‘Deadliest Catch’: Captain Keith Colburn Moved from Lake Tahoe To Alaska With ‘a Tent and $50’

by Keeli Parkey

The story of “Deadliest Catch” ship captain Keith Colburn is a very American story. He’s a man who started his career with limited resources – but he had dreams and the willingness to work as hard as he had to in order to make his dreams come true.

So, what did Colburn have when he began his journey to fishing – and reality television – fame? Well, according to Business Observer, he didn’t start out with much at all.

In fact, what Keith Colburn had when he moved to Alaska from Lake Tahoe was three things. He had $50. He also had a tent. And to top all of that off, he brought zero experience with him.

While those factors might have deterred some people from achieving their fishings dreams, Colburn was as resilient then as he is now. According to his biography on the official website of “Deadliest Catch,” the future captain of “The Wizard,” was “spurred by the romantic vision of working at sea and the rumor of big paydays, he was determined to try something new and exciting.”

The future “Deadliest Catch” star began his Alaskan fishing career on a ship known as the Alaska Trader. The year was 1985 and Colburn was 22 years old.

‘Deadliest Catch’ Star Keith Colburn Said He Climbed from ‘Bilge to the Bridge’ During His Career

The “Alaska Trader” was a 135-foot crabber/tender. It was on this boat that “Deadliest Catch” star Keith Colburn began to learn the skills that would lead to his later fishing success. It was also on this boat that he experienced many of the tasks that are necessary to make such a vessel successful. In short, Colburn started at the bottom and he climbed his way up.

“I went from the bilge to the bridge. I worked my way up from nothing. When I got to Alaska I didn’t have a thing,” the captain said.

It was during 1988 that Keith Colburn reached the level of a full-share deckhand. He achieved this as part of the crew of “The Wizard.”

Flash forward two years and the future “Deadliest Catch” star had worked his way into the pilot house. It only took him another two years to become the captain of “The Wizard.” It’s a post he still proudly holds.

A key to his success in the decades that have followed him becoming captain of “The Wizard” is something that sounds simple, but it’s also something that many people fail to do in both their private and professional lives. That key factor is communication.

“We all speak, learn and understand differently. So communicating is critical. We train. We drill. And we respond,” the “Deadliest Catch” star also explained.

Keith Colburn is aware that he comes off as harsh to some people. However, he is aware that clear communication is needed to make sure things run smoothly on his ship. “It only takes one bad apple to disrupt the entire crew,” he also explained.