Crab Fishing: Not Your Average Workforce
It only took one season of The Deadliest Catch for the average American to understand just how dangerous and stressful the crab fishing industry is. Ten seasons later, we still can’t look away. Crab fishing isn’t just a job, it’s a community of courageous men who continue their work despite the knowledge that some of them will never return home.
A typical crab boat will have a captain, an engineer, a few deckhands and a greenhorn, or rookie. Crabbing vessels aren’t very long, typically under 250 ft. The deck is packed with steel crab pots, making work space cramped in addition to wet, constantly rolling, and freezing.
Crab boat crews spend 3-4 months at a time braving 70 foot waves and cold temperature of the Bering Sea. Their shifts may last as long as 20 hours before any one of them has a chance at even a short nap. The captain relies on intuition to find the best fishing spots, and may go as many as 36 sleepless hours before handing over the helm.
For deckhands, manning the hydraulics requires unparalleled focus. The slightest mistake can be painful, if not deadly. For instance, a cameraman filming for the popular TV show fell through the boat’s crab hatch and broke three ribs. A greenhorn could have easily made the same mistake. On a crab boat, you have to be alert at all times.