Fishing Skipper
Careers New Zealand
New Zealand
4d ago

Pay for fishing skippers varies depending on the size and type of the boat they operate and whether they own it, the fish species being targeted, and the size of their catch.

  • Inshore fishing skippers usually earn between $40,000 and $80,000 a year, and a few may earn up to $100,000.
  • Deep-sea fishing skippers can earn between $130,000 and $280,000.
  • Source : Maritime New Zealand, 2017.

    This information is a guide only. )

    What you will do

    Fishing skippers may do some or all of the following :

  • hire and direct the crew
  • navigate fishing boats to and from fishing grounds
  • manage the deck and fishing duties
  • record fish catches and keep quality records
  • ensure the ship is properly equipped and maintained
  • ensure the health and safety of the crew
  • undertake maintenance and emergency repairs.
  • Skills and knowledge

    Fishing skippers will learn or have :

  • vessel-handling skills and an understanding of their vessel's capabilities and equipment
  • good navigational skills
  • knowledge of the habits and location of the fish species they're catching
  • the ability to identify where fish are using radar and echo-sounders
  • knowledge of tides, coastlines, marine hazards and the weather
  • an understanding of health, safety and hygiene rules and regulations
  • knowledge of the Fisheries Act, Maritime New Zealand requirements, and fishing quotas.
  • Fishing skippers :

  • usually work 12-hour days, including weekends, when they are at sea
  • may work at sea for periods ranging from a day to many weeks
  • work in all types of weather, and in conditions that may be cramped and hazardous.
  • Entry requirements

    To become a fishing skipper you need to have relevant Maritime New Zealand approved experience and qualifications.

    In general, you must :

  • have experience on a fishing vessel
  • have approved qualifications in first aid, radar, firefighting and survival
  • pass seafarer medical tests
  • pass eyesight and colour vision tests
  • be able to prove you are a 'fit and proper person'
  • pass Maritime New Zealand qualifications relative to the size and weight of the vessel.
  • To become a deep-sea fishing skipper you need to have :

  • experience working as a first or second mate on a ship's bridge
  • a skipper fishing vessel unlimited (SFV-U) certificate.
  • To become an inshore fishing skipper you need to have :

  • experience working as a deckhand
  • a skipper restricted limit (SRL) certificate
  • a skipper fishing vessel limited (SFV) certificate.
  • Fishing skippers who run their own boat must hold a fishing permit and Annual Catch Entitlement (ACE) and / or quota shares.

    Secondary education

    There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a fishing skipper. However, biology, geography and maths are useful.

    Personal requirements

    Fishing skippers need to be :

  • responsible, practical, and able to work well under pressure
  • safety-conscious
  • able to think on their feet and remain calm in emergencies
  • good at communicating and leading others
  • good at making decisions.
  • Useful experience

    Useful experience for fishing skippers includes :

  • work as a deckhand
  • work as a first or second mate on a fishing boat
  • navigational work
  • other commercial fishing experience.
  • Physical requirements

    Fishing skippers on inshore fishing boats need to be fit and healthy, as their role involves a lot of physical labour. Physical fitness is less important for deep-

    sea fishing skippers, as their role is usually confined to the wheelhouse.


    Fishing skippers who own their own boat must register their vessel.

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