Deck and Fishing Hands
Deck and Fishing Hands maintain ships' equipment and structures, and catch fish, crustacea and molluscs.
handling ropes and wires, and operating mooring equipment when berthing and unberthing
standing lookout watches at sea and adjusting the ship's course as directed
assisting with cargo operations using on-board equipment and stowing and securing cargo
patrolling ships to ensure safety of the vessel, cargo and passengers
performing routine maintenance and checks on deck equipment, cargo gear, rigging, and lifesaving and firefighting appliances
attaching gear and fastening towing cables to nets
casting and lowering nets, pots, lines and traps into water
preparing lines, attaching running gear and bait, and setting lines into position
hauling in fishing gear and removing fish and other marine life
sorting, cleaning, preserving, stowing and refrigerating catch
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Informal or on-the-job
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to decline
- is likely to reach 5,700 by 2026.
Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 72% of people employed as Deck and Fishing Hands work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 6 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 57 hours per week in their main job. This is 13 hours more than the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
More than a third of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021.
Most Deck and Fishing Hands work in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry. They are also employed in industries like:
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Deck and Fishing Hands||All Jobs Average|
Around 72% of Deck and Fishing Hands live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia have a large share of employment relative to their population size.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Deck and Fishing Hands is 42 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 8% of the workforce. This is 40 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Deck and Fishing Hands||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||5.4||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
Formal qualifications are not essential to work as a Deck or Fishing Hand. Although some workers have a certificate I, II or III in maritime operations, fishing operations or aquaculture.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Seafood Industry VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Deck and Fishing Hands||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||0.8||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||28.7||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Deck and Fishing Hands who are fit, reliable and willing to take direction.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
46%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
45%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
43%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Fixing machines or systems.
Talking to others.
37%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
37%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.
Teaching people how to do something.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.
36%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Deciding on the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Planting, growing, and harvesting food (both plant and animal), including storage and handling.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
44%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
43%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
42%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
39%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
39%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
37%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
34%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
26%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
24%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
23%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Lift, push, pull, or carry things.
See details that are far away.
Bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Quickly move your hand, finger, or foot when a sound, light, picture or something else appears.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Communicate by speaking.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Change when and how fast you move based on how something else is moving.
Decide which thing is closer or further away from you, or decide how far away it is.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Exercise for a long time without your muscles getting tired.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Keep your balance or stay upright.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
80%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
74%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
57%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
54%Working with mechanical equipment
Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment.
47%Driving vehicles or equipment
Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
45%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
44%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
43%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
42%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
41%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
41%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
41%Guiding and directing staff
Guiding and directing staff, including setting and monitoring performance standards.
40%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
39%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
37%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
35%Working with electronic equipment
Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing electronic devices and equipment.
35%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
32%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
30%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
30%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
94%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
Talk with people face-to-face.
92%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
90%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
90%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
88%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
85%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
84%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
80%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
79%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
Work with people in a group or team.
78%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
78%Very hot or cold temperatures
Work in very hot or cold temperatures.
78%Bending or twisting your body
Spend time bending or twisting your body.
77%Minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings
Be exposed to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings.
Compete with others, or be aware of competitive pressures.
76%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
76%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
Deal with conflict or disagreements.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 45-3011.00 - Fishers and Related Fishing Workers.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.