How the dream of becoming a Kiwi homeowner is possible with a career at sea

Alana Harding
Alana Harding Photo credit: Supplied

Picture this. You’ve landed a job that will give you around four months paid holiday each year, your workplace puts you amongst some of the most brilliant ocean life the world has to offer, and the view from your ‘office’ changes every minute.

Talley’s is the largest NZ owned fishing fleet based in Nelson, and safety and culture is by far their most important priorities, as is diversity.

Working at sea is not just a career for males, Talley’s really values its female deep sea fishing crew. Around 20 percent of the crew on board are female.

Alana Harding is one of those females, who has been working for Talley’s since 2019.

And, while she has purchased her own house at the age of 22, for her, the best part is the family feeling she experiences both on and off the boat.

“There’s such a family vibe onboard, and then when we get back to shore, you’d think we would be sick of each other, but we end up hanging out all the time anyway,” Harding said.

She said while it can get a bit tough towards the end of a six week trip as you start to miss friends and family on land, the same thing happens when you’re off work and back at home.

“I find after a couple of weeks or so I get a bit bored and restless and I just want to get back out to sea again.

“I expected to experience sea sickness, but it really wasn't an issue. It really only took a day or so to get used to it. And the comradery with everyone onboard makes it all worth it,” she said.

How the dream of becoming a Kiwi homeowner is possible with a career at sea

Jakob Kennedy, 23, has worked for Talley’s for about six years, starting on the factory deck processing fish then moved to be a deckhand aboard Talley’s fishing vessels.

He says when you return to land you go home to the house you've bought with the money you’ve made while at sea.

Kennedy started the process of building his own home after his first year of work at Talley’s, and at the age of 18, had purchased some land and called in the designers to get to work on his dream home.

Just a few years on and Kennedy has moved into his house and is preparing to build a pool, a spa and a sauna.

 “Unfortunately, there’s not quite enough room for a basketball court and a pool,” he joked.

Each trip out to sea lasts for about six weeks, and while the scenery is amazing, it’s no cruise.

“You’re working hard every day, but all the team get along and you know when you return to land you’ve got six weeks all to yourself, paid with no work.”

And, at the end of every shift you’ve got a meal prepared by an experienced chef.

"You're always busy onboard," he said. "You work in 8-hour shifts (eight on then eight off) from the moment you leave the wharf until you come back six weeks later, so there's no trouble sleeping and it keeps you very fit."

How the dream of becoming a Kiwi homeowner is possible with a career at sea

Kennedy says working on one of the vessels is a great option for someone who isn’t so sure about what they want to do for a career.

"Everything is paid for, you are trained on the job, and you can earn some serious money, meet some great people, and see parts of the world no one else will ever get to see. Basically, all you need to do is bring a good attitude and they’ll teach you everything else."

Kennedy is planning to make his way up the ranks and continue a career on the water for some time, but with his eye on an early and well-funded retirement.

Something special about Talley’s is you’ll earn great money while you’re at sea, and you’ll also get paid during the four months you have off.

Talley’s is currently recruiting people. If you’re interested in finding out more click here.

This article was created for Talleys Deep Sea Career