How do I become a Share Fisherman?


A career as a fisherman is a hard one but does have many rewards. A deckie learner can work his or her way up through the ranks by taking the required exams and gaining the experience necessary to, one day, become a skipper of a trawler.

Maybe this can even lead to owning a trawler and operating a successful business. You will need many skills including net making, marine engineering, fish sorting, navigation, health and safety and cooking. All of which make fishing a varied and interesting career.

Fishing does mean working unsociable hours in sometimes dangerous conditions, but modern boats are fitted out with all up to date technology making living on board a little more tolerable – and, of course, the money is good if the boat has had a good trip.


    South Devon College, based in Paignton, has recently launched its ground-breaking Fisher Apprenticeship. Working alongside regional employers the apprenticeship will train the next generation to sustainably harvest fish and shellfish as well as learn about fishing methods.”

    The broad purpose of the Fisher Apprenticeship is to sustainably harvest fish and shellfish and to train the next generation of this industry. Fishing methods range from static gears such as shellfish pots through to modern, selective, high-tech trawl equipment. A fisher works as part of a team, both onshore and at sea. They are involved in the entire end-to-end process, through to transporting the catch to market to enable it to be sold. They set up the fishing gear and fit it to a boat and watch-keep on a navigational passage to and from fishing grounds. They deploy and retrieve gear and catch, process, store and land the fish (or shellfish).

    south devon apprenticeship

    Course Information

    Before you start and before you go on board a trawler must attend a 1-day sea survival course. Within 3 months of completing the Sea Survival course, you must complete a further 3 additional 1-day courses (Health and safety at sea, fire fighting and first aid).

    Alternatively, there is a 3-week course – introduction to commercial fishing– which includes these four mandatory courses and training in the use of fishing gear, catch handling and watchkeeping amongst other things. These courses are available to view below where you will also find more information and contact details.

    Once you have completed your courses, you can begin to contact skippers of fishing boats.

    Next steps – once you have completed your courses


    Once you have completed your courses, you can begin to contact skippers of fishing boats.

    A share fisherman is a self employed worker and does not have a contract of service. Therefore you must register for self assessment with HM Revenue and Customs and pay your own tax and national insurance. You should also seek professional advice from a local accountant.

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