These non-slip, waterproof boots were worn by Thelma McFarland, a fish processor working aboard the Alaska Ocean factory trawler in the summer of 2007. Manufactured in the USA, these “Xtratuf” boots are made of neoprene, a synthetic rubber.
Processors work 12-hour shifts and, if the factory is busy, they may work an additional 3 hours, called a kicker shift. For most of this time, the workers are on their feet, standing at processing tables or conveyor belts, or walking from one station to another on grated walkways. These walkways, like the areas around the equipment where processors stand to work, are raised above the floor, allowing the water used in factory operations to run beneath the workers’ feet. Despite being elevated above any water flow, it is still essential for workers to wear non-slip, waterproof boots to keep their feet warm and dry.
These boots are identical to those worn by deck hands. Most of the specialized clothing worn by workers and crew aboard the Alaska Ocean is provided by the company. Boots, however, are purchased by individuals, and are available in the on-board store. Felt insoles for the boots are available in the laundry and are washed frequently by laundry staff.
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