One of my favorite shows is “Deadliest Catch”, a show about crab fishermen in Alaska’s Bering Sea. In case you didn’t know, your BSP author tonight was once stationed at an Air Force Base in the Bering Sea. The weather really is terrible. I’ve set foot in the Bering Sea as part of a ridiculous initiation rite, and it’s brain-paralyzing cold. If a person goes into the water, it’s damn close to over.
Television screws up most things it touches, and the crab fishermen are no exception. We see cases where the skippers of these boats make irrational decisions based only on achieving personal glory:
Bitching and moaning, when you’re not catching anything on a boat with a skipper who doesn’t give a damn whether you live or die? Are you serious?
Look, we know this is a dangerous job. That in mind, you can’t increase the odds of injury. Back in another life, a long time ago, I used to load bombs and missiles on airplanes. Big bombs on Strategic Air Command B-52 Stratofortresses (G-models). It was one of the safest professions out there, mainly because safety was the highest priority. You didn’t hurry because a screw-up could cost you body parts, end up killing you and/or your colleagues.
These Deadliest Catch episodes are something else because you can see the skippers like Sig Hansen, Keith Colburn and Johnathan Hillstrand emphasize safety. Others like Scott Campbell and Elliot Neese don’t give a damn about anything else than catching crab. I just hope their crews don’t end up in that freezing water.