Deadliest Catch is a television show that combines incredibly high stakes with the dangerous art of crab fishing.
With as many crabs that are captured in a show, it may seem overwhelming to think of counting each individual crab that is caught in their massive nets.
Luckily, the show has a way of counting all of the crabs that ensures they get an accurate number and that there will be more crabs in the future.
How Do They Count Crab On Deadliest Catch?
The behind-the-scenes crew counts the crabs by first setting them all onto a large sorting table.
Small crabs and female crabs are returned to the ocean in order to give them time to grow and breed.
This also makes for more room in the crab pots that they will eventually be stored in.
You can tell a male crab from a female crab by the size of the flap that they have underneath.
Females have a wider flap than the males do.
The large males are referred to as “keepers” because they are the only ones to be kept from the crab fishing trips.
The majority of crabs will have been culled at this point, but there will still be some that slip through the cracks.
Crab sorters will then break out measuring sticks to ensure that the crabs are big enough to be sold.
A crab being even slightly undersized will result in it being thrown back into the ocean.
Once the crabs have been counted thoroughly, the counters will return to the boat captain to report their final number.
The counting process can take up to 10 hours, depending on how many crabs they have managed to pull in.
They take the number of crabs in each tank and multiply it by the average weight of a crab in order to get an estimate of how many crabs they have aboard their ship.
The amounts are separated per holding tank.
The reason they use estimates rather than weighing each crab is that there is too much of a risk for error, it would take too long, and the estimated amount is always extremely close to the actual total anyway.
How much each crew makes is based on the total weight of crabs that they manage to pull in.
How Much Does The Deadliest Catch Cast Make?
Being a crab fisherman already has its own pay, but starring on the show is an excellent way for them to earn even more money.
The hard and dangerous work that they do deserves to be well compensated, especially when there are cameras being shoved in the crew’s faces.
Without Deadliest Catch, the typical crab fisherman is making an average of about $59,934 annually.
However, the annual salary for a crab fisherman can range anywhere from $11,043 to $294,395.
For being on Deadliest Catch, the crew makes an additional $5,000 per week.
That means the crew members are making an additional $30,000 each season.
That is nearly a 50% bonus for being on the show as well as the seas.
The captain of the ship will always walk away with more money.
On average, captains who star on the Deadliest Catch will make about $160,000 each year.
For each episode that is recorded and released, the captains are making anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000.
Many of the captains who allow the Deadliest Catch to be recorded on their boat will end up vastly wealthier than when they began.
There have been at least five different captains who became millionaires after earning enough money on the show.
The most recent crab fishing captain to become a millionaire was Captain Steve Davison, gaining a net worth of $1.5 million in 2020.
Captain Keith is also worth about the same amount as Captain Davison.
The third wealthiest Deadliest Catch captain is Captain Jake Anderson with a net worth of $1.8 million.
Second place is held by Captain Bill Wichrowski, who is worth $3.5 million.
Captain Wichrowski’s wealth is only exceeded by Captain Sig Hansen, with a net worth of $4 million.
How Much Do The Camera Crews Make?
Crab fishing is tiring and dangerous work.
The camera crew must brave the elements just like the deckhands.
There is less concern for their safety than there is about ensuring that they can get the perfect shots for the show.
For all the dedication and selflessness that must go into the job of being a cameraperson for Deadliest Catch, these camera crews are bringing home about $100,000 each year.
The crews of this show are out on the wobbling seas for three months straight, which is a massive sacrifice on their part.
The crew is giving up their freedom for three months at a time, which forces them to be with the same people in the same space without respite.
This can take a massive toll on their mental health, but their mental health isn’t the only thing to be concerned about.
Camera crew members are risking their lives to get the perfect shots for our entertainment.
There have been instances of camera personnel falling into the water during massive storms.
In one such instance, Captain Sig Hansen had to rescue a cameraman who was knocked into the water by 900 pounds worth of crab that was being brought on by a massive crane.
The art of cinematography is one that many people are willing to die for.
The production company does everything in its power to ensure the safety of its fishing and recording crews, but nothing is certain when you are on the ocean.
The sweeping shots from right below moving equipment and the many storm-struck scenes that leave even the most seasoned seamen slipping in their boots must be shot by people with massive, heavy cameras.
The camera crew makes Deadliest Catch what it is today just as much as the fishing crew whose stories they follow.
How Much Do The Boat Owners Make?
The owners of the boats are also risking a lot when they send these crab fishing boats out to sea with double the normal number of people aboard.
If there are damages that come to the boat during production, the boat owners would lose money without being compensated.
Luckily, the production crew of Deadliest Catch has already considered this.
They pay the owner of the boat anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 per episode.
More often than not, the person who owns the boat is the captain, so the money serves as a nice compensation for using up the boat’s resources.
Has Anyone Ever Died On Deadliest Catch?
Those who love the sea know that the sea shows no love or favoritism to anyone.
Nobody is safe from the wrathful storms that suddenly brew on the ocean.
There is no amount of planning that can happen on the production company’s part to make the show any safer than they already have.
Although there have been many injuries on the show, only one has led to death.
During an episode in 2008, Captain Philip Charles Harris fell from his bunk while he had been sleeping.
He smacked his head so hard that he began to vomit blood.
The crew took the boat to the nearest town and had Captain Harris seen by doctors who determined that the captain had suffered from a pulmonary embolism.
After seemingly making a recovery, he returned to show and the seas in 2009.
While offloading crabs on January 29th, 2010, Captain Phil Harris suffered a major stroke, which may have been brought on by the previous head trauma.
He was put into a medically induced coma in an attempt to reduce brain pressure and swelling.
Although the treatment had shown some improvement in him, he had an intracranial hemorrhage 10 days later.
He passed away on February 9th, 2010.
The late Captain Harris may be the only person to have died during filming, but he isn’t the only one from the show who has passed away.
There have been a few of the deckhands who end up passing away shortly after filming.
The beloved Nick McGlashan is one of the more recent crew members to have passed away.
He was found dead in his hotel room on December 28th, 2020 after the hotel staff had not heard from him for a few days.
He had been struggling with drug addiction, which is what ended his life.
Has A Deadliest Catch Boat Ever Sank?
The fishing boat, Scandies Rose, sank on December 31st, 2019.
The seasoned crew was last heard from 170 miles southwest of Kodiak Island, which is one of the many islands near Alaska.
At 10:00 pm, the Coast Guard got a mayday call from the troubled crew.
Most of the crew had made their nightly calls to loved ones, many of them wishing them a happy new year and hoping for the best in 2020.
While the crew was sleeping, the boat had begun to ice, not unlike it normally did in the winter.
As the crew slumbered, the winds began to pick up to 40 miles per hour and waves that towered 15 to 20 feet high crashed against the iced over boat.
The visibility had been restricted to only one mile.
It only took the boat about 10 minutes to sink. The frozen Arctic waters began to fill their boat after which few of the crew members could escape.
Out of the seven-man crew, only two members survived.
Despite being seasoned fishermen, their experience was not enough to save the crew of the Scandies Rose from the terrible clutch of the ocean’s cold grasp.
Dean Gribble Jr. and John Lawler were the only ones to escape in time, to get into survival suits and onto the life raft.
Luckily, the Coast Guard was able to make it out to Gribble and Lawler in time.
While the survival suits were able to keep them warm enough, both men still suffered from hypothermia.
The Coast Guard spent days searching for the bodies of the crew members, but nothing has been found at this time.
In the middle of the situation, Gribble knew there was a very real chance that everyone would die and felt remorseful that they didn’t make it as well.
How Has Deadliest Catch Affected The Environment?
Excessive fishing of any kind is never going to be good for the environment, especially when it is all for entertainment.
The local Alaskans who live near the ports where Deadliest Catch is filmed aren’t very happy with the amount of fishing and the violations that crews have caused.
The show is shot in Alaska’s Bering Sea, which used to be teeming with crustaceans.
The years of crab fishing were already beginning to limit how many crabs were in their native waters.
When the crews from Deadliest Catch began to show up frequently, this further decreased the native crab population.
New laws were put into place about how much weight a vessel would carry and how much the crab meat could be sold for.
This caused a problem for the Deadliest Catch crews who had been underselling their meat to the point of not making a profit, so they could quickly drop the weight they were carrying.
Once the boats were empty, they could go out to sea again for more filming.
With the additional money, the fishing boats and their owners could afford to send them out more frequently.
The constant stirring of crabs made it difficult for them to reproduce, making the Bering Sea’s crab population suffer.
The overhunting doesn’t just stop at the number of trips they were making to the ocean.
Many of the show’s captains have been accused of not properly culling the crabs they’re catching.
There have been many occasions of the crew keeping female crabs and crabs that are too small.
Captain Elliot Neese was charged $6,000 for having 13 undersized crabs.
Although many accuse the captain of doing it for television, Captain Neese claims that he doesn’t do anything to appease viewers or producers.
Deadliest Catch Was A Wild Ride
Fans of the show agree that Deadliest Catch was filled with intense heart-pumping moments and captivating stories.
Watching the show was like being able to watch the stories of old sea dogs unfold before your eyes.
At the heart of the Deadliest Catch is the fearsome sport of crab fishing.
Not every person is cut out for all the work that goes into the life of a crab fisherman.
These workers spend months on rocking seas, away from their loved ones while enduring some of the toughest conditions on the planet.
Every single part of crab fishing is difficult work, which starts even before they get on the boat.
There is so much risk involved in hauling all of those crabs aboard, counting each of them, and culling the ones you find as you continue to count.
For those who aren’t scared away by the danger, there is plentiful pay to be made on the seas.
Whether fisherman or cameraman, everyone on board one of the ships of Deadliest Catch is in for the ride of their lives.NEXT: Why Do People Like Country Music? (Top 10 Reasons)