The world of reality TV is jam-packed with a variety of intriguing and remarkable series. However, the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” is breathtaking. The program has been running on the Discovery Channel for more than 15 years, having debuted in 2005.
The show’s thrilling nature and inherent danger are what genuinely attract audiences. “Deadliest Catch” is a documentary series about Alaskan crab fishermen. While some cast members have drawn attention due to outside controversy, there can be no denying that the show’s unblinking depiction of the hazardous trip out to the Bering Sea makes for compelling television.
Deadliest Catch: Most Dangerous Jobs
Dungeness crab fishing is not for the faint-hearted, with crabs that can weigh up to 3 pounds and have ten legs and Claws that can shatter a finger. Add to that the relentless weather and potentially volatile relationships on board the boats, and things may get dangerous and deadly at times.
Gary “the Ripper” Ripka and his son Kenny, who run two commercial fishing boats in Newport, Oregon, the Dungeness Crab Capital of the World, know how difficult it is to stay ahead. For a few months each year, this father-son duo and their crews work around the clock turning hundreds of pots weighing up to 200 pounds.
In the first season of Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch: Dungeon Cove,” four crew members died. “We’ve had a lot of friends die throughout the years, and it’s quite common for us to lose 1 or 2 or more workers per crab season,” Kenny Ripka said. “That’s just the way things are.”
Is the reward worth the risk? In two months, the Ripkas may earn tens of thousands of dollars. Every year, millions of dollars are up for grabs in the commercial crab fishing industry, and competition can be fierce in Newport, Oregon, with 500 boats on the water. There’s no room for mistakes when most of their earnings are caught over the season’s first six weeks to two months.
“Money is a motivator, but it’s a lifestyle as well. You’re either hooked or fleeing from it as quickly as possible once you’ve done it. There isn’t much of a middle ground.” “You must be willing to push yourself to the point of exhaustion and beyond to succeed,” adds Gary Ripka.
Working on Deadliest Catch Is a More Difficult Job Than You Think
Working on “Deadliest Catch” may seem like an excellent opportunity for thrill-seekers seeking a job that would boost their adrenaline. Before joining any of the reality show’s crew, it’s important to note that the jobs shown on “Deadliest Catch” aren’t simple. Working on “Deadliest Catch,” as noted by Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand in a Reddit AMA, is, in fact, an even more difficult occupation than you might imagine.
Johnathan Hillstrand believes nothing is straightforward about his job.
Jonathan and Andy Hillstrand have been on several seasons of “Deadliest Catch.” They’ve both captained the FV Time Bandit numerous times, with Jonathan sometimes sharing captain duties with his father, Nick. Despite disagreements between Discovery and the Hillstrands, they were scheduled to star in their own spin-off series, “Hillstranded,” according to reports.
It’s no surprise that their knowledge of commercial crab fishing is authoritative, given their time spent on the show and the leadership roles they’ve previously held. It’s enough to quash any preconceptions about their job having a simple side. When a Reddit user asked what the most challenging aspect of their job was, Johnathan answered: “Everything about the job is hard.”
When we look at these crews in more detail, it becomes clear why these occupations are so deadly and difficult. To start with, the “Deadliest Catch” teams must survive the harshest weather conditions at sea. Commercial king crab fishing is so hazardous at first because the season begins in autumn and winter when the seas are wildest and coldest (via Alaskan King Crab).
Commercial fishermen must also deal with various equipment, including enormous crab traps weighing up to 800 pounds. It’s generally better to avoid getting caught in the middle of these crab pots, but the slippery and cold surroundings might make that difficult.
The camera crew on Deadliest Catch is also pushed to the limit.
The harsh truth of what it takes to work on “Deadliest Catch” as a crew member might put a damper on any interest in applying. Getting a job as a deckhand on a fishing boat isn’t just about psychologically preparing for the cold; even low-level crewmembers require diverse talents. The Alaska Department of Labor’s primary job description requirements includes CPR, boat maintenance, navigation, and culinary arts.
Working on the show’s location production side isn’t any easier. The “Deadliest Catch” camera operators have it just as hard as the crew. The major reason is that, unlike other reality shows where cameras switch off and production leaves, the two-person camera team is left on board with the rest of the crew during their three to five-week crab runs. They’re also exposed to harsh weather and waves while they’re there.
It’s a shared living experience since the camera crew eats with the cast and bunks in the same area, according to Captain “Wild” Bill Wichrowski of The A. V. Club. However, attempting to manage the camera for “Deadliest Catch” implies that the job is probably for only the most passionate. For example, a segment on Discovery’s YouTube channel spotlighted cameraman Shane Moore, who volunteered to be drenched in the icy sea to get the perfect shot. Whether the act was bold or foolish is debatable, but it’s clear that Moore had a lot of enthusiasm to take such a hazardous chance.