Get prepared for your first commercial fishing adventure

Going to work on a commercial fishing vessel is an exciting opportunity! Do you think you're up to the challenge? Whether you are moving up to Alaska to find a job on a boat, or you are coming to Kodiak from another part of the state, there are a few things you should know, especially if this is your first fishing job.

For instance, it's always good to have a

  • CPR card
  • some training in cold water survival
  • and a basic understanding about boats. 

There are many other things that would be helpful too, and we've provided a few links below that can help you get up to speed. When you interview with a vessel captain they will need to know that you can stick with a plan and have the ability to learn. Be prepared to show any credentials and certificates that you have. And dig into these links, gather as much information as possible. Grow your knowledge before you show up on the dock.

  • Vessel Terminology

    vessel terminologyBeing able to communicate about the parts of a boat is important. Vessel terminology is very much the same from one type of boat to another. Take a few minutes to look at these links on terms. Memorize them all - if you can!

  • Cold Water Survival

    cold water survival

    Going overboard in Alaska's cold waters can be a life and death situation. When working on a fishing boat you'll be expected to participate in "man overboard" drills. get the basics by following these links - better yet find and attend a class in cold water survival, before you look for a job on a boat.

  • VHF

    How to use a VHFVHF radios are the most common way of communicating while fishing. Usually, there is no cell phone service on the ocean so you have to learn to talk to other vessel or the US Coast Guard by using a radio. Things you may have to talk about include how your vessel and another vessel should meet up and pass each other; and the details of an emergency that you or another vessel may have. As you watch these videos pay attention to the details. You can even get a dummy-mic and practice if you'd like!

  • Knots

    KnotsThe most common knots you'll use on a fishing boat are the bowline, half hitch, and clove hitch. When you walk the float system looking for a job, be prepared to demonstrate the knots you know. Can you tie a buoy bag off to a rail with a clove hitch? Can you use a running bowline to help cinch something tight and hold it down?

  • Engine Types
  • Communicating about Hazards

    Communicating Hazards

    What is a hazard and how do you communicate about it? Understand how product labels tell you about the hazards involved with using the product. When working a fishing vessel you may be called upon to paint, remove bottom paint, or clean with harsh chemicals. If you know how to read a label and keep yourself safe, this will keep you healthy and let your skipper know you are being responsible. Learn to read details of labels and take the time to follow the safety precautions.

  • Fire Extinguisher
  •  CPR and First Aid

    It'd be great to have a CPR card before you go commercial fishing. Knowing what to do when someone gets hurt is an excellent skill. These sites can help you find a CPR/First Aid course near you.

  •  Math Skills

    There is actually a lot of math that goes into making a boat work. Standard calculations that are used on land are also used in vessels, such as gallons per hour, miles per gallon, time/distance speed equations, even reading a tape measure. Fishing vessels also deal with dollars per pound, percent of catch, writing fish tickets (weight x price = payment), and all sorts of ratios for the equipment. Having an upper hand on the math means you'll be more likely to move up in responsibility. Here are some links that may help.

LA Holmes Contact Page

Maritime Courses at Kodiak College

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