1. Home: Explore careers
  2. Fishing boat deckhand

Fishing boat deckhand

Alternative titles for this job include Fishing vessel deckhand, fishing trawler deckhand

Deckhands maintain fishing gear and nets, process catches and keep work areas clean on fishing vessels.

Average salary (a year)

£21,000 Starter


£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

43 to 45 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Fishing boat deckhand

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
  • training through a professional body


You may be able to start by doing a course in maritime studies at a fishing industry training college, then apply for work as a trainee deckhand on a fishing vessel.

On a course, you'll learn:

  • deck, ropes and fishing gear operation
  • how to store a catch
  • basic navigation skills
  • vessel maintenance

You'll also get training in sea safety and first aid.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

More Information


You could apply to do a Fisher Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship.

This apprenticeship can take up to 2 years to complete.

Entry requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

More Information

Direct Application

If you have some sea-going experience and the correct safety certificates, you may be able to find work by contacting vessel skippers directly and train on the job.

Other Routes

You could find out more about the Introduction to Commercial Fishing course, which is backed by Seafish, who support the UK's fishing industry.

The course is for anyone looking to work on a commercial vessel. It covers basic industry skills and knowledge, along with 4 mandatory training units that you'll need to work onboard a boat.

More Information

Career tips

You'll need to be willing to move if necessary, as fishing industry training centres tend to be located near established fishing ports around the country.

Further information

You can find more information about careers in the fishing industry from Seafish.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of food production methods
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a fishing boat deckhand, you'll:

  • load supplies and unload catches at harbourside
  • operate fishing gear that sends out and brings in the nets
  • sort, process and store the catch
  • repair damaged nets and maintain equipment
  • wash down the decks and keep the vessel tidy
  • cook for crew members (on some vessels)

Working environment

You could work on a boat.

Your working environment may be physically demanding, outdoors in all weathers, cramped and you may spend nights away from home.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could work towards becoming a skipper. Inshore skippers can operate their own small boat up to 16.5m. Further training is needed for larger vessels.

You could also use your experience to move into related areas like the Merchant Navy or harbour tug work.

If you do training in mechanical, electrical or marine engineering, you could become a trainee engineer on a fishing vessel.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Fisher Apprentice

  • Wage: £13,312 a year Annually
  • Location: Brixham, Devon

Fishers Apprentice

  • Wage: £16,500 a year Annually

Courses In England

Maritime Studies Award

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Paignton

Engineering Shipping and Maritime Operations - Level 3

  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Fleetwood

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Is this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. Click here if you'd like to let us know how we can improve the service.