Deck Hand Training Program is Accepting Applications through March 1

By Laine Welch.

The call is out to apply for Crew Training for young people who want to learn the fishing life firsthand.

It’s the fourth year that the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association in Sitka has hosted the program which has drawn over 120 applicants each year. So far it’s brought aboard nearly 35 new boots on deck by more than 25 skippers; 64 more have gotten advance on-shore training.

 “We provide an opportunity for young folks to either do more of a short term experience or long term. Traditionally, a lot of our apprentices or crew member trainers are on longliners and trollers, but we do offer a shorter term experience, maybe on a gillnetter or a seiner, maybe just for a day or even a week to just see how that goes. So there are both short and long term. And last year, we actually did have a couple recent high school graduates who went out on a tender for the season.”  

Natalie Sattler is  program and communications director for ALFA and its Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust. Funding for the program comes from the National Wildlife Federation and Alaska Community Foundation Workforce Development. And while it attracts interest in the U.S. and globally, a priority is recruiting young Alaskans, especially from rural regions.