Deadliest Catch is a reality television series that premiered on the Discovery Channel on April 12, 2005. The show follows crab fishermen aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan king crab and snow crab fishing seasons. The Aleutian Islands port of Dutch Harbor, Alaska is the base of operations for the fishing fleet. Produced by Original Productions for the Discovery Channel, the show's title is derived from the inherent high risk of injury or death associated with this line of work.
|Created by||Thom Beers|
|Narrated by||Mike Rowe|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||17|
|No. of episodes||266 (as of May 4, 2021) (list of episodes)|
|Executive producers||Ernie Avila|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company||Original Productions|
|Original network||Discovery Channel|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||April 12, 2005 –|
Critic Matt Zoller Seitz has given high praise for the show's sincere treatment of its subjects, stating that the program "has brought old-school documentary sobriety to a genre more often known for shamelessness."
Deadliest Catch, premiered on the Discovery Channel on April 12, 2005, and the show currently airs worldwide. The first season consisted of ten episodes, with the finale airing on June 14, 2005. Subsequent seasons have aired on the same April to June or July schedule every year since the original 2005 season. On March 7, 2019, the Discovery Channel announced that the series was renewed for a fifteenth season, which premiered on April 9, 2019.
Deadliest Catch season seventeen premiered on April 20, 2021 on Discovery.
The series follows a fisherman's life on the Bering Sea aboard various crab fishing boats during two of the crab fishing seasons, the October king crab season and the January opilio crab (C. opilio; often referred to as "snow crab" or "opies") season. The show emphasizes the dangers on deck to the fishermen (and the Discovery Channel camera crews recording their work) as they duck heavy crab pots swinging into position, maneuver hundreds of pounds of crab across a deck strewn with hazards (i.e., holding tank hatches, uneven surfaces, maintenance access plates, wet decks), and lean over the rails to position pots for launch or retrieval. All these while gale-force winds and high waves lash the deck constantly. The series also documents the dangers of being on a boat in the Bering Sea, in the midst of some of the coldest and stormiest waters on earth, where even a minor problem may become complicated or even catastrophic with the nearest port often hundreds of miles away.
Each episode focuses on a story, situation, or theme that occurs on one or more boats. In contrast, side stories delve into the backgrounds and activities of one or two crew members, particularly the "greenhorns" (rookie crew members) on several boats. The fleet's captains are featured prominently, highlighting their camaraderie with their fellow captains and relationships with their crews, as well as their competition with other boats in the hunt for crab. Common themes include friendly rivalries among the captains (particularly between Sig Hansen of the F/V Northwestern, and Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand of the Time Bandit), the familial ties throughout the fleet (brothers Sig, Norm, and Edgar Hansen, who own the Northwestern; the Hillstrand brothers and Johnathan's son Scotty on the Time Bandit; brothers Keith and Monte Colburn of the Wizard), the stresses of life on the Bering Sea, and the high burnout rate among greenhorns.
Because Alaskan Crab Fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, the U.S. Coast Guard rescue squads stationed at Integrated Support Command Kodiak (Kodiak, Alaska) and their outpost on St. Paul Island, near the northern end of the crab fishing grounds, are frequently shown rescuing crab boat crew members who fall victim to the harsh conditions on the Bering Sea. The USCG rescue squad was featured prominently during the episodes surrounding the loss of F/V Big Valley in January 2005, the loss of F/V Ocean Challenger in October 2006, and the loss of F/V Katmai in October 2008. Original Productions keeps a camera crew stationed with the Coast Guard during the filming of the show in preparation for such occurrences.
The show has no on-camera host. A narrator provides commentary connecting the storylines as the show shifts from one boat to another. Discovery Channel voice artist Mike Rowe narrates the action for North American airings. In the UK, voice artist Bill Petrie, reading from a slightly altered script, offers a regionally familiar accent for a British audience. The show transitions between boats using a mock-up radar screen that shows the positions of the ships relative to one another and the two ends of the fishing grounds, St. Paul Island to the north and Dutch Harbor to the south.
Rowe was originally supposed to be the on-camera host, and he appeared in taped footage as himself during the first season of shooting. As filming of the first season was nearing completion, Discovery greenlighted production on another Rowe project, Dirty Jobs, under the condition that Rowe chose only one show on which to appear on camera. As Rowe relates the story, Discovery had told him that the two shows would be airing back-to-back on the same night, thus, "We can't have you telling us stories about six dead fishermen on camera and making a fart joke with your arm in a cow's ass." Most of the footage Rowe shot during the first season became part of the first season's "Behind the Scenes" episode. After the third season of Deadliest Catch, Rowe began hosting a post-season behind-the-scenes miniseries entitled After the Catch, which is a roundtable discussion featuring the captains relating their experiences filming the previous season's episodes. A season 3 episode of Dirty Jobs (2007-2008) saw Rowe return to Alaska to take part in a job tangentially related to the fishing industry — diesel fuel spill cleanup. Another episode that same season featured Rowe at work on board the F/V Legacy doing trawl fishing and at-sea shellfish and other seafood processing, during which Rowe made numerous references to the crab fishing of Deadliest Catch.
Changes required for parental guidance ratings
Because Deadliest Catch is essentially a filmed record of everyday life in a stressful working environment, the producers have to censor gestures and language deemed inappropriate for television audiences. For example, under the U.S. Television rating system, Deadliest Catch is rated TV-14 with inappropriate language ("L") as a highlighted concern. For visual disguise of such items as finger gestures, bloody injuries, or non-featured crew member anonymity, the producers use the traditional pixelization or simple blurring. However, due to the sheer volume of profanities used in the course of everyday crew member conversation, the producers occasionally employ alternate methods of censoring profanities, such as using sound effects (a ship's horn, the "clang" of a hatch door, or a burst of radio static) in place of the traditional "bleep."
Dangers of commercial fishing
Commercial fishing has long been considered one of the most dangerous jobs in America. In 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked commercial fishing as the job occupation with the highest fatality rate with 141.7 per 100,000, almost 75% higher than the fatality rate for pilots, flight engineers, and loggers, the next most hazardous occupations. However, Alaskan king crab fishing is considered even more dangerous than the average commercial fishing job, due to the conditions on the Bering Sea during the seasons when they fish for crab. According to the pilot episode, the death rate during the main crab seasons averages out to nearly one fisherman per week, while the injury rate for crews on most crab boats is nearly 100% due to the severe weather conditions (frigid gales, rogue waves, ice formations on and around the boat) and the danger of working with such heavy machinery on a constantly rolling boat deck. Alaskan king crab fishing reported over 300 fatalities per 100,000 as of 2005, with over 80% of those deaths caused by drowning or hypothermia.
Rationalization: derby vs. quota
The series' first season was shot during the final year of the derby style king crab fishery. The subsequent seasons have been set after a change to the quota system as part of a process known as "rationalization". Under the old derby style, a large number of crews competed with each other to catch crab during a restrictive time window. Under the new Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) system, established owners, such as those shown on the series, have been given quotas that they can fill at a more relaxed pace. In theory, it is intended to be safer, which was the main rationale for the change in the fishing rules. The transition to the quota system was also expected to increase the value of crab by limiting the market of available crab. An influx of foreign crab negated some of these gains during the 2006 season. The rationalization process put many crews out of work because the owners of many small boats found their assigned quotas too small to meet operating expenses. During the first season run under the IFQ system, the fleet shrank from over 250 boats to about 89 larger boats with high quotas.
Society of Fishermen
One of the series' main features is the portrayal of the harsh life at sea, including the behavior and mannerisms of the fishermen who are engaged in a hazardous lifestyle with little tolerance for low performance or ineptitude. Several of the series' shows have featured "greenhorn" fishermen who are usually the brunt of harsh criticism and sometimes bullying by veteran deckhands. In one case, a new fisherman entered a ship's bridge to berate his captain for what he saw as unfair comments (the fisherman was fired as soon as the ship returned to port). Another filmed incident was a fight on board the fishing vessel Wizard in which a greenhorn sailor sucker punched a veteran fisherman who had been engaged in harassment and bullying. Again, the greenhorn was fired as soon as the ship hit port, leading to mixed reactions by fans of the show.
The Behind the Scenes special provided insight on how the program is produced. A two-person TV crew lives on each boat profiled. They use handheld Sony HVR-Z5U and HVR-Z7U HDV cameras to shoot most of the series (one on the main deck, one in the wheelhouse). Additional footage is provided by four stationary cameras that are permanently mounted around the ship and are constantly recording. Shots from vantage points outside the boat are accomplished through a variety of methods, including the use of a helicopter for footage near the harbor and a cameraman on a chase boat (in season 1, the main chase boat was the Time Bandit). The crew also makes use of underwater cameras, including one attached to a crab pot for a "crab's eye view" of the pot being retrieved in season 2, one mounted in the main crab tank on the Northwestern beginning in season 2, and one mounted to a submersible watercraft beginning in season 3. The Season 9 "Behind the Lens" special shows two more filming methods: divers near the boats (and on the bottom of Dutch Harbor for the king crab fleet departure), and a helicopter with a belly-mounted turret camera (same as that used to film scenes in Skyfall).
Because of a lack of space on the boats, the crews do not have an audio mixer. Audio is recorded using wireless microphones worn by the fishermen and shotgun microphones attached to the cameras. In audio post-production, the sound team attempts to use actual sounds that were recorded on the boats.
Although the equipment is carefully waterproofed, the cameras are routinely damaged by corrosion, ice and accidents.
Captain Sig Hansen of the F/V Northwestern, serves as a technical advisor to the series' producers.
Shooting episodes of Deadliest Catch is a dangerous occupation for the camera crews on board the boats. In the early seasons, when many of the camera crews had little or no experience on crab boats, they frequently ran into dangers not normally encountered when shooting a documentary. Northwestern captain Sig Hansen told talk show host Jimmy Kimmel that he saved a cameraman's life during the first season, screaming at him to get out of the way just seconds before a 900-pound crab pot swinging from a crane crossed the space where the cameraman was standing. In another incident, showcased on the behind the scenes special, an inattentive cameraman had his leg fall through an open hatch on the deck of one of the boats when he unwittingly stepped into the hole, suffering three broken ribs (and, according to the cameraman, having to buy a case of beer for the entire crew as per tradition on crab boats).
Personal and sensitive situations
Interactions between the film crew and the fishermen appear in the show occasionally. During an episode of season 4, Wizard captain Keith Colburn demanded that cameras be turned off when he got into a heated argument with his brother Monte. The cameras were turned off, but the Colburn's neglected to remove their wireless mics, and the subsequent exchange was recorded and featured in the episode. Also, in season 4, Cornelia Marie Captain Phil Harris asked the cameraman filming him not to tell anyone else about his injuries, for fear it would stall his fishing. Later on, crew member and later acting captain Murray Gamrath, concerned for Phil's well-being, asked a cameraman to keep an eye on him and to report any problem. During season 5, the camera crew on the Northwestern were requested not to film crew member Jake Anderson being informed of his sister's death, which the camera crew honored.
On September 28, 2010, it was reported that three of the principal captains featured throughout the series' run, the brothers Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand and Sig Hansen, would not return to the show due to litigation initiated by Discovery Communications involving the Hillstrands. On October 8, 2010, it was announced that the three captains had reached an agreement with Discovery and would return for the seventh season.
The death of Captain Phil Harris
On January 29, 2010, as Original Productions' crews shot footage for season 6 of the Cornelia Marie offloading C. opilio crab at St. Paul Island, Captain Phil Harris, who had earlier complained of being excessively tired, went to his stateroom to retrieve pain medicines and collapsed after suffering a stroke. Second-year Engineer Steve Ward discovered him on the floor of his stateroom, conscious but unable to move his left leg or his left hand. Ward immediately got Phil's sons, Josh and Jake, to come to his stateroom while he called for paramedics. According to Thom Beers, producer and creator of Deadliest Catch, Harris insisted that the camera crews continue to film him. "We want to remember Phil as who he was," Beers told Zap2it.com writer Kate O'Hare. "We want to remember all the dynamics, but at the same time, the guy was persistent when we were doing this, saying, 'Dude, you've got to. We've got to have an end to the story [about the strength and resiliency of familial bonds, especially the father/son bond]. You want to film this, film this.'" Beers said he honored Harris' wishes and continued to shoot as Harris was airlifted to Anchorage, Alaska, where doctors performed emergency brain surgery to relieve the pressure building up in the cranial vault and avoid further brain damage. Harris spent eleven days in ICU before succumbing to complications from his stroke on February 9, 2010.
Current fishing vessels
|F/V Cornelia Marie||Phil Harris1||2, 3, 4 (King Crab, Start of Opilio), 5 (Opilio), 6 (King Crab, Start of Opilio)|
|Murray Gamrath||4 (End of Opilio), 5 (King Crab)|
|Derrick Ray||6 (End of Opilio), 7 (King Crab)|
|Tony Lara2||7 (Opilio)|
|Josh Harris and Casey McManus||10 (Opilio), 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17 (Opilio)|
|Casey McManus||17 (King Crab, Bairdi)|
|F/V Northwestern||Sig Hansen||Pilot, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 (King Crab)|
|Edgar Hansen3||9, 10, 12, 13, 14|
|Sig and Mandy Hansen||12 (Middle of Opilio), 14 (Opilio), 15, 16, 17|
|F/V Saga||Roger Strong||Pilot, 1 (King Crab)|
|Elliott Neese||9, 10, 11 (King Crab)|
|Jake Anderson||11 (Opilio), 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 (Opilio), 17|
|Jake Anderson and Johnathan Hillstrand||16 (King Crab)|
|F/V Southern Wind||Steve "Harley" Davidson||15, 16, 17 (Bairdi, Opilio)|
|F/V Summer Bay||"Wild" Bill Wichrowski||13, 14, 15, 16, 17|
|F/V Time Bandit||Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand4||2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13|
|Johnathan Hillstrand and Josh Harris||17 (King Crab, Bairdi)|
|Johnathan Hillstrand||17 (Opilio)|
|F/V Wizard||Keith Colburn||3 (King Crab, Start of Opilio), 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17|
|Monte Colburn5||3 (Opilio), 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17|
^1 Harris was forced to leave during the C. opilio season in season 4 due to what turned out to be a pulmonary embolism and his medical issues prevented him from going out during the king crab portion of season 5. Murray Gamrath relieved him as captain in both seasons. A camera crew stayed with Harris both when he was hospitalized in season 4 and after his forced departure at the start of season 5. He continued to make occasional appearances during season 5. Harris suffered a massive stroke on January 29, 2010, during the filming of the C. opilio season for season 6 and died on February 9, 2010, from complications. Derrick Ray took over as captain for the remainder of the season.
^2 Tony Lara, the fourth captain of Cornelia Marie, died on August 8, 2015 in Sturgis, South Dakota, victim of Cardiac arrest while participating in the famed Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, hosted annually in Stugis.
^3 Edgar occasionally takes over as captain for blue king crab or bairdi seasons, and sporadically during the middle of an opilio season.
^4 Johnathan usually serves as captain for king crab season while Andy takes over as captain during opilio season.
^5 Monte occasionally takes over as captain for bairdi and opilio seasons.
Former fishing vessels
|F/V Aleutian Ballad||Jerry "Corky" Tilley||2, 3|
|F/V Arctic Dawn||Ole Helgevold||Pilot|
|F/V Billikin||Jeff Weeks||1 (Opilio)|
|F/V Brenna A||Sean Dwyer||12, 13, 14, 15|
|F/V Cape Caution||"Wild" Bill Wichrowski||9, 10, 11, 12|
|F/V Early Dawn||Allen Oakley||3|
|F/V Erla N||Bing Henkel||Pilot|
|F/V Farwest Leader||Greg Moncrief||3|
|F/V Fierce Allegiance||Tony LaRussa1||1 (King Crab)|
|F/V Incentive||Harry Lewis||5 (Opilio)|
|F/V Kiska Sea||Mike Wilson||9 (Opilio)|
|F/V Kodiak||"Wild" Bill Wichrowski||6, 7, 8|
|F/V Lady Alaska||Peter Liske||1 (Opilio)|
|Scott Campbell Jr.||16 (Opilio), 17 (King Crab)|
|F/V Lisa Marie||Wade Henley||5 (King Crab)|
|F/V Lucky Lady||Vince Shavender||1 (King Crab)|
|F/V Maverick||Rick Quashnick||1 (Opilio), 2, 3 (Opilio)|
|Blake Painter2||3 (King Crab)|
|F/V North American||Sten Skaar||4|
|F/V Ramblin' Rose||Elliott Neese||7, 8|
|F/V Retriever||Jim Stone||1 (Opilio)|
|F/V Rollo||Eric Nyhammer||2|
|F/V Seabrooke||Scott Campbell Jr.||7, 8, 9, 10 (Start of King Crab, Opilio), 16 (King Crab)|
|Brad Petefish||10 (King Crab)|
|F/V Sea Star||Larry Hendricks||Pilot, 1 (King Crab)|
|F/V Western Viking||Coleman Anderson||1 (King Crab)|
Fishing vessels with no embedded film crew
|Alaska Mist||At the end of 2013 King Crab season, this 166-foot factory trawler suffered a mechanical failure that the crew was unable to repair at sea that left it drifting 172 miles northeast of Dutch Harbor, near Amak Island on November 11, 2013. USCG dispatched the cutter Waesche and helicopter 6005 for rescue of the ship and its 22 crew members. With two trips, the helicopter successfully rescued 11 non-essential crew members (as shown in "Lost at Sea"), while Waesche towed the vessel and the remaining 11 essential crew members to safety. Waesche lost PO3 Travis Obendorf on December 18, 2013 to a fatal head injury suffered in the rescue attempt.||10|
|Alaska Ranger||Took on water in her rudder room and stern and sank on March 23, 2008. The 47 people on board were forced into the water; all but five were rescued.||4|
|Alaskan Leader||Called Coast Guard when crewmember suffered heart attack. A nighttime rescue attempt by a Coast Guard helicopter had to be aborted. A second rescue attempt the next day was successful. The deckhand, Chad Smith, 40, was medivaced to Anchorage via Saint Paul, and ultimately survived.||6|
|Alaskan Monarch||Ran aground at St. Paul Island due to ice in 1990. All of the crew were saved, but the boat was destroyed.||2, 3|
|Aleutian Beauty||Crab-fishing vessel that rescued the crew of the Western Venture. Crew-recorded cell phone video showed the fire damage to the Western Venture in greater detail: only the port-side structure was still intact.||10|
|Amatuli||Chase boat, shown in behind the scenes/lens specials.||7 (sp), 9 (sp)|
|American Star||Caught fire and ran aground in January 2000; all five crewmen plus one dog were rescued.||1|
|Arctic Fjord||Requested Coast Guard Medivac for injured crewman. U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter attempted a hoist during a storm but then aborted due to the dangerous conditions. It was later determined that the crewman was not as seriously injured as originally thought, and he was taken to Dutch Harbor on board the boat.||14|
|Arctic Hunter||93-foot crab-fishing vessel that ran aground and took on water about two miles outside of Dutch Harbor. The six-man crew abandoned ship into their life raft, and they were rescued by Captain Elliott Neese and the Saga, the closest rescue-capable ship. The rescue was complicated due to the shallow bottom, which the Saga hit with no apparent damage, and two attempts to tie the rescue line to the life raft. The successful tie-off was accomplished by Elliott's father, Mike Neese.||10|
|Beauty Bay||Fisherman medivaced by Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk after suffering hand injury from fish grinder.||9|
|Big Valley1||Sank at the start of the 2005 C. opilio season; five of six crew died. Coast Guard investigation later determined that the boat was severely overloaded, carrying 30% more pots than normal, causing her to capsize during a storm the morning of January 15, 2005.||1|
|Blue Gadus||Fishing vessel that required a crewman medivac by a USCG helicopter because of a pulmonary embolism; the basket rescue was complicated by 30-foot seas and 100-knot winds.||10|
|Bountiful||Crab catcher/processor that required a crewman medivac by a USCG MH-68 Jayhawk helicopter due to severe burns after falling into boiling water.||16|
|Carly Renee||Cod fishing vessel, capsized and partially sank 22 miles from Dutch Harbor at start of 2009 King Crab season; four-man crew abandoned ship and rescued by a "good samaritan vessel", The Guardian. The Carly Renee eventually ran aground on a nearby island and was left for junk.||6|
|Destination||Crab fishing vessel, sank due to unknown reasons at beginning of 2017 opilio season. All six crew presumed dead. The season 13 episode "Lost at Sea" was filmed at the time of the incident and is when the Deadliest Catch crews heard the news, first aired on August 22, 2017. Initially all that was found were a few buoys and oil slick indicative of a vessel sinking. The more comprehensive search, completed later that summer, found the vessel in approximately 250 feet of water. Discovery and the cast and crew gave their condolences to the families of the lost crew. This disaster was profiled in a January 24, 2021 episode of Disasters at Sea on the Smithsonian Channel titled Destination Unkonwn. Johnathan Hillstrand on the Time Bandit was seen in that episode.||13|
|F/V Foremost||Sverre Hansen's predecessor to the F/V Northwestern. This Alaskan crab fishing vessel sank on 4 May 1977 approximately 75 miles east southeast of Saint George Island toward Cape Sarichef due to a slack tank causing it to capsize. The four-man crew survived, and Sverre commissioned the building of Northwestern to address the stability problems Foremost had with their water tanks. Foremost was first briefly alluded to in the Season 8 episode "Release the Beast" (and later in After the Catch VI, episode 5), when Edgar discovered a water-level alarm malfunction caused a slack tank on the Northwestern, and he and Sig recalled that is what sank their father's previous boat. Edgar caught the problem in time, repaired the alarm and pumped the excess water from the tank, before a deck full of stacked pots and hold full of crab could cause it to capsize en route to the processor.||8, 10 (sp)|
|Galaxy||Caught fire at sea during 2002 king crab season. All 23 crew members were rescued by Coast Guard; three men later died from injuries sustained during the fire.||1|
|The Guardian||Rescued four-man crew of the Carly Renee after they abandoned ship.||6|
|Handler||Provided a spare hydraulic motor to the Lady Alaska in an at-sea transfer after three of the Lady Alaska's motors burned out.||16|
|Icy Mist||Took on water and grounded on western shore of Akutan Island; four-man crew evacuated to shore and rescued by Coast Guard.||5|
|Jennifer A||Partner boat of Time Bandit. Pranked by Time Bandit with a flour pot during the Season 3 wrap-up.||3|
|Katmai||A head and gut fishing vessel capsized and sank in the Aleutian Islands early in the morning on Wednesday, October 22, 2008. Only four of the 11 crew members were saved; two were never found. One of the survivors, the vessel's captain, appears on After the Catch 3.||5|
|Kodiak||Assisted the Saga by giving them one of their spare hydraulic lines when one of the Saga's lines in the block breaks and they are unable to find their spare.||14|
|Master Carl||Sank in April 1976 returning home from tanner crab season. All four crew members abandoned ship and made it into the life raft, but only two were found alive.||1|
|Nuka Island||Hit by large rogue wave north of St. Paul Island, temporarily disabled.||5|
|Ocean Challenger||Four-man crew abandoned ship as boat capsized and took on water in October 2006. One survivor; two bodies found; one body lost. Debris field, EPIRB, and an empty life raft found along with an empty survival suit indicated vessel ultimately sank. Rescue efforts were featured in the Season 3 episodes "A Tragic Beginning" and "The Unforgiving Sea".||3|
|Paragon||Shadowed the Wizard and was accused of tampering with the Wizard's pots. The vessel is shown on screen but its markings are digitally obscured. The vessel was later identified as the F/V Paragon of Seattle, WA.||4|
|Perseverance||Deadliest Catch Chase Boat, rendered aid to the Lady Alaska after a flooding forward void jeopardized the vessel's stability in the season 16 episode "Chase Boat Rescue", collided with the Wizard in the season 17 episode "Russian Dragger"||16, 17|
|Prowler||Injured crewman medivaced by USCGC Munro.||10|
|Raven||Capsized. All crew rescued by Coast Guard. Later towed to Dutch Harbor and repaired.||pilot|
|Roaming McGee||Built in the early 1980s, this craft was seen briefly at the docks in the Season 3 episode "The Hammer and Ice".||3|
|Rosie G||Sank in 1997. Six-man crew escaped in a life raft and were rescued by the Coast Guard.||1|
|Sea Rover||Assisted in the search for Big Valley.||1|
|Sandra Five||Jake Anderson was transferred to Sandra Five from the F/V Northwestern to go to Saint Paul Island so that he could fly home to his family after his sister died.||5|
|Scandies Rose||130-foot crab fishing vessel that sank near Sutwick Island on 31 December 2019 while en route to Dutch Harbor from Kodiak, killing five of the seven crew members on board.||16|
|Shaman||Man fell overboard while on the pot stack in 2004 and drowned.||pilot|
|Silver Spray||First vessel to arrive at the accident site following the sinking of the Destination, recovered the Destination's EPIRB.||13|
|St. Patrick||Took a 90-degree list and took on water in engine compartment in December 1981. Eleven-man crew tied themselves together and leapt into the sea when the life boat was lost. Only two men survived. It was later discovered that the boat had righted herself after the crew abandoned ship; the vessel was found adrift by the Coast Guard and towed into port still afloat before she finally sank while moored in port.||1|
|Starbound||300 foot trawler, nearly collided with the Wizard while it was leaving port||15|
|Stormbird||Briefly seen in a shot in St. Paul harbor in the season 15 episode "Unbreakable".||15|
|Sultan||Man fell overboard and drowned, becoming the sixth fatality within the first 24 hours of the 2005 opilio season.||1|
|Trailblazer6||Man fell overboard while tying pot stacks in October 2006; rescued by Time Bandit.||3|
|Valiant||Crab Boat that encroached upon the Cornelia Marie's course while emergency repairs to the Cornelia's port main engine were underway||16|
|Western Venture||Western Venture, as Sig Hansen said, was a 59-foot fishing vessel he thought he knew. It was destroyed by an engine fire 60 nautical miles west of Adak early in the shortened 2013 king crab season. The five-man crew abandoned ship and activated its EPIRB. Coast Guard helicopter 6005 and a C-130 Hercules were dispatched for search-and-rescue. The C-130 arrived at the vessel's last known position a half-hour before the helicopter, recorded video of the vessel on fire, and saw that all five crew were in their life raft. Crab-fishing vessel Aleutian Beauty was the closest craft to the scene, and successfully rescued the Western Venture crew from their life raft.||10|
^1 During the shooting of the first season of Deadliest Catch, the F/V Big Valley sank on January 15, 2005, sometime after 0734 Alaska Standard Time when the Coast Guard first detected her EPIRB signal. Five members of the six-man crew perished; three were never found. Cache Seel was the only survivor. Discovery Channel camera crews on the [[FV Maverick|F/V Maverick] and Cornelia Marie captured the first footage of the debris field, confirming that the boat had capsized and gone down. The search for the ship is featured in the episode "Dead of Winter."
(U.S. Coast Guard cutter)
|Assisted in the search and rescue efforts when the Katmai sank.||5|
(U.S. Coast Guard cutter)
|Conducted an at-sea boarding of the F/V Northwestern. Misidentified as " Bertoff" in the caption of radio transmission.||9|
(Pure Car Carrier)
|Rolled over during ballast exchange operations of the Aleutian Islands and was towed into Dutch Harbor in the first episode of Season 3||3|
|Crewmember critically injured with a broken neck and smashed leg, medivaced by Coast Guard rescue helicopter.||7|
|Offloaded the opilio from the Time Bandit, anchored at St. Paul in the middle of a dangerous ice pack.||3|
|Crewmember medivaced by the United States Coast Guard rescue helicopter.||4|
(U.S. Coast Guard cutter)
|Conducted an at-sea boarding of the Rollo.||2|
(U.S. Coast Guard cutter)
|Assisted in search and rescue efforts when the Ocean Challenger sank. In the Season 10 finale, Munro participated in the medical evacuation of an injured crewmember off the Prowler. Munro used Wizard Captain Keith Colburn to demonstrate other rescue techniques in The Bait 2 season finale.||3, 10;|
The Bait 2.
|Crewmember medivaced by the United States Coast Guard rescue helicopter.||10|
|MV Overseas Joyce
(U.S.-flag Pure Car Carrier)
|Witnessed sinking of Ocean Challenger, unable to render aid.||3|
|Suffered an engine room fire at the start of the opilio season, forcing the crab boat crews to suspend fishing or look for bairdi crab. Towed back to Dutch Harbor and repaired.||3|
(Alaska Marine Enforcement Section Patrol Vessel)
|Assisted in search and rescue efforts when the Big Valley sank and recovered a crew member's body.||1|
(U.S. Coast Guard cutter)
|Conducted an at-sea boarding of the Time Bandit for spot inspection of safety gear at the start of 2013 King Crab season; identified on radio transmissions only as "Cutter 751". At the end of the 2013 King Crab season, they also assisted in the rescue of the Alaska Mist crew and were more prominently identified in footage and radio transmissions.||10|
|Processor for the Cornelia Marie, anchored at Dutch Harbor for king crab offload.||2, 4 & 5|
^1 Instead of footage of USCGC Acushnet (WMEC-167) being shown, footage of USCGC Alex Haley (WMEC-39) was shown.
Deadliest Catch draws consistently high ratings for Discovery Channel; season 3 attracted more than 49 million viewers throughout the season and over 3 million viewers per first-run episode, making it one of 2007's most successful programs on cable TV.
Overall ratings for season 6 exceeded season 5's by more than 10%; as a result, Deadliest Catch regularly wins its U.S. primetime telecast timeslot (Tuesdays, 9:00-10:00 p.m. EST). Ratings for the season opener "Slow Burn" drew a record 4.6 million viewers; on June 22, 2010, "Blown Off Course", the first of five episodes that dealt with Phil Harris's stroke and its impact, drew 5.2 million viewers, more than 10% over "Slow Burn". On July 13, 2010, the episode "Redemption Day", which dealt with the death of Harris at its close, set another record audience for the show with 8.5 million viewers, making the episode the third-most-viewed broadcast in Discovery Channel's history. In 2016, The New York Times study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that Deadliest Catch was "most popular in areas that are rural, cold and close to the sea, particularly Alaska and Maine".
In 2011, Matt Zoller Seitz of Salon.com praised Deadliest Catch as a reality program that is "really a documentary series about the toll taken by relentless physical labor", and stated that other series trying to emulate it such as Ice Road Truckers and Swamp People "tend to miss the atmosphere and deep attention to psychology that make this series so special."
The show was created as a regular series after two well-received pilots about Alaskan crabbing were produced by Thom Beers for the Discovery Channel.
The first pilot was a one-hour documentary entitled Deadliest Job in the World, which appeared in 1999. The show, which started with the sinking of the Rosie G (5 on board, all rescued alive), followed the Fierce Allegiance through the 1999 opilio crab season.
The second pilot was a three-part miniseries entitled America's Deadliest Season, which premiered on July 18, 2004, and covered the 2003–04 king and opilio crab seasons. The miniseries followed the vessels F/V Northwestern, Erla-N and Sea Star during king crab, and Erla-N, Saga and Arctic Dawn during opilio crab. The series also features several crises, including the half-capsized Raven (5 on board, all rescued alive), man-overboard calls from Shaman (recovered dead) and Saga (greenhorn Kevin Davis, rescued alive), and the constant threat of cold water and freezing spray.
Beers did the voice-over narration for both series. Discovery picked up the show and ordered an 8-episode season to premiere in 2005. Beers turned the narration duties over to fellow Discovery Channel voice artist Mike Rowe, allowing Beers to continue working on new show development through his production company, Original Productions.
After the Catch
After the Catch is a roundtable, documentary-style television mini-series that follows the captains from Deadliest Catch when they're not fishing. The captains and crew members swap stories about the experiences and sights while fishing the Bering Sea. The spin-off series is produced in partnership with Original Productions and Silent Crow Arts. The first season aired in 2007, filmed at the Lockspot Cafe, a bar in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, hosted by Deadliest Catch narrator Mike Rowe. After the Catch II aired in 2008, filmed at Pratty's Bar in Gloucester, Massachusetts and hosted by Rowe. The third season, titled After the Catch III, aired in 2009 and was filmed at RTs Longboard Bar and Grill in San Diego with Cash Cab's Ben Bailey hosting. After the Catch IV aired in 2010 and was filmed at the Blue Nile bar in New Orleans, with Rowe returning as host.
The After the Catch miniseries was one of Discovery Channel's highest-rated miniseries in 2007 and spawned several new after-the-series type follow-up documentaries such as Everest: After the Climb, the 2007 follow-up to Everest: Beyond the Limit.
After the Catch VI was the last season of the post-fishing mini-series. Responding in part to a challenge-in-jest made late in the season by Mike Rowe to the captains to host a show of their own, the format for Season 9 was changed to run throughout the season's air dates. (See The Bait below.)
The Bait is a "pregame show" roundtable documentary-style television mini-series that previews select episodes of Deadliest Catch since season 9, filmed in Dutch Harbor, and hosted by Sig Hansen, Johnathan, and Andy Hillstrand, and Keith Colburn, with narration by Deadliest Catch narrator Mike Rowe. The captains swap stories about the off-season and hints on what the viewers can expect in that night's episode, with previews of the upcoming season in the king crab and opilio crab kickoffs. Regular features include "The Hot Seat" (interview focused on one Captain or deckhand) and questions from celebrity fans of the show. The spin-off series is produced in partnership with Original Productions and Silent Crow Arts. The first episode, "Opening Day: King Crab," aired on April 16, 2013.
On Deck is an expanded episode of Deadliest Catch featuring previously unaired footage, production notes, facts, and on occasion, social media comments. On Deck debuted April 23, 2013, and paralleled Season 9.
Decked is a rebroadcast episode of Deadliest Catch featuring webcam CatchChat with one or more Captains between episode segments.
MythBusters Crabtastic Special
A 2013 episode of MythBusters featured Johnathan Hillstrand and Scott Campbell Jr. traveling to M5 Industries in San Francisco to help bust three myths related to crab fishing: that someone can get caught in a pot's rope as it is dumped and be dragged to the bottom (plausible), that 20-minute naps every 6 hours can double effectiveness over a 30-hour shift (confirmed) and that crab pots are impervious to explosives (busted).
How It's Made Deadliest Catch Edition
The Discovery/Science documentary program How It's Made showed the production of oceanographic buoys, sushi, rubber boots, and industrial wire ropes in this episode featuring items used in or connected with crab fishing. None of the captains, crew members or vessels appeared in the program.
In April 2008, Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand, co-captains of the Time Bandit, with Malcolm MacPherson, released a book titled Time Bandit: Two Brothers, the Bering Sea, and One of the World's Deadliest Jobs (ISBN 978-0345503725) on their experiences as crab fishermen.
Also, in April 2008, Discovery Channel released the book Deadliest Catch: Desperate Hours (ISBN 978-0696239427). Edited by Larry Erikson, the book contains true stories of life and death at sea, as related by the captains and deckhands featured on the series.
In December 2009, Travis Arket, deckhand of the North American, released a book titled Deadliest Waters: Bering Sea Photography (ISBN 978-1935359210). This book is the first photography collection to be published about Bering Sea crab fishing and includes many people from Deadliest Catch.
In March 2010, Sig Hansen, captain of the F/V Northwestern, released the book North by Northwestern: A Seafaring Family on Deadly Alaskan Waters (ISBN 978-0312591144), co-written with the author Mark Sundeen. The book details the Hansen family's history and that of Norwegian Americans in the fishing industry of the Pacific Northwest.
In April 2013, Josh and Jake Harris released the book Captain Phil Harris: The Legendary Crab Fisherman, Our Hero, Our Dad (ISBN 978-1451666045), co-written with best-selling author Steve Springer and Blake Chavez. The book details the hard and fast life, and death of the hard-working Cornelia Marie crab fisherman, who was described as always openhearted and infectiously friendly, a devoted friend, a loving father, a steadfast captain, and a hero to audiences across America and around the world.
In February 2008, Sig Hansen and Liquid Dragon Studios announced the upcoming release of a video game for Xbox 360 and PC inspired by the Deadliest Catch series entitled Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm. Liquid Dragon designers spent time with the Hansens on the F/V Northwestern in the safety of Dutch Harbor and out on the Bering Sea to give them a sense of the real conditions that needed to be duplicated in the game. The game itself features the F/V Northwestern, Cornelia Marie, and Sea Star as crab boats that can be chosen by the player, along with the Bering Star and the Shellfish. On June 17, 2008, the game was released in stores around North America.
Deadliest Catch: Bloodline
On March 23, 2020, it was announced that a spinoff titled Deadliest Catch: Bloodlinepremiered on April 14, 2020. The series focuses on Josh Harris and Casey McManus exploring the notes Phil Harris left behind on a fishing chart of the Hawaiian Islands and learning to catch Ahi tuna.
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