Who are they and what do they do? A harpooner is a crew member of a ship that specialises in the capture of whales or other cetaceans.
What are the activities of the job? Keeps the gun which shoots the harpoons ready for action, and takes the necessary steps to shoot the whale when it is at a suitable distance. S/he helps to hoist it on board. Although it is not his/her fundamental task, s/he can collaborate in the process of quartering, using different instruments for extracting the fat, for sectioning the head or for boning it; may also help with storage in the refrigeration warehouses; may also clean the ship's deck and repair and maintain the equipment ready to operate it again.
Where is it done and under what conditions? In large fishing vessels on the high seas. S/he must spend long periods of time far away from home. S/he must endure harsh weather and be prepared to live with a group of people in a limited space.
What tools/equipment do they use? Harpoons, cords, and quartering tools.
What do you need to succeed? Although no general higher education is required, this occupation demands a high degree of specialisation. Because of its uncommonness there are not many places where one can be trained as a harpooner; it is mainly through experience and practice that this occupation is learned and improved.