The Regime on a Fishing Boat
The crew offloads the catch in the harbor (offload), and loads a supply of water, fuel and food (backload). At the same time those who are going home are swapped for new crew members. The boat heads for the sea and once the freezer hall is full (anything between six to twenty days = one trip) the entire process is repeated (applies for trawler, trip on longliner can take over 30 days). The crew was made up of a captain, captain assistant/mate, technicians, the chef and his assistant, housekeeper, deck crew and factory crew. There was no doctor on board. Any accidents or problems were treated either by the captain or his assistant; on my last mission it was the data manager’s job. If it was not a life threatening issue the injured/ill person could use a hospital in Dutch Harbor or he could return home after finishing the trip. When it was a life threatening situation, and the ship was far from shore a helicopter had to be called in.
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We worked hard 16.5 hours a day, until the freezer hall was full. We had food five times a day; it was delicious. There was meat, fruit, vegetables, cereals etc. whatever you could think of. The key phrase was “eat good, work hard”. We had three shifts rotating after eight hours every day (A+B, B+C, C+A); ideally the factory was running non-stop. If you are half a minute late, somebody else has to work half a minute longer. As a result of that you’ll have half a minute less respect within the crew (which is a lot), and you will increase your likelihood of being sent home = incompletion of contract.
- 3 AM alarm and breakfast
- 4 AM shift starts
- 8 AM 15minute snack break
- 12 PM half an hour lunch break
- 4 PM 15minute snack break
- 8.30 PM end of shift, dinner, shower, sleep.
If you are half a minute late, somebody else has to work half a minute longer. As a result of that you’ll have half a minute less respect within the crew (which is a lot).life of a fisherman
We had six to thirty hours extra sleep between the trips, depending on how far from the harbor (Dutch Harbor) were our fishing grounds. Other companies have a similar regime. For example I heard that Arctic Storm operates with 12 hours work, and 12 hours off. Then Fishing Company of Alaska had a twelve hour shift, six hour sleep which adds up to 18 hours of work a day and an irregular daily schedule. But according to my recent findings, they changed the regime to the same one we had.
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