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What are Fishing Vessels?

Mary McMahon
Updated Jan 20, 2024
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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.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WikiMotors researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By Ivan83 — On Mar 08, 2012

What is the best kind of sail boat to fish off of? I have just recently been sailing for the first time and I loved it. I have always like to fish as well so I am thinking that I will start saving up for some kind of sailing/fishing boat. Any suggestions?

By summing — On Mar 08, 2012
@jonrss - Can you give me some idea of the best place to find used fishing boats for sale? I have looked online and in some of the classified magazines that they give away for free around here but I am just not seeing many listings.

I figured that boats were like cars so there must always be people looking to sell them. Especially with the economy the way it is I figured folks would be unloading them left and right. So help me out, where are all the used boats?

By jonrss — On Mar 07, 2012

My dad is an avid fisherman and lives in an area that has lots of lakes and rivers so he has been through a whole series of fishing boats. They have been big and small, nice and trashy, flashy and plain.

Right now he has a pretty decent bass boat that he bought used from a guy a couple of counties over. It's not the greatest boat in the world but it floats and it holds beer and fishing poles. For my dad that's about all he needs.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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