Typically, the professional life of a captain or mate involves travel, lots and lots of travel. The trips can be short, long, frequent, weekly, daily, hourly, international, statewide, spontaneous or planned. No matter how they stack up, there are many trips. A person choosing a career in the sportfishing industry normally understands this well in advance of their date of hire and is excited for the opportunity. Nearly universally, captains and mates enjoy their time working on the water in their natural habitat.
There are, however, times when your passport cannot fit one more stamp, you missed your wife’s birthday (again) and your dog doesn’t remember you when you get home. As life evolves, some people begin to enjoy the trips a bit less. While some retire in the helm chair, others reach a point in time when they decide to seek other opportunities.
There is no right or wrong answer, but should you seek to transition from a career on the water here are a few positions where your skillset and experience translate directly.
1. Boat Broker: Boat brokers make their living selling boats. A thorough knowledge of sportfishers is critical to helping customers make the right choice. Time in the cockpit or at the helm is valuable.
2. Surveyor: Surveyors conduct inspections, surveys or examinations of vessels to assess, monitor and report on their condition. There is some training involved, but the transition could be a smooth one.
3. Marina Managers: A marina manager directs business operations, maintains certifications/licenses, boat traffic, slip reservations, fuel sales and more. A lot of moving parts? Sure, but the experience running a traveling sportfishing operation would make you an ideal fit.
4. Owner/Operator: If it’s just the travel and ever-changing schedule that prompts the change, some private captains buy their own rigs and set their own schedules.
5. Marine Product Sales: The marine industry has a lot of accessories and it is in need of people to sell these products. In-depth sportfishing knowledge provides an advantage to customers and companies alike.
6. Freelance (Tournament Fishing, Deliveries): For those who still want the travel in their lives, but want the flexibility of scheduling themselves or as a supplement to something else—there is always freelance work in tournament fishing or boat deliveries.
Luckily for those in the marine field, it is a multibillion-dollar industry that is only getting larger and more sustainable. There are career options for all people who want to get their foot in the door. For a full list of careers in the sportfishing industry, check out the InTheBite Job Board.