Good day all - I’ve been working as a commercial fisherman in Alaskan and Russian waters for the last 25 years. 20 years of that has been in the wheelhouse - I’m going on my 5th license issue. I currently hold a 200 Master/ 1600 Mate (oceans), and a 3000 Master Fishing (oceans). My last gig was as mate on a 300ft bottom trawler, with a crew of 80, fishing the Aleutian Islands. I ran the boat for 12hrs/day, opposite the captain’s shift.
The fishing industry in Alaska is in sad shape, and its not because of lack of fish. Gov’t regulators are bowing to pressure from the environmental groups and are cutting quotas and closing off traditional fishing grounds…without any good science to back up their decisions. They are imposing rules and restrictions that make no good sense and which are crippling alot of fishing companies. Additionally, the current recession has dropped fish prices to the point where some boats can’t even afford to leave the dock. Needless to say, those working in the industry have suffered greatly due to all these factors.
I’m tired of it all, and I want a change. I worked in the GoM for a few months back in 2000, on a small boat doing live-boat diving out of New Iberia. I really enjoyed it, and I’m somewhat familiar with the geography down there. I want to work offshore on OSV’s or similar.
So I have a few questions, if you with experience could possibly take the time to answer. I would be very grateful.
What would be the best way for me to land a good job in the GoM?
I am currently in school to upgrade to 1600 Master. What other credentials will I need to land a good position? Are GMDSS and ARPA considered mandatory?
What companies are considered to be the best to work for?
Which are considered the worst?
Any other advice would be much appreciated.