HomeEntertainment‘Deadliest Catch’: Deckhand Faced Difficult Decision After Getting Injured

‘Deadliest Catch’: Deckhand Faced Difficult Decision After Getting Injured

by John Jamison
(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Imagine for a moment you’re a deckhand on an Alaskan crab boat. You know full well that you’re doing one of the most dangerous jobs possible and stand to make tens of thousands of dollars for only a few weeks of work. Early in the season, you suffer a separated shoulder. When the boat puts in temporarily to unload the most recent haul, you have a decision to make. See the season through? Or call it quits?

Eddie Hillstrand, a “Deadliest Catch” deckhand on his uncle’s Time Bandit, found himself in that exact position. If the injury itself wasn’t enough, the family dynamic certainly didn’t make things any easier.

Holding the position of deckhand on an Alaskan crab fishing vessel is serious business. A single boat can earn upwards of a million dollars on any given outing, meaning everyone on board must be focused and committed. For the same reason, jobs on the types of crab boats shown on “Deadliest Catch” are extremely hard to come by.

According to How Stuff Works, becoming a deckhand in the first place is a tall order. There are only so many boats and even fewer crab to go around. Without any formal experience, earning a greenhorn position on a boat is next to impossible. As Captain Jonathan Hillstrand said in the “Deadliest Catch” episode in question, it’s a “family operation.”

For their occasional issues, crews on Alaskan crab fishing vessels often see each other as family. In this case, the injured deckhand happened to be Hillstrand’s nephew.

The ‘Deadliest Catch’ Deckhand Decides to Go Home

To make matters worse for Captain Hillstrand, Eddie wasn’t his only injured deckhand. Earlier in the episode, another Time Bandit crew member went down with an apparent groin injury. He was heartbroken by getting pulled off the deck.

“I just wanna be out there with the guys. I wanna work. You know, that’s what I’m here for. I love crabbin’. I love crabbin’ with my family. It sucks when I can’t pull my own weight,” he said. “A lot of shame, it feels like. Just sucks when you gotta sit on the bench.”

Captain Hillstrand wouldn’t let him work because of the injury. Even when it came to Eddie, all Hillstrand wanted to see was a willingness. We’re not taking anything away from Eddie. The young man had legitimate tears in his shoulder, and we’re not passing judgment on his decision to pack it in.

That didn’t make the news any easier for Captain Hillstrand to take, especially telling Eddie he could keep the shoulder in a sling the entire time, starting his four-week recovery on the boat. A one-handed deckhand is better than none at all.

But Eddie had already made up his mind.

“You’re just going to go home? Okay. Then I probably won’t ever hire you again if you go home,” Captain Hillstrand said as Eddie broke the news.