GOING TO SEA
Why did people choose to work at sea? One answer is simple enough: 'For the money. There were no other jobs on the coast here.'
You took any job you could get. I was working on a farm in the Annapolis Valley. If I worked picking apples I got seventy- five cents a day, so I spent quite a long time up there. I came home from the valley after about three months there, and I had the princely sum of twenty-one dollars! I bought a pair of shoes and a shirt. Then I was looking around for a job in Halifax and I went in the Prince Henry, and it coulda been because some one in my family knew somebody and put in a word for me. 1
This was in 1936, and many who went to sea in the Depression, or even earlier, tell a similar story. But this explanation for going to sea is not so simple as it first appears, because this man has mentioned a very important influence -- his family. Teenagers had to work, not to earn extra pocket money for themselves, but to help support the family. And often it was family members who helped them find work.