Crab fishing is a dirty job. According to some of the Deadliest Catch crewmembers, keeping up with the demands of a short season leaves little time for personal care—including showering.
But time isn’t the only thing standing in the way of proper hygiene. Showering on a tiny boat in the middle of the Bering Sea isn’t exactly easy either. And as Captain Johnathan Hillstrand of the Time Bandit once shared in a Facebook Q&A, not all the vessels even have them.
To have a functioning shower, the captains must install a desalination system to remove salt from the seawater. Not only are they incredibly expensive, but they’re also prone to breaking. And fixing them is an expensive endeavor and also sometimes impossible. There aren’t many repair men or parts floating around the ocean. So a lot of the captains don’t even bother with them.
Instead, the guys set course with fresh water reserves. In the case of Hillstrand’s boat, he carries 5,000 gallons for the crew to use for drinking, cooking, and bathing during the duration of filming. But because the water can go fast, most of the men and women aboard skip showering altogether.
James Gallager Admits That He Doesn’t Have Time to Shower When ‘Deadliest Catch’ is ‘Really Grinding’
And apparently, a lot of people have wondered about the showering situation on Deadliest Catch because the stars have been asked about it on more than a few occasions. And many of the cast members have stories about going long stretches while marinating in their own unique smells.
But James Gallager of the Lady Alaska recounted one of the funniest memories in an Ask Me Anything Reddit thread.
After going live for the event two years ago, his very first question asked how often he showered. And he said that when the crew is “really grinding” he doesn’t get to bathe much.
Sometimes he gets so caught up in the job that he forgets how long it’s been since he saw a bar of soap. And on one occasion, he went so long that his friend had to bluntly explain that he smelled awful.
“Actually funny story,” he started. “Junior told me it was gonna be a quick and easy opie season so I told him I’d shower when we hit a 100k pounds….I didn’t shower for quite a while.”
“One day I was walking by Junior in the galley,” he continued. “And he just looked at me and said ‘It’s time’ and he demanded I shower before the next string haha.”