One Of The Dangers Of Crab Fishing Deadliest Catch Fans Might Not Understand

"Deadliest Catch" is a series focused on a group of fishermen catching crabs. Reality TV shows love to exaggerate the dangers and drama to excite viewers, so fans may be wondering about the true dangers behind crabbing. While there is still a bit of dramatization, the dangers the crews face in "Deadliest Catch" are quite real. Crabbing is easily considered one of the most dangerous jobs in terms of commercial fishing, with injuries and even death being a very real possibility. Even the most experienced of crabbers have to be careful to keep their crew safe. 

There are many threats to a crabber, from falling off of the boat to getting hit by heavy equipment. However, captains of crabbing vessels, such as Sig Hansen of "Deadliest Catch," don't find these dangers to be the main threat. While they are a risk, many crabbers know about them and take precautions. Instead, it's often some small mistake or broken machinery at the beginning that often poses the biggest threat. 

Limited windows often push captains to test their limits

A lot of it comes down to knowing your boat. During an interview with The Fishing Website, Sig Hansen revealed, "On our boat, we have been able to fish some pretty extreme conditions, and one of the reasons is that we have the same crew, which makes it safer. I'm so familiar with the boat that I can operate it much better than a skipper who had never been on it before."

Additionally, while speaking with Tim Estiloz, Hansen was asked how he keeps everyone safe. He explained, "One thing the audience may not understand, and one of the real dangers is usually if something bad is going to happen, it's going to happen right off the bat."

One of the biggest reasons for the danger is the limited fishing window. It's not beneficial for fishermen to go crabbing year-round. Sometimes, the "Deadliest Catch" boats are actually only at sea for a couple of weeks. It may extend to a couple of months, but it's rare. This means, if the crew wants to make enough money, they have to risk some fairly dangerous conditions in order to catch crabs. The risks and the weather are only going to get worse over the years, as climate change is taking a toll on "Deadliest Catch" and many other crabbers by leading to lower crab populations and rougher waves. 

Crabbing is a dangerous profession even for an experienced crew

There are plenty of other dangers to the crew throughout the crabbing season as well. According to the Maritime Injury Center, broken bones, sprains, head injuries, hypothermia, hearing loss, back injuries, vision loss, and amputations are all common injuries for crab fishermen. 

 Many of them are focused around falling off of the boat or the heavy crab pots, which can weigh 800 pounds. Crab pot-related injuries make up the majority of the five most painful injuries on "Deadliest Catch." Weather, collisions, long working hours, and other equipment may also be responsible for the injuries. While smaller ships are more at risk, with fewer safety programs and higher risks of sinking, large commercial ships aren't without their fair share of danger.

Even experienced members face deadly situations. In 2017, "Deadliest Catch" captains faced a tragic loss as one of their friends' boats went missing. They received a call that Jeff Hathaway and his boat and crew went missing. It was assumed the boat sank, and went under too fast for anyone to help or get off of the ship.