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Mate Job on Headboat?

Old 06-30-2014, 08:30 PM
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Default Mate Job on Headboat?

I didn't know where to post this and also can't find much on how this would work. I am 15 and wouldn't mind a few extra bucks but I'd mainly want the experience. Is this open to people of my age? I obviously have fishing experience and pickup on things quickly. I'd just love to learn and become part of the community. I'm in Cape May, NJ. I was thinking of riding around the docks this weekend seeing as offshore the seas are supposed to be 10-15 ft so they should be in. I would just ask around if there is anything I can do but I don't know if they want experienced guys or people are in line for the jobs. I'd only be able to work on weekends too during school. Just tell me how it is if you have experience in this stuff.
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Old 07-01-2014, 06:20 AM
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I would say the best thing to do is show up in person, good luck.
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Old 07-01-2014, 06:53 AM
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Be persistent and don't refuse any work. They might start out by letting you do something that they don't want to around the docks.
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Old 07-01-2014, 06:58 AM
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Be there at the dock when they come in. Help tie up, take trash to trash can when they're cleaning up the boat, offer to help shammy/wash....introduce yourself to the mates ... Etc
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:05 PM
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Am I even legally aloud to work on these boats? Cant find anything except that minors have limited hours and cant work after 7PM or before 7AM which is stupid. And supposedly we're not aloud to work for more than 3 hours a day during school. I understand that one.
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:25 PM
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Heres what I did and I worked on charter boats from the age of 17 to 22.

First you need to get planning early. Before the season starts. The charter guys will be down there working on their boats. Introduce yourself to the owner/manager of the marina and tell him what you want to do. There are some boats that you won't have a chance to get on (a captain that has family on the boat or a high priced boat that has mates that have been on forever.) The guy that runs the marina will be able to tell you who you need to talk to and when they are usually available.

Make up some business cards (this can be done on your home printer with some good stock), give them to anyone that you talk to and always keep them in your pocket. Give them to the captains and the deckhands.

Your first gig will probably be helping when the boat hits the dock. Helping the deckhands with trash, fish or cleaning the boat. Once they see that you are reliable and you display interest they will probably take you on as a mate when one of the regular deckhands gets unreliable. (that happens all the time, its a tough business to find good help so if you show that you are reliable at some point one of them will be too drunk or lazy to show up on time and if you are next on the list to call, you will get the job).

When I was a deckhand, I had a kid that was 14 or 15 that would hang around the dock when we got back and asked if he could help. The first few times I gave him 10 bucks to help with the trash and washing. After a couple of weeks he cleaned the boat for 50 dollars while I cleaned the fish. About halfway through the summer he was cleaning 5 boats at the dock every night and making 250 a day. The next summer one of the other boats picked him up as a deckhand and he did that for several years during the summers.

Unless you know someone you are not gonna be able to just jump in as a deckhand until you prove you are a reliable worker.
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:34 PM
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I'm on the west coast, so I can't offer you much advice on the East coast charters, however, I will commend you on 1. Being pretty articulate in your writing. 2. Your willingness to work, while keeping the laws in mind.
Follow the advice of the Salty folks here, they will steer you in the right direction.

BTW If you don't mind me asking. is your Mom or Pops there to help you ?

Good Luck to you
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:38 PM
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Cape May? Go over to the Holiday fleet and look for ole Capt Ronnie Robbins - tell him Stem Head from the Holiday in Sea Isle sent you... test the old mans memory and possibly get a foot in the door.

First - forget about the legal issues... these are headboats, nobody cares.

You need to be a people person and a hustler - you have to know how to talk to people, make them feel special and keep them busy. Keep their kids happy - make them forget about puking - make them forget about lack of fish...

Hustle for tips.
Sell beer and drinks.
Clean fish for money.
Hook up the good fishermen with the best/freshest bait.
Take care of the regulars.

Be prepaired to see and do everything, from:
-Grown men eating 10 day old squid.
-to jumping off the boat in a bluefish blitz to retrieve lost rod
-girls/women getting hooked in a boob.
-Older women (on the evening sightseeing cruise) teaching you the meaning of life up on the roof of the boat.
-fist fights
-Puke - lots and lots and lots of puke...
-drunk parties and booze cruises -

That being said - being a mate was the best job of my life.
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by slickcav View Post
Be there at the dock when they come in. Help tie up, take trash to trash can when they're cleaning up the boat, offer to help shammy/wash....introduce yourself to the mates ... Etc
Yep -

and help carry the ice in the morning, offer to cut the bait or respool the rental rods, offer to clean the boat and put stuff away... bring the mates a cold beer...
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed View Post
Cape May? Go over to the Holiday fleet and look for ole Capt Ronnie Robbins - tell him Stem Head from the Holiday in Sea Isle sent you... test the old mans memory and possibly get a foot in the door.

First - forget about the legal issues... these are headboats, nobody cares.

You need to be a people person and a hustler - you have to know how to talk to people, make them feel special and keep them busy. Keep their kids happy - make them forget about puking - make them forget about lack of fish...

Hustle for tips.
Sell beer and drinks.
Clean fish for money.
Hook up the good fishermen with the best/freshest bait.
Take care of the regulars.

Be prepaired to see and do everything, from:
-Grown men eating 10 day old squid.
-to jumping off the boat in a bluefish blitz to retrieve lost rod
-girls/women getting hooked in a boob.
-Older women (on the evening sightseeing cruise) teaching you the meaning of life up on the roof of the boat.
-fist fights
-Puke - lots and lots and lots of puke...
-drunk parties and booze cruises -

That being said - being a mate was the best job of my life.
Dang, you sure do paint a pretty picture!
Where can I apply?
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:04 PM
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for what its worth, my buddy is mating on a headboat now, strictly wreck fishing, making 250-300$ a day when the boat runs
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by slickcav View Post
for what its worth, my buddy is mating on a headboat now, strictly wreck fishing, making 250-300$ a day when the boat runs
Yep, sometimes the mate makes more than the Capt or the owner for the day... last trip we took out on a local boat - 12 guys fishing, paid for by our company - we all tipped the mate at least $60 each, some $100.

I worked a 1/2 day boat, two 4 hour trips and an evening cruise. Sometimes two cruises. Base pay was $25 per 4 hour trip, $10 per cruise. Plus tips - $50 on a weekday, $100+ on weekends - fish cleaning $30-50 per day, beer and soda sales - $20+/-...

$150-200... and this was back in the 80's.
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed View Post
First - forget about the legal issues... these are headboats, nobody cares.
Good thats what I was hoping for. I'm just gonna head down and just ask around. I actually don't expect to get any jobs because I don't live down there. I stay down on our boat on almost all weekends but not the week and my family goes on lots of vacations. I just figured I'd ask and see what I can come up with.
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:02 PM
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If you can show up every day and do what you're told that's half the job. Limited availability is tough to work with as a mate. I'm an AB tankerman on an idea tug and barge and have a 3 weeks on/3 weeks off and this is not conducive to fishing boats.

But the money can be good which is why I always look and fill in when I can.
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:06 PM
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That's what I'm thinking. Not even sure if I should try because I'm not gonna tell THEM when I can come. It's the other way around. Just started realizing this now.
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:21 AM
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Go buy a scrub brush and wash bucket and ask if you can help wash the boat. Lots of folks want the job, only a few show up with the tools ready to do it.

I bet after a few wash downs, someone takes you on as a mate.

Be ready to scrub buckets, fix reels, scrub shitty shitters, pukey decks and carry out a lot of trash. Most days in the summer will be on the boat, many nights too.

It's a good experiance, just don't fall in love with it. It's fishing, it's what you enjoy doing for fun.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:35 PM
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My son has worked a few years up here in mtk. He's only 13. You're not trying to be first mate, just a helper. Unhook some fish, help clear tangles, get more bait, scrub the decks. Good work if your mate and capt are honorable. Good luck.
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