Deadliest Catch

Deadliest Catch’s Off-Season Isn’t Exactly Vacation For The Show’s Captains

Deadliest Catch’s Off-Season Isn’t Exactly Vacation For The Show’s Captains

Keith Colburn in front of Wizard

Discovery’s crab fishing reality series “Deadliest Catch” has shown viewers the dangers of fishing the waters off the coast of Alaska since 2005. While the program shows what happens on the decks of the various boats during the busy and perilous winter fishing season, the show’s stars are busy during the summer as well.

Keith Colburn, who captains the F/V Wizard and has appeared on more than 200 episodes of “Deadliest Catch,” spoke with LAist in 2009 about his year-round schedule. Colburn explained, “We are out on the water fishing for 6 months out of the year so I have a lot of people say to me, ‘Oh wow, you get 6 months off’ and that just isn’t the case. In the off season we have a lot of administrative work.”

He specified that meant tasks like licensing, permitting, preparing the boat for the following season, and even diving into the choppy waters of politics. “You don’t just throw your line in the water and hope you catch something. There is a very complex set of regulations around the fishery and I’m very involved in that.”

Technology has advanced greatly in Keith Colburn’s two dozen years at sea

Keith Colburn talking on the comms

Keith Colburn has been fishing the Bering Sea for more than two decades, and in that time, he has seen huge transformations in how his work is done. Many of those changes have been evolutions in the technology he and his crew use to navigate the seas. “During my career of 24 years,” Colburn said, “we’ve gone from the difficulty of getting your position on the water using radio and other older instruments to using GPS, I also have email capabilities, phone capabilities, and a kind of a walkie-talkie communication with anyone on the mainland.”

He added that while advances have also been made in his crew’s ability to track potentially hazardous weather patterns, they were still somewhat limited in their ability to react to the information they get.

“We can track weather a lot better,” he said, “but the fact of the matter is that we’re several hours off shore and whatever Mother Nature wants to unleash upon us we have to take it.”

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