September 17, 2020
Meet an American Seafoods Mate Who Travels the World
Dave Flanders, a mate onboard the American Dynasty, learned about fishing from his two older brothers. Both returned home from their jobs on American Seafoods vessels each off-season with inspiring stories that captured Dave's imagination.
He joined American Seafoods as a processor right after high school, and none of their stories could prepare him for the real life on a fishing vessel.
"I remember being completely shocked by the way everything looked, the way everything was so fast and so big," Dave said.
He worked his way up to a mate, a job he's held for about 7 years. Dave interacts with government regulation entities, keeps the captains logs up-to-date, and helps crew members if they feel ill or need advice.
Before working as a mate, he worked on the deck for 14 years in positions that he says take a tremendous amount of endurance and training.
"The way people come up from the very bottom and can actually be a captain or fish master on these boats, that's cool," Dave said. "Of course we have to do a lot of classes and schooling. I went to Houston Maritime Academy for a few years. It definitely takes a lot of work, but it can be done."
Dave was born in the Philippines and lived in Europe and India, now with a home base in Texas. He's visited more than 100 countries, aiming to see all of them.
"I've been traveling since I was born," he said. "That's what I do, and that's why this kind of job appealed to me: the freedom to do whatever I want to do after a season."