Fishing vessels are watercraft used in fishing, ranging from massive factory ships used in commercial fishing to rowboats taken out for a casual day on the lake. There are a number of different types of fishing vessels used in commercial and recreational fishing, and they vary considerably in size. Globally, the world fishing fleet includes millions of ships, demonstrating the large market for fish and products derived from fish all around the world.
Fishing vessels can be used offshore, nearshore, and in rivers or lakes. Vessels designed for commercial fishing are usually very large so that they can accommodate a big catch, and in the case of factory ships, the ship includes processing facilities which allow it to stay at sea for weeks or months at a time. These ships are usually classified on the basis of the type of equipment they use.
Fishing trawlers are fishing vessels which drag nets to gather a catch, while seiners lay nets to capture fish near the surface. Dredgers scour the bottom for mollusks and deep water fish species, while trapsetters trap seafood like lobsters and crabs in large traps. Line vessels fish with baited lines. A fishing vessel may be attached to a factory ship which acts as a mother ship, consolidating the catch from a fleet of boats, or it may work independently.
Commercial fishing vessels are usually very utilitarian in nature, with a design which maximizes the capacity of the ship and the efficiency of its operations. Crew on a commercial fishing vessel are often compensated with a percentage of the ship's earnings, to encourage them to catch as much fish as possible. Working on a commercial fishing boat can be extremely dangerous, even though many operators are scrupulous about safety, and fishing continues to be one of the world's most dangerous occupations. The danger of commercial fishing has been immortalized in television shows like Deadliest Catch, which follows fishermen in the Bering Sea.
Fishing vessels for recreational fishing include many different types of boats and small ships, including charter ships which people can rent for fishing, and motorboats and rowboats which people maintain for casual fishing when they have spare time. Fishermen on these craft may use a variety of techniques including netting, spearing, and longlining to capture their prey. Recreational fishing vessels may also be used for other purposes; a charter boat, for example, could be used for whale watching, fishing, and diving trips.