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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Fishing Vessel Deckhands (8441)

Fishing vessel deckhands perform a variety of manual tasks on commercial fishing voyages, and maintain fishing vessels. They are employed by establishments that operate commercial fishing vessels and by self-employed fishermen/women.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read notes from co-workers with reminders of tasks to be completed. (1)
  • Read memos from the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans indicating changes in policies and procedures. (2)
  • Read memos outlining watch duties for the deckhands. (2)
  • Read step-by-step instructions in manuals on boat and engine repair. (2)
  • Read about lifting limitations and boat stability in the Workers' Compensation Manual. (2)
  • Read articles and bulletins in the newspaper and from the union to keep up-to-date about events that affect the fishing industry. (2)
  • Read navigational updates from the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans. (2)
  • Consult a first aid manual. (2)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Read safety and fire drill signs on the boat and in the shipyard. (1)
  • Read labels on parts that are needed for repairs, on food supplies and on the ship's control panel. (1)
  • Read to-do lists that are left by the skipper. (1)
  • Read the engine log to determine the number of hours of fuel consumption remaining in the tank. (1)
  • Enter information into engine logs. (1)
  • Read the ship's floor plan. (2)
  • Refer to net drawings when creating or fixing a net. (2)
  • Read the depth sounder screen which shows the depth of the water, in fathoms, and the shapes of objects in the water, which they must interpret. They read the number of fathoms so that they can determine the length of buoy line to prepare. (2)
  • Complete a Ministry of Natural Resources form each day at the dock. (2)
  • Read tide tables to plan when to pass through a channel. (3)
  • Monitor the global positioning system (GPS) chart plotter and radar to watch for icebergs and ships and to keep the ship on course. (3)
  • Read and interpret nautical charts and maps to plan navigation routes. These also show where the rocks and shoals are located. (3)
  • Use assembly drawings that accompany parts used for repairing the ship. (3)
  • Use schematic drawings when fixing the engine or the automatic jig line. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • May write brief reminder notes to co-workers. (1)
  • Keep a record of the number of fish each crew member catches, their weight and species. (1)
  • Record in a log book the time that they arrive at their destination. (1)
  • Record weather conditions. (1)
  • Record information about parts on the engine that have been changed or any problems that they have had with the engine. (1)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • Accept cash payments and make change for fish sold at dockside. (1)
  • Calculate the percentage of the total daily catch for which they are to be paid. They are paid on a percentage basis. (2)
  • Calculate bills for net repair, calculating the charge by the hour plus the cost of materials. (2)
Scheduling, Budgeting and Accounting Math
  • Keep track of the amount of money spent on groceries. (1)
  • Determine the amount of supplies to be ordered for the ship taking into account the size of the crew and the length of the trip. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Count the number of bait pieces used and the number of hooks that break off during a set. (1)
  • Measure and weigh fish. They are separated into different boxes depending on their dimensions and weight. (1)
  • Measure the length of a net or a line that needs repair or replacement. (1)
  • Read oil, water, fuel and revolutions per minute (rpm) gauges to ensure they are within operating ranges. (1)
  • Count the number of full boxes of fish and calculate the total weight of the catch by multiplying by a constant of 80 pounds. Half boxes are counted as 40 pounds. (2)
Data Analysis Math
  • Calculate the ratio of male to female capelin in a catch. (2)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate by feel, size and experience how much a fish weighs. (1)
  • Estimate the amount of slack needed in a rope when tying a boat up to allow for tidal changes. (1)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Use the radio traffic channel on the marine radio to give the ship's position and to ask for traffic and weather information. (1)
  • Listen for distress signals on the marine radio. (1)
  • Listen for instructions or warnings shouted by the captain or crew members, such as "Anchor's over!" which indicates it is time to drop the lines. (1)
  • Talk with other crew members when bringing in the line to co-ordinate their work efficiently and safely or to inform them of any problems with equipment. (1)
  • Inform the captain of unfamiliar objects shown on the radar screen. (1)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • May find that nets are getting tangled as they are hauled in. They signal to the winch operators to stop until the net is unhooked. (1)
  • May find that boxes of fish are tipping on the deck. They stack the boxes so they do not fall. (1)
  • May notice frayed ropes which could present a safety hazard. They splice the rope before it wears further. (1)
  • May encounter engine malfunctions. They perform minor repairs on the engine and other equipment. (2)
Decision Making
  • May decide what meals to cook for the crew. (1)
  • Decide how closely to pack fish and how much ice to pack them in. (1)
  • Decide which fish or shellfish to keep and which to throw back. (2)
  • Decide which lines and bait will be used and how much bait to use. (2)
  • Decide when it is necessary to cut a net to free it from a log. (2)
  • Contribute to a crew decision on whether to weather a storm or head back to shore. The captain makes the final decision based on the recommendation. (2)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

The tasks of fishing vessel deckhands are routine and repetitive. They are assigned tasks by their supervisor and co-ordinate their tasks with co-workers. (1)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember the normal sounds made by engines and other machinery to identify any problems.
  • Remember the locations of rocks, shoals and reefs in the water.
  • Remember the number of ties and the number of meshes between ties when repairing nets.
  • Memorize the characteristics of different species of fish and remember how to dress them.
Finding Information
  • Contact the traffic channel by radio to give the ship's position and to find out if there is other traffic nearby. (1)
  • Ask for information from their supervisors or co-workers, such as the species of an unusual fish or how to tie a particular knot. (1)
  • Refer to repair manuals to repair engines and other equipment. (2)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • They may take readings from depth sounders. (1)
  • May use computerized equipment. For example, they may use a computerized course plotter such as the global positioning system (GPS). They may read data and interpret maps on the screen to find out which direction to steer. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Fishing vessel deckhands mainly work as members of a team to operate the fishing vessel and to drop or bring in the fishing nets. They work independently when measuring, cleaning, weighing and boxing fish. They work jointly with a partner or helper when hauling fishing lines in or out of the water.

Continuous Learning

Fishing vessel deckhands continue to learn while on the job. They learn how to mend nets and splice ropes through practice. They talk with co-workers and supervisors to learn different ways of performing job tasks and to adapt to working on different ships. They may take first aid training courses.

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