Young man looking for advice

A little bit about me:

I’ve been working on a commercial fishing trawler in the bering sea for about 7 years now. I worked my way up from the factory, and have worked on deck for 5 years now. During this time I’ve obtained an AB limited, STCW (BT), and PSC limited.

I’ll make a long story short…basically, I’ve had enough of the fishing industry. I want to actually be a proper sailor. Although I have an AB, most of my days consist of flipping fish and/or working on the fishing net. I’m no stranger to hard work, 16 hour days, but fixing fishing nets just doesn’t interest me.

I’ve worked at the same company, and despite receiving a few raises, when you calculate my daily rate I’m not even making 300 dollars a day (250 ish …) On top of it all, we work long hitches of 4-6 months. This was fine when I younger and first started, as I was single, but I have a young child now and I wish I can see her more frequently…

My question: At this current moment what are the best industries to get into, and which ones should be avoided? Would it benefit me to join a union hall? Are their any companies that hire from their offices, or are all applications taken strictly online now?

I’m willing to go anywhere in the country or abroad, as long as it’s not trawling and I don’t have to work more than 30-60 day hitches with equal time (dont mind working over)

My goal is to eventually work (key word is WORK) my way up to an officers/captains position

I’m not asking for a job of a forum, I’m just looking for someone to point me in the right direction

Thank you


You have a lot of options right now, having your AB limited will slow you down with Deep Sea jobs but everything else should be fine.

What do you find interesting? In all honesty, most other jobs will be slower than fishing was but you should do better with your day rate. You may find a lot of them boring.

Edit- I work East Coast oil barges, we do 2 weeks on 2 off. ABs are getting a raise on July 1st and will be very close to $500 a day with all the add ins.

Right now Coastal Transportation Inc. is full-up on ABs. But it is summer, and it is not unusual for a position to open without warning, so if you are so inclined I would suggest you apply there. Here are a couple of videos showing the work you would be doing. At the bottom is a link to the website to apply if you are interested.

Many of the mates/captains at CTI began as deckhands on fishing vessels. PM me if you have any questions.

Life Aboard: Deckhand and AB (

Ep.5: Dutch Harbor in Summer (Cargo Operations and Cargo Ship Maintenance) (

How to Apply Crew | Coastal Transportation


I was leaning towards tugs or barges, specifically on the East coast as I’m from New York and most of my family is situated on the East coast.

As far as the work speed, honestly I wouldn’t mind a slower pace. I don’t mean to sound like a lazy ass, but Once you’ve spent 20 hours straight reassembling a trawl net in the middle of the Alaskan winter for 250 dollars a day, you start to think of what other options are out there

Question: at your company, do starter AB’s need to have a tanker man endorsement? I was considering taking it but I’m not sure how relevant it would be considering I never worked on a barge…not sure how necessary it is

Take a look at some of the dredging outfits, specifically hopper dredges. Most are a 3week on/3 week off rotation, and the top companies are paying 600/day for AB’s. We have a lot of ex commercial fisherman and they typically do very well compared to folks coming from other places.

You do not need a tankerman endorsement to work as AB, and as a tug company, any AB is fine with them. Its rare we go much past our watches (6 on 6 off) minus drills and occasional OT.

Tankermen make more than ABs and it’s tempting to go tanking, but most people seem to stop there. A few will get a license and move up to second mate, but very few move up to the tug mate.

Upgrade to AB Unlimited immediately. It likely won’t make much difference but it still looks better on an application.

You’re limited to STCW exempt vessels like most tugs and Coastal Transportation’s “fishing vessel” freighters without RFPNW and AS-D. Try to get those ASAP once you find a new place.

I’m pretty sure I have enough seatime for my Unlimited, I just need to confirm with the company’s for my seatime letter and forward to the coast guard

I heard they signed a bill knocking down the seatimes needed for an unlimited to 540 days…is their truth to that?


You may consider finding a different fishing company that doesn’t make you work that long straight and getting your mates license. Fishing pays significantly better than other sectors at the higher end. It’s tough to get those positions, but it’s possible.

Other sectors have somewhat more stability, but advancement is often less performance based. Figure out where you land on the performance/politics diagonal and move up accordingly.


Trust me you will feel like your barely working on a tug but I can guarantee you with the ethic that you learned on a factory trawler you will be running circles around any other guy on the boat without even trying.


So true. Nothing beats the work ethic of a Bering Sea fisherman. And they’re smart, if only because they aren’t allowed to be dumb.

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A lot of MMC credentialed mariners on ships, tugs, and even OSVs think that they are the hard working highly skilled professionals, and that fishermen don’t know anything.

They have it completely backwards.