Diary of a POCF: The Deckhand Blues
I don’t know many captains who are completely satisfied with their deckhands. Honestly, I can count them on three fingers. The main complaint from many business owners, in general, is the struggle to find good employees. In commercial fishing, multiply it by one hundred.
One of my favorite Instagram accounts is @commercialfishingexcuses for that reason. It gives me a better idea of what captains have to deal with while strangely empathizing with the deckhands because I know it’s a tough job.
But I wouldn’t say that “our” deckhand is full of excuses. I actually really like him. But the fact that he’s missed several days in the yard, then texted at four in the morning saying he wouldn’t make to launch traps for a few days makes me pause. I mean, I completely understand if it’s something out of his control, but I can’t help but think the worst. I am human, after all.
Here are some of my favorites from @commercialfishingexcuses:
Like I mentioned before, it’s more of a safety issue with me. I want someone on the boat with Chris in case, God forbid, an emergency happens and they need to call Mayday. That, and the fact that each season puts more wear and tear on Chris’s body, and whole the point of a deckhand is so you don’t have to do the heavy lifting alone.
But, what can you do? As a partner of a commercial fisherman, I can only listen when Chris laments about fishing alone. He doesn’t complain, really. He only says, “it sucks.”
I find it hard not to get emotionally involved in his work. Ever the organizer and planner (hello, Type A!), I find myself slyly injecting my opinion into conversations. “Would you like a suggestion?” is my new way of graciously butting in. But just like anything else, it takes practice to let go. What helps me from giving my full opinion is thinking about how I’d feel if Chris coached me on writing. Just thinking about it makes me burn inside.
So, how do you handle it when your partner’s work isn’t going as planned? Do you offer suggestions or simply listen? How do they handle it? Please share in the comments below!
If you liked this, you’d love the last diary entry, Pre-Season Lobster Prep & the Emotions That Go With It.