Watching fishermen work some of the most dangerous waters on the planet has riveted viewers of the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” for nine seasons and counting.
In a recent episode, a 50-foot wave crashes over the bow of the 107-foot crabber Saga, sending a crab pot overboard and almost taking deckhand Kevin Vanderpol with it.
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With five men working on deck in a storm, the wave sends tons of water across the deck and obscures the the captain’s view from pilothouse well above the deck.
“Is everybody on the boat still? Is everybody there?” Capt. Elliott Neese asks over the intercom.
Vanderpol explains that the pot slid out from underneath him and nearly knocked him into the massive steel cage. Ship’s engineer Mike Vanderveldt then gives the young deckhand the stark reality of the situation.
“If you’re in the pot and the pot goes overboard, you’re going to the bottom with it. So that’s pretty much … instant death,” Vanderveldt says.
Alaskan king crab fishing is carried out during a short fall season off Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. It is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States, with a fatality rate about 80 times that of an average worker, according to Wikipedia.