The Deadliest Catch is by far the best reality program on TV today.
Not long after the reality TV craze hit the USA, America had a new love interest on her hands: Crabs. The reality TV series Deadliest Catch premiered in April 2005 and continues to be a staple of primetime entertainment for thousands of family households to this day. And not just in the USA. The show is seen worldwide reaching some 200 countries.
The show is set in Dutch Harbor, Alaska and features several crab boats in fierce, and even deadly, competition with each other. Dutch Harbor sits near the continental shelf and is considered by many to have one of the richest ecosystems for marine fish and crabs in the world. As a full service harbor and port, it has all of the facilities to meet the needs of all varieties of fishing vessels. As of the 2012 census, Dutch Harbor, Alaska had 4,344 residents. Of course, as the fishing seasons change, so does the population due to the influx of fishermen.
The original show of The Deadliest Catch featured 6 boats.
One of those boats, the Northwestern, with Captain Sig Hansen at the helm, is still being used today on the Catch. As the pilot show was picked up by the Discovery Channel, the first regular season unveiled the boats challenging each other for the prize of the most Opilio crabs (snow crabs in many restaurants) and King crabs although not all of the boats participated in both competitions.
The Northwestern and the Time Bandit are the two featured and most experienced vessels on the show. The Northwestern has been on each season since the show’s inception and the Time Bandit has been on since Season 2.
Deadliest Catch is narrated by Mike Rowe, best known for his TV series “Dirtiest Jobs” and the show features some of the most dangerous and captivating camerawork in the industry.
A small film crew is stationed on each of the participating boats to capture the events of the day. Each crew member of the boat is equipped with a wireless microphone. There are very little canned sound effects and computer generated video. What you see and hear is real. And intense. Just how intense? In season one of the Deadliest Catch, the Big Valley, Captained by Gary Edwards, issued a distress call that they were taking on water.
The Cornelia Marie and The Maverick were involved in the search and rescue. Of the 6 crewmembers on board, 5 perished that day.
In season 5, Captain Phil Harris suffered a stroke during and died of complications later during season 6. There have been numerous injuries and near disasters recorded during what many call the most dangerous job on earth.
Back in 1979 I remember my mom coming into my room and telling me that her best friends son had died. While fishing the bering sea for crab, he was tossed overboard and was never seen from again. I think about him every time I watch the series knowing just how dangerous this job can be.
The main star of the Deadliest Catch is the F/V The Northwestern.
She was built back in 1977 and was originally only 108 feet long. As she experienced more success, more crab pots were needed on board so she was extended…twice. She now stands at 125 feet long and can hold the maximum allowable amount of 250 crab pots. Sig Hansen is the Captain on the Northwestern. He took over the helm at the ripe old age of 26 becoming one of the youngest captains to take command of a fishing vessel. His father was the one that bought the Northwestern, however he passed away from a heart attack and that is when Sig took the helm. Today Sig holds positions open on the boat for his children to continue the tradition. His brother, Edgar, who has been the deck boss for 20+ years started his training as captain in one of last seasons episodes.
Sig boasts that his greatest accomplishment isn’t that he catches the most crabs, but that he has never had a major accident on board his vessel.
The other big co-star of the Deadlieast Catch is the fishing vessel Time Bandit.
Captained by the Hillstrand brothers the Time Bandit was originally the chase boat for the film crew of the deadliest catch in season 1. The Time Bandit was custom built in 1991 by the Hillstrand family themselves and is 113 feet long. A
Brothers Andy and Johnathan share time at the helm depending on the season and species of crab they are after. Jonathan will captain for King Crab and Andy usually captains for Opilio Crab. Along with Andy and Jonathan is their brother Neil who you see working throughout the seasons.
The Hillstrand brothers have a number of commercial ventures while not on the Bering Sea: such as a fireworks company, a Spirits company, an entertainment company, and a store to buy Time Bandit gear.
The Deadliest Catch is now in its 10th season and is stronger than ever.
In spite of changing regulations in the fishing industry in Alaska, the crab boats continue to prosper. The Catch continues to bring new vessels and new greenhorns, rookie crew members, on board the boats.
The other boats that you will see on the show are the Wizard, Cornelia Marie, Seabrooke, Cape Caution and The Saga
There is a reason why Deadliest Catch has survived on TV for so many years. You owe it to yourself to find out why.