those are the smaller boats that really take a beating this time of year. If you do not land an assistants position you will spend 18hrs a day in the factory on draggers and about the same with a little more deck time on longliners.
The deck and factory jobs are grueling 18hr days for 60 days straight. Once you get showered up and wind down the boys average 5hrs a night in the rack. Another thing that sucks is that all the companies know charge $24.00 a day for everyone below assistant engineer for food. I find this unfair but that’s just the way it is and I don’t pay it so I’m lucky!! Any way it’s a good way to save up some $$$ if you can take the beating for a 2-3 month stretch.