'The crew becomes like your sea family’
Roan Taylor loves the physicality of working as a deckhand on Sealord’s deepwater vessel Aukaha.
Being a deckhand involves working outside ‘shooting’ and hauling-in the nets, mending nets, helping to fillet and pack fish when needed in the factory, and driving the crane and forklift to load stores at the port.
“The work is varied and it’s really rewarding,” Roan says.
“You feel good about doing hard work and then getting the time off. I also really enjoy the people and how the crew becomes like your sea family.”
Roan’s first job on Aukaha was in the factory, learning to cut and skin fish and stowing boxes of product in the freezer.
As part of his training, he was supported by Sealord to attend Westport Deepsea Fishing School and gain his Advanced Deckhand Ticket. With this qualification in hand, and a couple of trips under his belt, Rowan became a deckhand where he usually works a roster of four weeks at sea, followed by four weeks at home.
Occasionally, during the hoki season when voyages are shorter because the fish are plentiful and the crew can reach their catch limit faster, Roan will work two trips back-to-back and receive extra pay.
Like many young Sealord workers , Roan finds it a great way to save money. He also appreciates the career progression pathway, with a goal to achieve his first mate or skipper’s ticket before he turns 40.
Meanwhile, as a deckhand, Roan enjoys being able to get away to sea for a month at time, travelling mainly down the east and west coasts of the South Island. Sometimes the crew fishes near the Chatham Islands.
“You get some really good views looking back to land, especially of the Southern Alps,” he says.
“We see whales and dolphins quite a bit, and seals and birds too. It’s really cool.”