The Gig Harbor BoatShop and Washington Sea Grant are launching the Purse Seine Vessel Crew Member Training Program, or “Crew School,” designed to provide instruction on the fundamental skills needed to work on a commercial fishing vessel. Led by experienced captains and crew, the hands-on curriculum will be taught in the classroom, aboard commercial fishing vessels in south Puget Sound, and in the historic Ancich Netshed on Gig Harbor’s waterfront. The cost of the program is $100, which includes two Washington Sea Grant Coast Guard-approved safety training courses: Sea Safety and Survival (Drill Instructor) and First Aid at Sea.
The program will take place over six days, starting on April 11. The first four days will be led by longtime purse seine captain Gregg Lovrovich, followed by the safety training courses led by Washington Sea Grant course instructors over two days. The program goal is to introduce basic skills required aboard fishing vessels, primarily purse seiners, and to provide participants a window into the onboard life of a commercial fishing crew member. In addition, the program is intended to help commercial fishing skippers find qualified crew member candidates.
“I’m looking forward to sharing my commercial fishing experience with program participants and to introducing a younger generation to purse seining,” instructor Gregg Lovrovich said. “For me, well, I can’t imagine earning my livelihood in any other way.”
Program participants will be introduced to the basics of net mending, navigation, line handling, and on-deck skills, including setting and hauling a purse seine net from a fishing vessel while it’s underway. Participants that successfully complete the training will receive a certificate and assistance in their search for crew positions.
Salmon purse seiners that fish in Alaska are a maximum of 58 feet long. They are typically crewed by four or five people including a skipper. The fishing season runs from mid-June to early September; any given vessel’s participation varies in length within that window of time. Crew members live aboard for the entire season, and often visit towns like Petersburg, Sitka or Kodiak to unload fish or get provisions. Crew members are compensated on a share basis, meaning a percentage of total catch.
If seeing Alaska and having an adventure you’ll not forget piques your interest, then this crew member training program may be for you! For more program information or to register visit the Gig Harbor BoatShop website at www.gigharborboatshop.org or call 253-857-9344.