Fishing Vessel Deckhands

(NOC 8441)

in All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

This group of jobs is concerned with fishing support activities. Fishing vessel deckhands complete a variety of manual tasks on commercial fishing trips and maintain fishing vessels. They work for companies that operate commercial fishing vessels and by self-employed fishermen/women.

Job Outlook

Average

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  • Estimate Decline sharply employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 45 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

  • Estimate -415 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 355 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

This occupation was among the first to be affected by COVID-19, as flights carrying live lobster to China were suspended in the winter before cases of the virus appeared in the province. The loss of the Chinese market, followed by falling demand in other countries, resulted in a large decrease in the market price of lobsters. The lobster fishing season was already underway in much of the province when prices plunged. The Northumberland Strait season, which begins in May, was delayed by two weeks. There may have been fewer opportunities for deckhands—or earlier layoffs for those already employed—as fishermen/women contended with adverse market conditions and less revenue than normal. Fishing vessels were exempted from restrictions on group sizes and physical distancing, limiting the effect of the pandemic on tasks and working conditions.

The level of employment in this occupation is influenced by the number of fishing licenses for a specific area and species of seafood, which determines the number of employers. However, variables like seafood prices or catch volumes may prompt fishermen/women to hire more or fewer deckhands in season. A lot of hiring takes place through personal contacts and word-of-mouth and not very many public job postings are observed. There may be some competition for vacancies as wages are relatively high for the skill level. A large share of opportunities in this occupation are expected to come from retirements. There are many deckhands who are near or beyond typical retirement age.

The median employment income for the 7% of Fishing Vessel Deckhands who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $56,425. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, the 59% of those who worked full-time, year-round had a median employment income of $43,600. (Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$15.00

Minimum

$20.82

Median

$50.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$8,237

Minimum

$18,828

Median

$79,617

Maximum

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

Hourly Pay

$12.55

Minimum

$24.84

Median

$32.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$4,009

Minimum

$23,520

Median

$87,170

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

This group of jobs is concerned with fishing support activities. Fishing vessel deckhands complete a variety of manual tasks on commercial fishing trips and maintain fishing vessels. They work for companies that operate commercial fishing vessels and by self-employed fishermen/women.

Job duties

Fishing vessel deckhands:

  • Prepare nets, lines, and other fishing tackle, and operate fishing gear to catch fish and other marine life.
  • Clean, sort and pack fish in ice and stow catch in hold.
  • Repair nets, splice ropes and maintain fishing gear and other deck equipment.
  • Clean deck surfaces and fish hold.
  • Handle mooring lines during docking.
  • May steer vessels to and from fishing areas.
  • May prepare and cook meals for crew members.

Sample job titles

  • fishboat deckhand
  • fishing vessel crewman/woman
  • fishing vessel deckhand
  • trawlerman/woman

Skills

You should enjoy working outdoors and being physically active. Good eyesight and health are important. You may be exposed to extreme weather conditions and varying climates. You must be alert, patient, and observant. Some jobs involve irregular or long hours and may be seasonal.

Job requirements

  • There are no specific educational requirements.
  • On-the-job training is provided.
  • Fishing vessel deckhands require a commercial fishing licence.

Other considerations

Work in these jobs is seasonal with employment peaking in the summer months and most workers in these jobs fish for only part of each year. An individual's earnings will depend upon a number of factors like the type of boat and equipment used, the species sought, the allotted quota and the market price for the catch. Trawlermen/women require at least one year of experience. Fishing vessel deckhands may become skippers upon acquiring an entry licence and a boat and may also move to watchkeeper or mate positions with additional training.

By the numbers

Quick look

2,040

employed in 2016

88.2%

employed full-time

2.2%

self employed

13.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
87%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
40.4

median age

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

14,665

employed in 2016

78.0%

employed full-time

20.0%

self employed

15.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
84.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
44.6

median age

Where will I likely work?

39.1%

Cape Breton

34.6%

Southern

18.4%

North Shore

4.7%

Halifax

3.2%

Annapolis Valley

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

100.0%

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting

What is the age of Employment?

22.0%

45-54

19.0%

35-44

19.0%

25-34

18.0%

15-24

15.0%

55-64

7.0%

65+

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

20.7%

45-54

19.8%

15-24

19.2%

55-64

16.2%

35-44

14.8%

25-34

Top levels of education

36.0%

Less than high school

$22,329 median annual income
30.6%

High school

$15,036 median annual income
17.2%

Apprenticeship

$23,932 median annual income
13.5%

College Diploma

$22,026 median annual income
1.5%

Bachelor

$14,201 median annual income

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

35.7%

Less than high school

$23,463 median annual income
30.8%

High school

$19,301 median annual income
13.7%

College Diploma

$29,551 median annual income
13.4%

Apprenticeship

$31,535 median annual income
4.4%

Bachelor

$17,956 median annual income

Education & training

There is no information to display in this section

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nova Scotia Licensing Service Centre
P.O. Box 1035
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4T3
Tel: (902) 426-9966
Fax: (902) 426-5010
Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council
38B John St, Suite 1
Yarmouth, NS B5A 3H2
Tel: (902) 742-6167
Fax: (902) 742-8391
Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
1800 Argyle Street, 6th floor (Suite 607)
Halifax, NS B3J 2R5
Tel: (902) 424-4560
Fax: (902) 424-4671

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.

Job postings

There are currently no job postings for this occupation.