Here's How Long The Deadliest Catch Boats Are Actually At Sea

Discovery's hit series "Deadliest Catch" has long captured the attention and emotions of viewers by showing the incredibly difficult conditions fishermen experience while working on crab fishing vessels in the Bering Sea. In fact, the Bering Sea is one of the most dangerous places to fish in the whole world and was described by photographer and crab fisherman, Corey Arnold, in an interview with Business Insider as a body of water that is just one "continuous storm." Boats on "Deadliest Catch" are often seen bouncing up and down over huge waves as fishermen scramble about the deck pulling up crab traps and setting new ones. So, how long are these crab fishing boats and their crews out in these conditions?

According to David Reichert — a cinematographer who worked on the "Deadliest Catch" — in an interview with Gold Derby on YouTube, a crab season can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to multiple months. This timeline often varies greatly from year to year and boat to boat. So, what causes some boats to stay out longer than others?

Why does the length of the crab fishing season change?

The reason the length of a crab fishing season changes so much is that the industry works on a quota system. This means that the government of Alaska gives each fishing vessel a certain number of crabs they are allowed to catch for the year. Then, the crab boats head out to sea and don't stop laying traps until they've filled their quota. If the boat is lucky and is on the crab, it may fill up quickly and come back in a few weeks. However, if the boat goes to the wrong area and misses the crab or has mechanical issues, the season may be much longer.

However, despite experiencing a long season, most boats have to come into port every so often to unload their catch and resupply. According to one crab fisherman who did an "Ask Me Anything" post on Reddit, boats were typically out at sea for about a month before heading back to port, unloading, and going out again. However, this may depend on the specific vessel and how many crabs it can hold because, according to crab fisherman Corey Arnold when he was on the "Deadliest Catch" crab boat the Rollo, "on a good trip, it could take three days to fill the boat" and "a bad one could take eight or nine days" (via Business Insider). Luckily, the crew has always made it back and never had to find out what to do if lost at sea.