Fishermen have the deadliest job relative to their wages in the U.S.
“People who go into fishing don’t really realize what the risks are,” Mark Juma Nahon, a Gulf Fishermen’s Association board member and fisherman with 30 years of experience, said in an interview. “There certainly are a lot of people who die during their time at sea.”
With 116 annual deaths per 100,000 workers, the yearly salary for fishermen and related fishing workers is $27,880, according to a Bloomberg Rankings analysis, which compiled data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that excludes military employees.
Fishermen are followed by logging workers with a salary of $34,510 and about 92 annual deaths, the data showed. Quarry workers, derrick operators and explosives workers ranked third with a salary of $40,600 and about 64 annual deaths.
Juma Nahon said bad weather and handling equipment, particularly for inexperienced fishermen, can be dangerous. He said he once saw a fishing line decapitate a fellow fisherman, leaving the man’s head on the boat while the body went overboard.
The highest paying jobs given the risk of death include firefighters with a salary of $47,730 and about three annual deaths per 100,000 workers. Janitors get a salary of $24,560 and about two annual deaths per 100,000 workers, and first-line supervisors of production and operating workers receive a salary of $56,170 and about five annual deaths per 100,000 employees.