Before anything else, do be aware that crab fishing jobs have been described to be one of the worst jobs of all – it’s actually the most dangerous job in the United States, according to the US government statistics. That’s mainly because of the harsh Alaskan weather that crab fishermen have to endure, plus long shifts (going up to 21 hours at a stretch), the very high risk of being injured or falling overboard, and the literally heavy responsibilities (carrying crab pots weighing about 800 pounds each). The main allure of this job, obviously, is the salary: for just a few months, it’s possible for crewmembers to score about $50,000 each (the average pay is at $29,000). If you think this much salary is worth all the dangers and risks involved and you’re looking for ways to get a commercial crab fishing job in Alaska, read on for some great tips:
- Get experience as a fisherman. Most commercial crab fishers usually start out by salmon seining during the summer. Remember that because crab fishing is a tough job, you need to have strong previous related experience, but to get you started, you should opt for a fishing job that’s less strenuous than crab fishing.
- Try your hand at searching for available jobs online. One reliable website you can try out is the Alaska Department of Labor website. The point to this is so you’d have an idea about the names of companies and employers who look for crab fishermen. However, do know that chances are very slim that you will actually gain experience through online application, and you would likely have to fly to Alaska to win a job.
- Go to Alaska. The reality is that most employers will hire fishermen who are already in Alaska. That’s why if you’re really bent on becoming a commercial crab fisherman there, your best bet is to actually relocate yourself there. The places in Alaska where you’d have the best chances of scoring crab fishing jobs include Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, Ketchikan and Unalaska. If you don’t have any contacts in Alaska, a smart move is to hunt for temporary jobs first in the towns mentioned, in places such as canning factories. At least this will give you income while you’re hunting for crab fishing jobs.
- Go to Seattle. If you don’t have the opportunity yet to go to Alaska, an alternative is to go to Seattle, Washington. That’s because many Alaskan crab fleets have ports in Seattle. If you manage to obtain a job from here, you might be able to go with the crew even when they go off to Alaska.
- Establish connections. This is a job where you really need to know the right people. When you’re already there in Alaska, find out where crab fishermen hang out and take the time to get to know them. Let them know of your intent to apply as a crab fisherman, and they might be able to refer you to their employers.
Remember, obtaining employment as a commercial crab fisherman won’t take the same route as other jobs. While waiting for your perfect opportunity, make your waiting time constructive: get in great physical shape, learn techniques for crab fishing, and learn about survival skills necessary for crab fishermen to know. Good luck, and hope this helped!