Fishing vessel skippers are responsible for planning
fishing voyages, the operation and maintenance of
equipment, navigation, the success of the trip in terms of
size and landing of the catch, and the safety and
management of the vessel and crew.
Skippers need to keep up-to-date with current systems and equipment. Fishing is changing rapidly because of continuing advancement of modern technology. The crews of larger vessels use highly efficient systems and equipment for navigation and finding and keeping fish. On smaller vessels, more manual systems may still be in place.
Fishing vessel skippers must be familiar with mercantile law and international regulations affecting fishing vessels, as well as any conditions and regulations laid down by the vessel’s owners. Skippers ensure that a profit is made from each fishing trip and liaise with appointed onshore agents concerning the landing and selling of the catch.
Hours vary according to the size and purpose of the
vessel. Small inshore vessels usually go to sea on a daily
basis. Larger vessels may go to defined areas around
the UK coast (limited area) or to more distant fishing
grounds (unlimited area). These are likely to be away at
sea for anything between several days to weeks or
months at a time. Time is also spent ashore maintaining
nets and repairing the vessel.
Skippers work long hours each day at sea and, although usually sharing daily and nightly watches with the mate, must always be available in any emergency.
Fishing vessel crews work in a challenging environment, mainly out in the open. Work is physically demanding and can be hazardous, especially in freezing weather, storms and gales. Conditions on board are often cramped, with basic facilities, although this depends on the type and age of vessel.
To be a fishing vessel skipper you should:
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