‘Deadliest Catch’: Relive the Best Moments of Season 17

by Amy Myers
(Photo by Jean-Erick PASQUIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

In the first moments of Deadliest Catch Season 17, the captains already had perhaps the hardest obstacle they’ve ever faced ahead of them.

Because of the pandemic, the local wildlife and fisheries officials couldn’t conduct any data on the number of crabs, severely affecting the quota for the season. On top of this, the Deadliest Catch captains had no information on the location of these crustaceans, either. Essentially, they were flying blind into a storm.

That’s why, in the first moments of the new season, they gathered around the fire to discuss a completely new strategy that throws out the typical crab fisherman protocol – they needed to work together.

Of course, there was a little bit of pushback at first. Captain Keith Colburn of the F/V Wizard needed a little bit of prompting before he finally agreed. But once everyone was on board, the Deadliest Catch stars paved the way for an unforgettable season.

Take a look at some of these legendary moments.

‘Deadliest Catch’ Captain Johnathan Hillstrand Pulls Hilarious Prank

To start off the season, Captain Johnathan Hillstrand of the F/V Time Bandit decided to add a little color to his competitors-made coworkers’ vessels. Armed with a few paintball guns, Hillstrand and his Deadliest Catch crew opened fire on Captains Sig and Mandy Hansen aboard the F/V Northwestern.

In seconds, the crew covered the boat in red splotches. And for the finale, professional-grade fireworks.

“That’s enough,” Sig yelled over the radio. “I give! I give!”

Once the fireworks and firepower ceased, Sig made his surrender official by waving a white flag outside the window of the helm.

Captain Bill Wichrowski’s Crew Faces a Blackout

Later on, once the crews are on the water, “Wild” Bill Wichrowski faces a critical obstacle when the ship’s generator suddenly shuts down. Wichrowski sensed what was coming when the lights at the helm flickered off. He quickly called for his engineer to race down to the control room, and just moments later, there was total darkness.

No lights, no steering, no chance at combatting the dangerous conditions of the Bering Sea.

The machinery dangled in its place while the Deadliest Catch deckhands scrambled to secure what was already on the ship. Meanwhile, Wichrowski’s engineer stressed how important it was to keep the weight on the ship balanced. Because Wichrowski had no control over the position of his vessel, he was at the mercy of the waves. And with how many pots they had on board, the top of the ship was heavier than the bottom. A strong enough wave could capsize the crew, so he made the decision to open the vents below deck so that more water could fill the holding tanks, thus evening out the weight distribution.