Typical Schedule for Seafood Workers in Alaska

Interested in knowing what it’s like to work onboard a ship? Do you want to know what it’s like working and living in tight spaces at sea? Do you want to find out a little bit more about life on the ship, the crew, and your responsibilities? If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions then read a little bit more about what to expect during a typical work week as a crewmember on a fishing boat in Alaska. Although the work responsibilities and schedules will vary from employer to employer, you will gain a general sense of what life is like onboard the ship, and what will be expected of you as a crewmember and employee.

A manager of a company that runs a longliner at Dutch Harbor gave us an idea of what the typical schedule is like for those working on fishing boats:

    “On our boat, we just run a ‘fishing day’ which means we get up, work 18-20 hours, get four or five hours’ sleep and then get up and fish again. On bigger operations they might run three boats 24 hours a day with 16-hour shifts, so it’s more organized and the hours aren’t quite as tough. We’re usually out to sea for 20 or 30 days and work every day unless there’s a weather day when we have to ride out a storm.”

Crewmembers working on Alaska fishing vessels will generally experience long and arduous shifts. Typically, there’s little time to rest between shifts. Because fisheries last for only finite periods of time, it is imperative to be as time efficient as possible. Although the days are long, they are also eventful, and it is common for employees to remark on how fast shifts go by. Don’t be surprised, however, if there are more than a few cold, wet shifts that seem to drag on endlessly. It’s all part of the fishing industry, and part of the reason that crewmembers on a successful boat may earn good money in a short amount of time – overtime adds up.

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