How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Whaler: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $30,370
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -0.7%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute
  • Flexible Hours
    Career Attribute

A whaler specifically uses equipment including nets, fishing rods, and harpoons, to catch whales for the consumption of humans or to be used in practical industrial applications.

Recommended Schools

What is a Whaler?


As a whaler, you are expected to perform the following tasks effectively:

  • Examine the whale for any defects or signs of ill health, discarding any parts that do not comply with established guidelines.
  • Clean and store the whale meat in refrigerated or ice-filled holds.
  • Ensure that the condition of the ship and its equipment are well-maintained and in good shape.

Day In The Life

Whalers have to play various roles on the ship when called on to duty. For instance, some whalers are assigned charting the ship’s course using modern as well as traditional instruments such as compasses, charts, and electronic navigational equipment like global positioning systems (GPS). You may also use radar and sonar to avoid obstacles above and below the water and to find whaling areas. Whaling takes place in deep water on large ships that are well equipped for long voyages on the sea.

At other times, you will help to cut and process whale meat caught on board and prepare it for distribution or direct sale based on your clients. If you are an experienced whaler, you will spend the day overseeing the work of others on the operation and narrow down the location of the best whaling grounds. You will also decide on the most efficient way to capture the whale and determine the price of the catch.

Work Schedule

The work can be grueling and take you away from home for weeks or months at a time. Whaling operations are conducted in all kinds of environmental conditions, depending on the marine environment, depth of water, and kind of whale sought. Storms, fog, and wind may damage or slow down whaling ships and cause them to suspend operations and return to port. It is not unusual for the work environment to be unpleasant and even dangerous. As a whaler, you must be prepared to get injured or killed on the job. Drowning is the cause of most injuries or fatalities.

Growth Of The Job

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts no significant change in employment through 2024 for this type of hunting profession. Starting as a deckhand on the ship, you can eventually advance to the position of boat captain with adequate experience and skill.

Typical Employers

Whalers are typically employed by whaling ships. Some also own independent businesses and hire internally when the need for more deckhands arise.

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How To Become a Whaler

In order to become a successful whaler, many often start in entry level roles like the deckhand. On the job training is the most common path to working in this field. You might also receive training at a vocational-technical program but these provisions are limited to mostly coastal areas. In addition to training on the job, you should be able to demonstrate a natural affinity towards working with boat and ship parts, e.g. diesel engines, electronics, and hydraulics. The physical and mental capacity to adapt to challenging and unpredictable situations will also come in handy, since working on the sea for long periods of time is not for everyone.

Whaler Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Whaler salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Whaler's can make an average annual salary of $30,370, or $15 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $21,920 or $11 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #694 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Whalers

  • 0%   Doctorate
  • 0%   Masters
  • 0%   Bachelors
  • 0%   Associates
  • 0%   College
  • 0%   High School
  • 0%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Whaler job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -200 jobs for a total of 28,200 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -0.7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #631 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Whalers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 16,400 1,000 1%
Fishing, hunting, and trapping 11,400 -1,200 -1%
Seafood product preparation and packaging 100 --- ---

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