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so much to sea

Danger of the Haaf 1750s-1900s

Through the 1900s, sixareens were made larger to reach new fishing grounds. This meant a greater danger to the crew.

The haaf fishing was deep-sea fishing in small, open six-oared boats (sixareens), and the crew typically spent two days and one night fishing, twice a week.

This was a very dangerous and strenuous job for physically fit men. There was no shelter and the boats could easily be swamped by waves.  A peat fire was kept going on the open boat for cooking and to keep the men warm. A crew of six would row out. Each man carried one packie (length of line). Crew baited the lines with herring or mackerel and then waited for two hours before hauling them up. On average, it took four to five hours to get all the lines hauled. Fish were stowed in the stern and ballast stones were cast overboard as the catch was taken in.