As the Discovery Channel’s new hit series Deadliest Catch continued to grow, so did the number of regular boats added to the lineup. The Wizard made its debut in the third season of the series and continues to be a fan favorite to this day. Captain Keith is considered one of the toughest captains on the Bering Sea but has an impeccable reputation as a successful fishing enterprise.
Built in 1945 by the US Navy during WWII and given the name YO-210, the Wizard was originally commissioned as a yard oiler whose responsibility was to supply other ships with fuel, oil, dry goods, mail, or whatever else was needed. She originally had a total of 8 storage holds.
After being decommissioned, the boat sat in Boston Harbor until purchased by a private individual to haul molasses in 1974. Finally, in 1978 it was repurposed for the crab industry in Mobile, Alabama and began its long journey to Alaska. She is one of the few remaining yard oil ships left as most others were used as target practice by the Navy or sunk to provide artificial reef marine life.
The Wizard is 155 feet long and can hold the maximum limit of 250 crab pots.
She has four crab holds that can carry a combined 400,000 pounds of crab. She has two large storage holds for gear. Her size gives her an advantage with more pots and a larger hold than many of the other fishing vessels.
The interior of the Wizard contains three staterooms, a kitchen and social area. Given its age, the interior of this boat is one of the least inviting. The wheelhouse contains the vital communications, radar, and fishing instrumentation required to handle the dangerous challenges of fishing on the Bering Sea.
In season 5, the Wizard was blindsided by a rogue wave that was captured by the Deadliest Catch camera crew.
Three of the Wizard’s deck hands were badly injured as they were out on the crab pots at the time of impact. The intensity of the moment, the reality of the injuries, and the judgment calls that had to be made for the safety of the injured crew riveted viewers to the TV sets. This was a defining moment to the audience of the Deadliest Catch and realization that this is truly the most dangerous job in the world.
The Wizard is captained by Keith Colburn of South Lake Tahoe, California.
Captain Keith became a full-fledged deckhand in 1988 learning the ropes under previous owner John Jorgensen. Keith and his wife, Florence, purchased the Wizard in 2005. It has steadily maintained a top 10 ranking in Opilio crab fishing and top five in King crab fishing among a fleet of over 250 competitors. In addition to Captain Keith, there are 7 other crewmembers on board who tally for more than 80 years combined experience in the fishing and crab industries.
The Wizard is one of the oldest boats of the Bering Sea fishing fleet.
Combined with one of the most experienced captains and crew, the Wizard is a complete fishing machine. Keep up with the Wizard and her crew on the Deadliest Catch and see if she can continue her dominance during the brutal fishing season.