Be a part of a thriving industry! Washington maritime provides more than 148,000 jobs.
Salaries $20,000 above the Washington State average. Great benefits. Celebrating diversity. Opportunities for travel and adventure. Teamwork. Advancement. High tech skills. A commitment to community and sustainability. And these careers don't just include sea-based positions; the maritime industry employs countless land-based workers as well.
F/V Aleutian Mariner
I have been a commercial fishermen crab fisherman since 1975 and a captain since 1980. After graduating high school early, I went out fishing and never turned back. The first season was horrible. I had never worked so hard for so little, but that is why they call it fishing and not catching.
I am a hard worker by nature and fishing is a really good fit for me. Maybe it is in my blood because I am half Icelandic and half Norwegian. Even under the individual fishing quota system, you can go out and work as hard as you want. For me, it is somewhat addictive--the adventure and being with nature and not at anybody’s beckon. The job and being out on the ocean is never the same, it is different every day. You have freedom and independence.
It is an amazing job, an adventure really.
Work in the fishing industry is always difficult but also very rewarding. It is a team sport of sorts with a lot of camaraderie. One great thing about going to sea and being isolated on a vessel is that you learn a lot about yourself and the other people you are with. It builds great character and you find out what you are truly made of.
Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers
The Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers are one of our partners in the Seafood 101 campaign. Their member's fish for King, Snow and Bairdi crab in the Bering Sea. We are also actively involved in scientific research, policy development, and marketing. The organization is committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of their fishery. Its members include cast members of the Deadliest Catch.
I love working in the fishing industry. There are such great, hard-working, interesting people in the industry. I am drawn to the lifestyle of working hard, being out on the water, supporting the families and communities that depend on the fishery, and enjoying the camaraderie that comes with this line of work.
There are so many different facets to the fishing industry – harvesting, processing, marketing, engineering, research. You really can apply most anything you are interested in to the fishing industry. For me, I enjoy working with the people that depend on the resource because they have so much knowledge of the crab fishery from being out on the water season after season, year after year.
Captain Michael Jackson
F/V Kelley J
Do you own your own boat?
No, my boat owns me.
Are you a direct marketer? If so, what is your company’s name?
For fourteen years I have sold my fish through my company, Fall Line Fisheries.
How long have you been fishing for?
In dog years? 280. Human years, 40. I
ran out of money on a climbing trip in the Tetons after High School graduation. I picked up a hitchhiker to help pay for gas. He knew a guy that knew a guy that needed help on a fishing boat, “Somewhere up in Alaska”. I flew up to Dutch Harbor two days later and have never looked back.
Who do you typically fish with? Tell us about your crew.
I have had my two oldest son’s on my boat for many years, but since they bought their own boat and permit, I have had to recruit other folks. So I now hire crew that want to be a skipper. I look for even-tempered team players that want to work at least as hard as I do. I am very proud of the fact that I look for qualified women crew, and that I am considered a Captain that trains the next generation of skipper’s.
How do you describe the Bristol Bay waters & fishery to those who’ve never been?
An absolute freak of nature. The 8th wonder of the world, and a miracle of management and habitat protection.
Maritime Operations Manager
Port of Seattle - Marine Division
After getting sidetracked into banking and investments for twelve years, I finally got serious about obtaining my captain’s license and starting my own water-ski business. In the process of learning what was needed to become a professional captain, I met a friend of a friend who owned a tugboat company. He hired me to be a deckhand on their vessels. From there I obtained my license and now hold a 1600-ton Master’s License, Master of Towing and AB Limited.
I work for the Port of Seattle as the Maritime Operations Manager. This position allows me to interact with owners and operators of Fishing Vessels, Tugboats, Research Vessels, Ships of State, Cruise ships and Marine Construction companies.
The Port of Seattle is considered a “Land-lord Port.” My team manages Terminal 91, several berths along Seattle’s waterfront as well as dolphins and property along the Duwamish River.
Working in this industry has allowed me to enjoy a great deal of variety in my work. Most importantly, I have met some amazing people and been a part of some very interesting projects.
I am a 1600-ton licensed captain. I started fishing at age 12 and have been running boats since I was 21 years old, everything from salmon boats to factory longliners. Now, I am partners in a crabber named the F/V Pacific Sounder. We keep this boat fishing all crab fisheries in the Bering sea with pot gear over the fall and winter. Outside of the crab season, we tender for salmon in the summer and longline with hooks as a catcher/processor for black cod in the spring time.
There is no other work that is as rewarding and exciting as running your own boat catching crab.
I knew I wanted to be a fisherman since I was 12 years old. I love what I do and couldn’t think of a better way to spend my life working than doing this. It’s a close-knit family in a way and we all know each other. We might fish different fisheries, but we keep track of and look after each other.
Commercial Salmon Fisherman
I fish out of Friday Harbor, WA and Bristol Bay, Alaska. My boat, the F/V Sandman is an aluminum 32-foot gillnetter that was built in Puget Sound by Marco Shipbuilding in 1980. In addition to catching fish, I sell my catch directly under the company name Matt's Fresh Fish (www.mattsfreshfish.com).
I've been fishing in Bristol Bay (the largest salmon fishery in Alaska) for 35 years and my father, uncles and both grandfathers fished up there as well. Now, I'm grateful to have my daughters fishing with me as crew.
I love returning to Bristol Bay each summer because there is no pollution, there are wide open spaces, and we are surrounded with hard-working people and families all focused on the same goal—to provide the people back home a taste of the truly incredible sockeye salmon.
If you are going to join the crew of a commercial fishing boat in Bristol Bay, realize that you are going up there as part of a team, and it will not always be fun and games. In fact, sometimes it may be really tough, and you may wish you are anywhere else. But the great part is that when those unpleasant times pass you will look back and say, “That wasn’t so bad…” (really—you will—I’ve done it a million times).
Stephanie Jones Stebbins
Managing Director, Port of Seattle Maritime Division
My job is to oversee our Maritime operations including Cruise, Fishing Vessel moorage, grain terminal and recreational marinas. Our annual revenues are about $55 Million.
There is always something new and interesting in the Maritime business. Two weeks ago I was visiting fishing customers in Alaska and last week, I was in a boat on Puget Sound looking at moorage locations and habitat sites. It is rarely boring! Maritime is about trade, commerce and transportation, connecting people around the world. Being in Maritime you get to meet people from all over the world.
Not only are the jobs great opportunities in terms of pay and benefits, but also the Maritime Industry is an important part of making our community, and the world, a better place. In this industry we run successful businesses and operations while also being stewards of Puget Sound. We bring people and goods to our region; we feed the world through our fishing industry and provide access to our incredible environment.