Crab Boat Greenhorn

posted: 04/11/12
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It's the absolute worst job on a crab boat — a workplace that's among the most dangerous and stressful in the world. And to top it off, it's pretty thankless. Greenhorns come home to a paycheck that's about half that of their experienced compadres. And, if you thought your college fraternity hazing was rough, think again. In addition to their grueling duties, greenhorns commonly endure hazing at the hands of demanding superiors.


Novice crab fisherman with thick skin.

Job Description:

The greenhorn is responsible for all grunt work on the crab boat. This includes keeping the boat clean and knocking the ice off the boat rails with a sledgehammer. The greenhorn also prepares bait, which entails cutting up thousands of pounds of fish and manually attaching it to crab pots. All this is performed in bitter cold temperatures and 60-mph winds, on icy decks. Although the working day isn't long (only five hours of sunlight available in these northern locations), the working night is. The greenhorn must pay for required fishing equipment and a fishing license out of his or her own pocket. Most importantly, this candidate must prove his or her worth by earning the trust of superiors in order to advance to higher ranks.

Desired Skills and Qualifications:

This is an entry-level position; no fishing experience required. However, salmon fishing and crab processing experience are pluses for this extremely competitive position. Candidates must have unrelenting endurance and a willingness to do grunt work, without questioning and without backtalk, for little pay. Must think on your feet without much direction and unhesitatingly take orders from a short-tempered, seemingly unreasonable captain. Whiners need not apply. Candidates can't be susceptible to seasickness and must be able to stay alert and function through long, cold, sleepless hours.

Ideal candidate has impeccable knife skills and is handy with a sledgehammer. Must perform all the above duties on a reeling boat with icy, slippery decks and around ropes and coils for which one misstep could mean a fatal accident. Due to the danger involved, it's recommended that beginners come to terms with their own mortality and prepare to meet their maker before stepping aboard. Not for quitters: Once you start, there's no turning back — in the middle of the ocean, the only designated emergency exit off this ride is overboard.

Why You Should Want This Job:

If you're struggling to find experience in a job with upward mobility, this is the position for you. Receive on-the-job training through exhilarating, dangerous adventures. Quickly claw your way up the crab boat ranks — that is, if you're still interested in making this your career after your first trip.

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