Commercial Fisherman – Ideal Candidate

A man who has nothing to lose

damn t-shirt, tired on a fishing boat in the Bering Sea

Ain’t I a #pretty lad 😀 #tired #fisherman #Idontcare #fishing #alaska #beringsea #selfie #face #beard #north #needforsleep #fishingboat #messedup #grumpy #maritime #sealife

Girlfriend, wife, family, life… The less ties you have the easier the job will be for you. If you decide you like it, the likelihood is that you will be away from home working about six months a year. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, not many partners will be willing to stay with you through it. In the better case scenario she will break up with you. In the worse case scenario she will stay with you, but you will have a SANCHO to take care of her while you are away. I met a few fathers that simply didn’t know of a better way to provide for their family. Their stories usually end in a divorce and their efforts flying out the window. Seven months in, I nearly lost my long-term girlfriend that I really care about. Personally, I did not mind the job as much as the shit I got from her for being gone!

A man who doesn’t need much sleep

where there is a will, there is a bed

Where there’s a will, there’s a #bed. #fishingboat #fisherman #sleeping #nofish #beringsea #alaska #sleep #Idontcare

I slept a maximum of five hours a day. We worked hard for up to 15 days, and then after offload we had between six and 30 hours while returning on the sea for sleep.

Physically capable

I usually managed to move up to sixty tons over sixteen hours. You are not only asked to lift, you are asked to do it quickly. My back was extremely sore over the first three weeks, but eventually that pain went away.

Psychically resistant

playing golf in the Bering Sea

Do you have what it takes to become a #BeringSea #fisherman? #golf #alaska #nofish #north #fishing #sport

It will not be easy. Others will be telling you that their mother could do better, and you will wish you were never born. You will work to the best of your abilities and it will still not be enough. I can assure you, you will get no appreciation from anyone at first. Your back will be unbearably sore, your toes might be fractured or bruised, your nails will go purple and you will be unrested, exhausted, you will be sweating in -20°C and the smell of fish will be everywhere. Let’s not forget sea sickness, which very few avoid. You will even dream of working while asleep. Our crew was composed of ex-convicts, veterans, and other “special” kinds of individuals. The key to success is to work extra hard without complaining no matter how sick or injured you may be – unless you really can’t.


Your captain might also act as your doctor. Before leaving for the ship make sure your teeth are in a good condition. The dentistry costs in Dutch Harbor are very high. Also exercise and do anything that might strengthen your immunity before departure. Unless you want to go home, you cannot take a day off on the ship. You work hard just like everyone else.

A man that is not racist

crew member in the fishing boat factory

Good morning! I overslept couple times when working in the freezer hall. After too few hours of sleep, I went straight from bed to run back and forth with 20kg “fish bricks” in -20°C. Ate 4 hours later. That’s what I call a wake up call! 🙂 #fishingboat #fisherman #beringsea #face #tired

More than half of the crew was foreign. Vietnam, Samoa, Laos, Nigeria, Mali, Ethiopia, Micronesia, Indonesia among others. A black man once told me to move my ”white ass”. To that I naturally replied ”move your black ass”. As much as this seemed fair to me, he did not think so. Understandably he had a reserve against people of the European origin because of the way people of his origin have been treated in the past. When any conflict got physical both participants were fired at the end of the trip. I have tried to encourage him too (“Let’s go, come on!”), but that wasn’t a good idea either. Although my intentions might have been good, I’m white, and I was yelling something at him. The best way to make friends/acquaintances among your co-workers of any race is to work harder than them and avoid complaining. No matter what.

The Conclusion

I was not an ideal candidate. I had someone I really care about, I’m not a Samoan, I like to sleep a lot and I got pretty sick on the boat (more on that in my LIFE OF A WARRIOR story). Despite that, I think I dealt with it pretty well.

“If others can do it, so can I!”