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Most Dangerous Job In America - Crabbing in Alaska

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Mick Tees, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. Mick Tees

    Mick Tees Well-Known Member

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    It's been called the most dangerous job in America. I've seen many tv specials (Discovery, TLC, Travel Channel) on Alaska and the crabbing/fishing industry. It's probably one of the world's best areas for crabs.

    As an experienced deckhand you can make 50K plus in a six-month period of time. The money is good. The work is very dangerous. There are no guarantees that you'll come back if you go out on a crabbing ship. I know that the work is intense once you get out to where the crabs are (Bering Sea). There is usually little or no time for sleep and little room for mistakes. The working conditions are extreme with intense cold water pounding the boat all the time.

    Does anyone here at the HTF know a Crabber or has had an experience going out to sea on one of these ships/boats?

    I know the season usually gets started in the winter but I've been fascinated by this line of work for a long time...
     
  2. Chris PC

    Chris PC Well-Known Member

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    So you know its reputation and you're still asking questions? If you have related experience I guess thats ok, but I'd say its probably not a good idea. Those jobs are nightmares. You're on a ship and thats it. You don't like it, you have an accident, you're stuck out there, apart from bad emergencies where they may air ambulance if you're not way out at sea, you could be in a world of hurt. But hey, I'm curious too, perhaps there is someone out there who's done similar work. If you're out there, give us some feedback.
     
  3. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Well-Known Member

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    When does the reality show start?
     
  4. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    It was supposed to start this fall, but they kept losing cameramen overboard.


    Seriously, I've seen the Discovery channel special on these guys... and now I don't mind paying so much for Alaskan crab. [​IMG]
     
  5. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Well-Known Member

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    My grandfather was a Latvian immigrant that took up scallop fishing in the Atlantic... he was never killed in action, but over the years, my mother knew people whose fathers went out and never returned, no trace of their existance left...
     
  6. Greg_R

    Greg_R Well-Known Member

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    One of the builders who is working on my house remodel used to do this work. The inexperienced deckhands make very little money ($30/hr or so). The real cash is in owning / captaining a boat or owning the fishing/crabbing grounds. These people get to sit on shore and sell rights to fish/crab in their areas. This is very lucrative...

    Based on this thread and the other "high risk for cash" job thread then you could crab in Baghdad for $150k/mo... [​IMG]
     
  7. Philip_G

    Philip_G Well-Known Member

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    how can you "own" the crabbing grounds? aren't they out in hte open ocean?
     
  8. Kevin M

    Kevin M Well-Known Member

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    I guess the "reality" show could be called: I've Got Crabs! or Most Extreme Breathing Challenge or they could get Chris Elliott to do it and call it Crabbin' Boy.
     
  9. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Well-Known Member

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    HA!!!


    What "sort-of" part of St. Louis are you from?
     
  10. Kevin M

    Kevin M Well-Known Member

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    That's where I was raised (south side by Lemp brewery) but that isn't where I live now....sort of..but not quite.[​IMG]
     
  11. Dan Lindley

    Dan Lindley Well-Known Member

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    I remember seeing a ranking of most dangerous jobs, and I don't recall fishing (though I believe it). The headline for me was the fifth most dangerous job: pizza delivery. Well ahead of firefighter, IIRC.

    Anyone got the rankings out there?

    DL
     
  12. GARY C

    GARY C Well-Known Member

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    CNN Article

    Fishers is #2. There are a few paragraphs on it in the article.

    Pizza Delivery is included under #5 Driver - Sales Worker.
     
  13. Greg_R

    Greg_R Well-Known Member

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    So are oil deposits. You purchase the rights to fish in certain areas (just like the rights to drill in certain areas of ocean). These rights were purchased at very low prices and are now "rented" to fisherman for $$$.
     
  14. Jay H

    Jay H Well-Known Member

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    There was a program on the National Geographic channel called "dangerous jobs" and they did exactly that for one episode, the folks crabbing in the Beiring Sea off Alaska. Showed this one young deck boy getting tossed overboard when his leg got caught in some ropes from the crab traps. The rest were very lucky to be able to pluck him out of the sea too.

    Very interesting program, if you are a hard worker and have a nose for networking yourself to the right captain, if you get the right captain, the right ship, and hopefully the right area to crab, then you'll do OK, but it looks like you have to be able to be strong, take a lot of crap, and like the danger and work well without sleep for the couple weeks during the open season.

    Jay
     
  15. Mike Lenthol

    Mike Lenthol Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand. Why do they make the same mistakes over and over again that make it the most dangerous profession?

    It is not something new, like putting man into space where incidents are expected. This is fishing! Or is it simply cheaper to have casualties than changing the process? (i.e. bigger boats, robotics...)
     
  16. Jay H

    Jay H Well-Known Member

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    Sure, fishing in a small pond down the road is fairly safe. When we're talking crabbing in the Beiring Sea, we're talking the possibility of crazy storms, swells, very cold water. Hypothermia in like less than a minute. Folks that would work in 3 shifts per day, not getting much sleep, mistakes happen. Rime ice, etc. etc.

    Fishing doesn't begin to describe what these folks do.

    I also saw another program on NatGeo channel on this guy who spent a whole lot of cabbage on state of the art crabbing boats, everything nice and top notch, but they had a design flaw where the weight line was misdrawn and the captain loaded the boats too high and they simply capsized in high seas. So, the more expensive boat, bigger, etc. is not always a solution. Plus, these guys aren't always making a fortune, there are certainly good trips and bad ones.

    Jay
     
  17. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Well-Known Member

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    Because it is like fighting fires. You can do everything possible to eliminate the danger and perform your duties to perfection and still people will be hurt or killed. Mistakes have nothing to do with it. They are dealing with forces beyond control of mortal man, namely the sea, and she is a harsh mistresss indeed. Watch "The Perfect Storm" for details.
     
  18. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Well-Known Member

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    I was in the Navy for a while. (Yes, Canada has a Navy...grin) I know what northern waters feel like on the skin. I never worked in the Bering Sea, but I can well imagine what it's like.

    I love the sea. I wouldn't be a crabber if my life depended on it. Nope. No thank you.
     

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