Fishing Boat Captain

Oversee fishing trips by hiring a crew and steering your vessel.
picture of Fishing Boat Captain

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$17,000 – $40,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Fishing Boat Captains do?

The Fishing Boat Captain is the decision maker for the entire vessel. As the Fishing Boat Captain, you hire staff, steer the ship, manage resources, evaluate working conditions, and perform maintenance.

The ability to make quick decisions is a crucial trait for a Fishing Boat Captain. When the weather turns suddenly, you decide if workers should stay on deck. If the nets are repeatedly coming up empty, you decide whether to move to a different location.

Of course, not all decisions are made in the heat of the moment. This job requires a lot of planning as well. You make all the decisions about how long you’ll be at sea, what staff you’ll bring, and what you’ll fish for. Since you are commonly out to sea for days, weeks, or even months at a time, you coordinate the delivery of supplies, obtain the proper permits, and make sure all international and local laws pertaining to catch limits, personnel, safety, and inspections are observed.

Once on the water, you don’t do all this alone. Each crew member plays a key role in the process. Your First Mate is your right hand, and also manages the rest of the staff. They’ll report to you about all things on the boat so you know how full the holding tanks are, how much weight you’re carrying, who’s ill, and what supplies need replaced or repaired.

Once you pull into port your job’s not over: you make sure that the catch is delivered to land and sold, then you disperse paychecks and plan the next trip.


Should I be a Fishing Boat Captain?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Captain, Fishing Vessel, Clam Dredge Boat Captain, Commercial Shrimping Captain, Menhaden Fishing Crew Member See More

    How to become a Fishing Boat Captain

    Most Fishing Boat Captains have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Bachelor's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9nahaa&chl=no+college+%2874%25%29|certificate+%2816%25%29||bachelor%27s+%289%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,74,74
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