Deckhands undertake a wide range of fishery and maritime work on land and at sea, including communications, supply, seamanship, hospitality and stores. They may also use equipment such as nets, lines and traps to catch fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

Duties & Tasks

Deckhands may perform the following tasks: • relay information to crew, other ships and harbour authorities using radio and satellite equipment • provide hospitality services such as table preparation, bar service and cabin care for patrons • attach runners, weights, buoys, anchors, poles, stakes, wood or metal beams to nets, traps or pots • sort, clean, process, preserve and package catches • load, unload and stow supplies and equipment • operate dinghies and dories • operate winches and other deck equipment.

Working conditions

A deckhand's duties may vary depending on the function of the vessel. A fishing vessel may require the use of pots, lines and scuba equipment, whereas a recreational or transportation vessel may require hospitality services such as table preparation, bar service and cabin care for patrons. Deckhands work in all types of weather conditions and spend long hours at sea. Conditions can be cramped and deckhands may be required to work odd hours. Shifts may include four hours of work followed by four hours of sleep.

Personal requirements

  • • Physically fit (a medical examination may be required) • Normal colour vision (to become a skipper, although restricted licences may be available) • An awareness of maritime safety issues • Good hand–eye coordination • A good sense of balance • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job • Able to work as part of a team



A skipper oversees the maintenance, preparation and operation of vessels, including the hiring of crew and logistics preparation for voyages.

Related careers