How Much Do Deckhands Make on Deadliest Catch (Crab Fisherman Salary)?

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The reality show Deadliest Catch revolves around the fishing industry in the Bering Sea, where fishermen go through the deadly conditions of the Alaskan waters to catch crabs. The show highlights the lives and struggles of the crew members, including the deckhands responsible for various fishing vessel tasks.

Given the high level of danger involved, people are usually curious about how much a deckhand can earn. With approximately 300 yearly fatalities per 100,000, it’s one of the riskiest businesses where the probability of fishermen drowning or succumbing to hypothermia in extreme weather conditions is very high. 

Unsurprisingly, these individuals are generously remunerated for putting their lives on the line.

Deckhands play a vital role in the success of the fishing trip, and their earnings are an important factor for many who are interested in joining the industry. In this article, I will talk a bit about the roles of deckhands and how much money they can make on Deadliest Catch.


How Much Can Deckhands Make on “Deadliest Catch”?

The Deckhand’s earning depends on their experience and the success of the whole fishing trip. A crew of experienced members will always have a higher chance of winning. 

Usually, deckhands earn a share of the boat’s overall catch, known as a crew share. The crew share is split among the crew members, while the captain receives the biggest share for his role and additional responsibilities

On average, deckhands on Deadliest Catch can earn between $30,000 and $100,000 per fishing season, which can last from a few weeks to several months. However, the earnings can be significantly higher for experienced deckhands who have spent considerable time on the show over multiple seasons.


What Impacts a Deckhand’s Earnings?

Several factors can impact a deckhand’s earnings on “Deadliest Catch,” including:

  • Crew Size: The crew size can impact a deckhand’s earnings, as the crew share is divided among all members. Smaller crews may result in higher earnings for each crew member, while larger crews may result in lower earnings. The captain can earn up to $200,000 each year or even more. 
  • Deckhand’s Experience and Skill: Experienced deckhands who have been with the show for multiple seasons can earn more than new ones.
  • Fishing Trip’s Location: The location of the fishing trip can impact the earnings of the crew, as different fishing grounds can yield different amounts of crab.
  • Voyage Success: The amount a deckhand earns depends on the overall success of the fishing trip, with a more significant catch resulting in higher earnings.


Deadliest Catch: What Must You Know

Before proceeding, it’s a good idea to know about the show. Here are a few things about the Deadliest catch that you must know:

  • It is a reality television series that first premiered in 2005 on the Discovery Channel with dramatic storytelling and the personal stories of the fishermen.
  • The show documents the activities of commercial fishing vessels during the Alaskan king crab and Opilio crab fishing seasons in the Bering Sea.
  • It features the crews of several fishing boats, documenting their experiences as they face harsh weather conditions, dangerous sea encounters, and difficult work environments.
  • The show has been lauded for accurately portraying the fishing industry and the crews’ risks while out at sea
  • The Deadliest Catch has won numerous awards, including several Emmy Awards for Outstanding Reality Program.
  • The show has spawned several spin-offs, including Deadliest Catch: Bloodline, Deadliest Catch: Dungeon Cove, and Deadliest Catch: The Bait.


The Role of a Deckhand on “Deadliest Catch”

A deckhand is an essential member of the fishing vessel’s crew, responsible for various duties that ensure the success of the fishing trip. The primary responsibilities of a deckhand include the following:

  • Assisting the Captain and Senior Members

Deckhands must be prepared to assist the captain and senior crew members with various tasks as required. This role is crucial in tough weather conditions or in an emergency situation. 

  • Cleaning and Maintenance

Another crucial task for deckhands is to keep the vessel and equipment ready for any situation. They must keep the fishing gear in excellent condition, ensuring it is working fine and always ready for the next fishing trip.

  • Sorting and Baiting Pots

Deckhands may also be in charge of sorting through the crab pots to ensure the highest quality catch. They also take charge of baiting the pots with the appropriate bait to attract the crabs. These tasks require a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the behavior of crabs in the region. 

  • Stacking and Launching Pots

Apart from sorting and baiting, deckhands are also responsible for stacking and preparing for launch. It involves arranging the pots in a particular way to attract the crabs effectively. After the stacks have been fastened and loaded onto the vessel, the deckhands must hoist and launch them into the sea, which requires significant physical strength.


Challenges of being a deckhand on “Deadliest Catch”

Being a deckhand on “Deadliest Catch” is a demanding job that requires physical strength, endurance, and mental toughness. Surviving in tough sea conditions is not easy, and one must be mentally and physically prepared to do so. 

Here are a few challenges you will face as a deckhand:

◾ Harsh weather conditions: The Bering Sea can be unforgiving, with storms and high waves that can make fishing dangerous and challenging.

◾ Long hours: Deckhands must work long hours, with little time for rest or relaxation.

◾ Physical demands: Deckhands must be in excellent physical condition, as the job requires heavy lifting and manual labor.

◾ High risk of injury: The job of a deckhand is inherently dangerous, with the risk of injury from moving machinery, falling objects, and slips and falls.


Conclusion: Is It Worth Risking Your Life in the Deadliest Catch?

Now, the question is, Should you risk your life for the attractive deadliest catch salary? Recent governmental regulations have reduced fatalities reported since the 1990s, with only one fatality attributed to Alaskan crab fishing in the past six years.

However, This line of work has long been regarded as the most hazardous occupation in the United States, with frequent fatalities prompting debate on its permissibility. While the potential financial rewards may be significant, the associated risks are equally substantial. If you plan to try your luck in this field, you must carefully weigh the potential benefits and costs, including the impact on your safety and overall health.


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