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Fishing boat deckhand

Alternative titles for this job include Fishing vessel deckhand

Deckhands clear the decks, prepare and maintain equipment and handle the catch on offshore fishing vessels.

Average salary (a year)

£17,400 Starter


£26,000 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 a fishing boat deckhand

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


Young people aged 16 to 24 may be able to do a Diploma in Sea Fishing

You'll get work experience at sea under the guidance of a skipper. You can learn how to:

  • operate and maintain deck and fishing gear
  • handle and stow the catch
  • do bridge watch duties like helping to steer or navigate
  • maintain the vessel

You will be given support for lodgings, travel and safety equipment during the course,

There is no set time to complete it. You work to an individual training plan until you have all the work experience you need.


You could do a fisher intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

More Information

Direct Application

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

More Information

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:

  • the ability to use your initiative
  • persistence and determination
  • knowledge of food production methods
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • 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

In your day-to-day tasks you may:

  • prepare the deck areas and fishing equipment
  • operate the gear that sends out and brings in the nets
  • sort, gut and store the catch
  • unload the catch when you return to harbour
  • repair damaged nets and maintain equipment
  • help to make sure the vessel is kept clean and 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.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

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.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a fishing boat deckhand right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Deck Shipping and Maritime Operations - Level 3

  • Start date: 18 February 2025
  • Location: Fleetwood

Level 2 Diploma in Maritime Studies- Pre-Cadetship 1

  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Poole

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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