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Most Dangerous Job In America - Crabbing in Alaska


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17 replies to this topic

#1 of 18 Mick Tees

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Posted October 02 2004 - 06:27 PM

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 of 18 Chris PC

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Posted October 06 2004 - 05:58 AM

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.
Going from projector to flatscreen for a while.... :P

#3 of 18 Chris Lockwood

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Posted October 06 2004 - 07:20 AM

When does the reality show start?

#4 of 18 Dave Poehlman

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Posted October 06 2004 - 08:03 AM

Quote:
When does the reality show start?

Posted Image

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. Posted Image

#5 of 18 Rob Lutter

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Posted October 06 2004 - 09:55 AM

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 of 18 Greg_R

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Posted October 06 2004 - 12:25 PM

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

#7 of 18 Philip_G

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Posted October 06 2004 - 11:53 PM

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

#8 of 18 Kevin M

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Posted October 07 2004 - 02:19 AM

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.
-Kevin M.

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#9 of 18 Matt Gordon

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Posted October 07 2004 - 02:40 AM

HA!!!


What "sort-of" part of St. Louis are you from?
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#10 of 18 Kevin M

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Posted October 07 2004 - 02:48 AM

That's where I was raised (south side by Lemp brewery) but that isn't where I live now....sort of..but not quite.Posted Image
-Kevin M.

There's a human tendency to resent anyone who disagrees with our pleasures.  The less mature interpret that as a personal attack on themselves.
- Roger Ebert
 

#11 of 18 Dan Lindley

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Posted October 07 2004 - 05:09 AM

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
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#12 of 18 GARY C

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Posted October 07 2004 - 06:53 AM

CNN Article

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

Pizza Delivery is included under #5 Driver - Sales Worker.
Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man doesn't have to experience it.

#13 of 18 Greg_R

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Posted October 07 2004 - 08:28 AM

Quote:
how can you "own" the crabbing grounds? aren't they out in hte open ocean?
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 of 18 Jay H

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Posted October 07 2004 - 11:21 AM

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
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#15 of 18 Mike Lenthol

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Posted October 07 2004 - 01:57 PM

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 of 18 Jay H

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Posted October 07 2004 - 02:30 PM

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
You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life

#17 of 18 Jeff Gatie

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Posted October 07 2004 - 02:36 PM

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


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 of 18 Tony Whalen

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Posted October 08 2004 - 03:48 AM

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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