The NOAA research vessel Oscar Dyson, homeported in Kodiak. NOAA photo
Getting a job commercial fishing often takes months of pounding the docks, trying to convince a skipper to take a chance on a greenhorn or low-hour crewman. But one organization is actively looking for anyone with at least six months experience: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
NOAA recruiter Jesse Wentworth is at ComFish this week letting fishermen know about the opportunities available.
“We can waive a lot of things with on the job training, but we can’t waive that six months of fishing experience that our fishermen need,” he said.
Much of NOAA’s seafaring fleet operates in support of fisheries, and often surveys are conducted just like fishing, with equipment identical to fishing gear.
But a crewman on a commercial fishing high-liner can bring in a good sized payday if the fish are cooperating. Wentworth says there are other tangible benefits of working on the deck of a NOAA ship:
“We can match the value of the position,” he said. “These are federal jobs, so you’ve got that kind of security that you might not always have. You’re not just getting paid when you sail. There’s things to do when you’re not sailing. So there’s a base salary that’s kinda guaranteed. And then when you sail, that’s seven days a week and you’re working 10- 12-hour days, all that overtime.”
He said NOAA has regular openings on its ships, not just for those with fishing experience, but also licensed and unlicensed merchant mariners and licensed engineers, which he says are in short supply through out the marine industry.
Wentworth will be ComFish through Saturday, and his contact info is below.