‘Let Go’

Fishing out of North Shields

The Bennisan is a 60 foot anchor fishing boat based in North Shields, North East England. It was skippered by Trevor Potter and his crew: Davy, Taffy and Andy (Norman!). Fishing is not some great romantic adventure, it is a repetitive, dangerous and very often tedious.
Each member of the crew must find their own way of dealing with the potential claustrophobia and mental isolation that the process of and the cramped living and working conditions have on them. Emotions vary between extremes, from elation at a good catch to the resignation of a plodding routine. Problems and mistakes have to be dealt with as they arise, sulking or hanging on to irritations can cause chaos and distrupt the small living and working environment.
In some senses the skipper is isolated from the rest of the crew with his own living space, responsibilities and financial worries. It’s accepted that he will make decisions for everyone about getting up at dawn; about working all the hours necessary; about how many ‘shots’ to do; about grabbing portions of sleep whenever you can.

The romance of the job is in the strange relationship with the sea, its vastness, its power, it’s risk. Fishing is not only hard work, it is something beyond that, an obsession. Life outside work has to be squeezed into brief moments on land. Drinking acts as a buffer between one environment and the other. Problems with relationships have to be piled into a few hectic days, relationships with children vie for the same small emotional space. ‘Remembrance Day’ is on Thursday every week, when wives go to collect their money and remember they’ve got husbands.