How to get a Jjob as a deckhand

Written by angela reinholz
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How to get a Jjob as a deckhand
Become a deckhand on a fishing ship. (fishing boat image by MAXFX from

Working on a boat will be one of the hardest jobs that you have ever known. Working as a deckhand can be viewed in a romantic light by some, but the reality of the job is that it is hard labour with long hours. If you want to become a deckhand, keep in mind that only hard work and keeping in the good graces of the crew that you work with will help you rise up in your chosen field.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Research the type of boats that you would like to work on. Deckhand jobs vary greatly on different vessels. A deckhand on a tugboat will have many tasks that a deckhand on a lobster boat may not have. Decide if you want a career on a fishing boat, a lobster boat, a tugboat or a cruise boat. Job descriptions will vary for each type of boat.

    How to get a Jjob as a deckhand
    There are many different types of boats to work on. (boats image by Warren Millar from
  2. 2

    Join the Seafarer's International Union. This will help you start to get credentials in the boating industry. It will also help you start to connect with various other members of the union who may have job lead information.

  3. 3

    Lift weights and work out to help you get physically fit. Your job as a deckhand often does not include light-duty activity, and may very well include lifting over 45 kilogrammes at a time. As a physically fit deckhand you can keep up with the others on the boat when you get the job.

    How to get a Jjob as a deckhand
    Lift weights so you can keep up with the other deckhands. (weights and measures image by John Sfondilias from
  4. 4

    Get swimming lessons and practice swimming. Being a strong swimmer may save your life or someone else's life when you work on a boat. Take a first aid class, for it will come in useful if your boat ever runs into trouble.

    How to get a Jjob as a deckhand
    Swimming lessons may save your life if you are a deckhand. (Swimming image by Stana from
  5. 5

    Go to your local Coast Guard and apply for Merchant Mariner's documentation. This documentation is needed for working on many ships in the United States. It proves that you are eligible to work as a deckhand.

  6. 6

    Apply to jobs with captains of ships. If you live near the coast go down to your local docks and find out if there are openings available. If you do not live near the coast or lakes where they are hiring deckhands, you may have to travel in order to start looking for work.

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