Time for a change

We have reached that point in our adult lives where we need to make some major decisions.  Zed is tired of being only a deckhand, and only barely paying our bills, and is thinking of buying his own dungeness crab operation (permit and boat).  Until this point, he has resisted making this move because he didn’t want the added responsibility and stress of owning his own boat.  Essentially, we were afraid of the boat owning us.  This is a big decision in itself, but on top of that we will need to decide WHERE to buy an operation.

We love living in Bellingham and we love our neighborhood, but the cost of living is relatively high, and so is the cost of a Washington State permit.  Our other options are Oregon or California.  California is looking to be the more feasible with boat and permit prices at a fraction of what they are in Washington or Oregon, but a very high cost of living.  Maybe we could fish in California, but keep our home in Washington?

Arrrggghhhh.  It’s a tough choice to make and either way we will end up with more debt and responsibility, but also more potential for making a decent income.

Anyone have any advice?????


6 thoughts on “Time for a change

  1. Tough to do more than barely get by as a deckhand with a family unless the wife works at a good job with benefits,just as tough to be a commercial fishing boat/business owner with a wife who works full time.

    You have several problems,I sure wouldn’t move away from familer surroundings to do this just because the permits were cheaper,he will need help and advice from friends not facing being a unknown new kid on the block in someone elses back yard where stepping on toes may lead to gear being cut or worse.
    Not everybody who works on a boat for years is capable of catching crabs or fish on their own,some people are born fishermen,some can learn and some never can get the knack.I know as a wife you have to have faith and believe he can but this is the place were honesty and not hope has to be faced.Being the owner/operator of a commercial fishing vessel not matter how small and knowing that feeding your family depends on that boat and your ability is a lot of pressure but most of us wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

    It’s 3:15 am here in Fla,I spent all day on the boat getting in at sundown,truck came at 1:15 to pick up our crabs,part of it but Shelly did fix me a big mug of hot chocolate to make me sleepy again.

  2. Hi Robin! Love, love, love the pictures of Zed and the boys. Just melted my heart the way they are helping daddy and the way he’s involved them in the work.

    My own two cents is that you and Zed are both at the perfect age to make the leap once you’ve decided that’s the direction you want to go.

    G bought into his first boat (a Bering Sea freezer-longliner) at 33. Now he’s 43 and owns several permits, his own boat, a ton of gear, etc. At the same time, he’s got a ton of extra responsibility to crew and to the bank and that can weigh a man down.

    He might be a good source to talk with directly should either of you be interested, especially since our families involved in one of the same fisheries. He’s spent the last ten years building and building and I think he is very happy, although I know he’d like to downsize at some point and take some of the load off.

    It’s a big risk, but the potential reward is also big if all goes relatively well. There were a couple of years where we both wished we could just go back to the carefree easy days, but those hard years did pass, and I don’t think either of us would change any of it.

    Anyway, shoot me a note if either of you would like to talk to G and get his take. He’s out at sea just like Zed right now (actually, I had to laugh; we both used “And They’re Off!” As our blog title for the days each of them left!) but we are around.

    Great job on your blog. Excellent writing, reading, and pictures!


    • Thanks for the advice Jen, I really appreciate it, especially coming from someone who has been in the same spot. That’s funny that we used the same “And They’re Off!” title for our posts! I wonder if I read your post and subconsciously filed that away? Anyway, I would love to get our families together sometime (when the guys are in town) and pick your brains. Plus, our kids are about the same age I think… We’ll keep in touch.

  3. Absolutely. That sounds like a great time all around. Family-wise, fishing-wise, future-wise….I just added your actual blog feed to my sidebar. Keep up the awesome work! (And I’ll see you on Facebook, lol!)

  4. I just found your blog (thanks to Jen)! Making the leap from crew member to owner/captain is a HUGE decision. But, the benefits are worth it! I have to say, the first couple of years, be prepared to budget your family funds really well. Pretty much all of our money was dumped into the boat (including permits). We live in Gig Harbor, but Mike fishes Alaska in the summer, Washington in the fall, California in the winter and Oregon in the fall. My advice would be to stay where you are and acquire permits as you go. You’ll soon find out which fisheries are going to work the best for your family and if a move needs to be made, you can go from there. Always great to read about other fishing families going through the same things!

    • Thanks Amanda,
      That’s how I’m leaning right now, staying where we are until we feel we absolutely need to move. My husband is a lot more of a nomad than I am, so he doesn’t mind moving all the time, but for my sake, and the kids, I think we should stay put as long as we can. But it’s good to hear that you think it’s worth it! It just seems like the next logical step for us…
      Thanks again for the advice. Great to meet another fishing wife!

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